Janek Schaefer - World News [REV. Laboratories - 2015]REV. Laboratories presents World News, a CD EP by Janek Schaefer. Schaefer is a London-based sound and installation artist, and quite an accomplished one at that. Over the span of 20+ years, Schaefer has won multiple awards for compositions, was a Visiting Professor at Oxford Brookes Sonic Research Unit, and has a lengthy discography of albums and art installations under his belt. With such a prestigious background, I feel that I should know this artist more. So to rectify that, I immersed myself into World News.
World News offers 4 tracks of some expertly crafted sound collage; cut and stitched together through a variety of digital and analogue means. World News is a fitting title, because each piece features, what sounds like, radio or television broadcasts in multiple languages. At times this short CD recalls aspects of Negativland without the sense of humor. Quite the contrary, the impetus for this album comes from far darker experiences. Tracks 1 & 2 (“This World” and “Our World”) features Schaefer’s friend David describing conflict in Tel Aviv. Field recordings of feet on gravel and birds chirping, contrast with David’s spoken word and the sterilized sounds of broadcast news. Some tracks sound heavily edited, while others sound like straight captured broadcasts. “Imagine a World” sounds like it simply captures a voiceover soundtrack. Bits and pieces about the economy and consumer wants, once again sound cold and sterile. It sounds like we’re being narrated on a ride in some elseworld where Walt Disney built an amusement park in soviet era Russia. The final and longest piece “Another World” continues where “Imagine a World” ends, picking up the same narration. However, the voiceover melts into some real peaceful ambient drone that kicks up ever so slightly in it’s waning minutes.
In conclusion, World News, is a short and sweet affair; one that I wish I could experience in a gallery or museum setting. Mr.Schaefer sure crafts some fine sound collage. Hal Harmon