Jana Winderen - Heated [Touch - 0000]Drop a microphone down into a fault line, between rivers of bubbling earth and plates of ice grinding each other into snow, and you’d come up with something that sounds like Heated. Jana Winderen’s album for Touch, recorded live in Japan, was compiled from (according to the sleeve) a slew of sonorous location recordings in Greenland, Iceland and Norway.
This isn’t just an unspooling of an audio home movie, though; it’s been composed, with elements shifting and vying with each other for attention. It’s also an exercise in clashing textures—the way the squeaking and cracking of ice (at least, I think it’s ice) will lance through the groaning and churning of what I’m betting is a lava flow or a slow-motion mudslide. I’ve never experienced synaesthesia, but this record came close to evoking a feeling like that: the sounds are so rich, precisely-recorded and solid that I was divided between just listening to them and wanting to sink my teeth into them.
The album works best on headphones, but if you have a good set of speakers play it loud: you’ll be surprised at how effective and, well, transportive the album is. I was reminded of CM von Hausswolff’s “Life and Death of Pboc”, my ranking-favorite record of this ilk, which also created a space that sounded both cavernous/resonant and soothing/womblike. That and both records manage the neat trick of sounding both organic and formal: they composed it, or maybe they simply stumbled across it as it was and let it do its thing for the microphones.
The worst thing about Heated is how short it is: it clock in at a mere 26 minutes. But like another too-short Touch product before it, The Hafler Trio’s Fuck, it’s 26 minutes that add up to a lot more than many albums twice its length or more. I understand Winderen has a full-length disc coming out later this year from Touch as well. I’ll put in an extra invocation to whatever gods are listening to send a copy my way. Serdar Yegulalp