KFJC 89.7FM
Album Review

Schaefer, Janek – “Skate ” – [Audioh!]

Max Level   2/28/2006   12-inch, A Library

Schaefer breaks the rules again, this time using a one-sided 12″LP packaged with a 3″CD. First the “Skate” LP: he used a primitive audio technique to cut what he calls “sound scars” (aka “grooves”) on it. The scars aren’t connected to one another, nor are they locked grooves; just a bunch of roughly-cut injuries to the vinyl. Spin the LP on your turntable and your stylus, attempting to play those grooves, skates around, looking for a home. Hisses, rumbles, and scrapes ensue, along with bursts of silence as the stylus leaves one scar/groove and hunts for another. Sometimes the stylus finds a place it likes and stays there a while, but it always leaves eventually. The composition is never the same twice. Schaefer suggests trying different turntables, different speeds, even turning the record by hand while playing. “Have fun!” he says. Then there’s “Rink”, the 3″CD: It contains 99 tracks, each one a different recorded result of playing several of the “Skate” LPs simultaneously at a 2001 sound installation. As if there wasn’t already enough randomness in the way the sounds were generated, the artist of course recommends playing this CD document of the event on random mode to add yet another level of unpredictability.

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