"Cold Storage is an impressive
resumé not only of Schaefer's own career as a sound artist,
but of half a century of theory and practice of electronic music in all its diverse forms". [The Wire]
a 'Jury Selection' at the Bourges 2005 International Competition of Electroacoustic
Music & Sonic Art
Composition for a cold storage vault in Rome.
'Cold Storage' began with an invitation to produce a site-specific
work in the Ostiense area
of Rome. During my first visit I was shown around the old General Market warehouse
zone, on the banks of the river Tiber. I decided to work in a large brick vaulted cellar, previously
used as a cold storage room. This context became the theme for my installation and concert.
Using a microphone and a contact microphone, I then collected sounds relating to cold and storage
while travelling around Rome, Switzerland, Portugal and Australia. These were edited and simply
modified using mini disc, pedals and Mackie mixing desk. During the opening concert I then
improvised this material by touch in the blacked out vault. Dim shadows flickered around sound
reactive insectocutor lights that I installed on a market trolley and in a refrigerated display case at
each end of the room. It proved to be a very cathartic, intense and enjoyable experience.
The sounds that emerged seemed to exist in a white music spectrum emotionally.
For this final CD version, I re-improvised much of the original material and re-edited it on screen
with no further computer trickery, keeping it close to the source material.
This is my first release thatI recommend is best played louder, [as was the original concert]
for a more detailed and immersive experience.
Originally commissioned by moorroom for the
Sonìcity Festival - architects of sound : composers of space, Rome, Oct 03.
CD release: 41mins : Rooms 1 to 5
Released by DSP recordings www.dsprecs.com Naples, Italy.
(c) & (p) Janek Schaefer / audiOh! Recordings 2004.
Produced and designed at the audiOh! Room Feb 04 : www.audiOh.com
Many thanks for all their help, inspiration and support to Rosanna, Paul, Massimiliano,
Lorenzo at moorroom + Mario and all the team at DSP.
Catalogue Number : dfrgcd089
100% bright white case with laser etched design outside and in.
Buy here from the audiOh! Kiosk!
listen to track 'Room 1' MP3 extract here
Above: Sound reactive cold storage unit rescued from old market.
Below: Image from the early 20th Century cold store room with cheese.
The inaugral concert took placeon the
25th Oct 2003.
Other contributors included Justin Bennett, Achim Wollscheid, Mark Bain, Merzbow.
(July 04) [Dan Warburton]
Janek Schaefer might be best known for his technical innovations, notably the Tri-Phonic three arm turntable and the daring customised pressing of last year's experimental vinyl pressing 'Skate' which recently netted him joint second prize in the Prix Ars Electronica 2004. But live improvisations and installations are also a major element of his work. Like 2002's 'Black Immure', Cold Storage started out as a site-specific project when he was invited to perform in Rome in a brick vaulted cellar previously used as a cold storage room.
Schaefer went about collecting minidisc recordings relating to 'cold' and 'storage' and incorporated them into a live performance using effects pedals and a mixing desk. In preparing this definative CD version, he deliberately avoided excessive mixing and post production, improvising the piece direct to disc and editing as quickly and simply as possible, to preserve the sweep and spontaneity of the live experience. Indeed, unlike other notable sonic excursions into cold and storage - one thinks of the glacial austerity of Thomas Koener's 'Permafrost', or the gloomy claustrophobia of Mattin's recent recordings with Mark Wastell inside a bank vault - Schaefer's work is decidedly dramatic, collaging all manner of reverberant thuds and industrial machine loops into the kind of colourful 'musique concréte' associated with his near-namesake Pierre Schaeffer (samples of whose work feature extensively on 'Skate').
If Pierre Schaeffer's observation, "a composed structure (such as we perceive it) cannot be deduced from separate perceptions of its component parts" comes to mind - it is quoted and referenced in Janek's essay/manifesto 'Audio & Image' (available on his website audiOh.com) - so does the work of another Schafer, R Murray, whose concepts of keynote sounds, signals, and soundmarks are of central importance to the British composer's work. Cold Storage is an impressive resumé not only of Schaefer's own career as a sound artist, but of half a century of theory and practice of electronic music in all its diverse forms.
Frecuencia Electronica.com (Puerto Rico) [Jorge Castro]
This record rumbles and drones its way into the room with an astounding amount of different factory-like soundscapes. Except this factory is in another planet and you have no idea how you got there, or why you're there. Throughout the piece, there also seems to be some sort of physical human presence around, which makes you feel that there are people around, working, cutting, grinding who knows what. The sounds then become quieter and come up in your face a little more. which gives you the feeling of going in and out of different rooms. You lean over and closely inspect a piece of equipment, then you move on to the next one in the room......A small floating robot appears and starts to spin around you, scanning you as you keep still, following the little probe with your eyes so as to not move your head too much. Hmmm... someone's watching. it also recalls early Industrial music works. Massive sounds of steel & pipes. No wait! I hear iron crickets... More wandering around, more rooms to explore...
There are five movements in all. The transitions make you slip in and out of consciousness. And each time you wake back up in a different room of the giant factory... klank. klank. klank. boom. klank. boooooom. The sound of pages being flipped suggests that you may have found a map somewhere... a way out maybe? Could be. But we never get to know, because at shortly thereafter, where things just start to unwind... it ends.
The man knows when to make an exit... Even thought the title and booklet reveals the source material used for "Cold Storage", the composition and sound placement is the most captivating feature. Just like all of Janek's compositions, always filled with very thick and solid drones.
Cinematic, dream like sequences. The CD comes packaged elegantly in an all-white plastic jewel case. This is definitely something to play through a nice set of speakers and allow it to fill the room on a grey and windy summer day in the tropics. Just like I did.
Cold Storage is one of Janek Schaefer's most refined works of "musique concrete". The original concert was a live improvisation using as an instrument the snippets he had previously collected and assembled. The CD version uses the same sounds, but "keeps it closer to the source material". Luckily, it is not apparent at all that he kept it so "close" to the original source. The five movements are powerful and haunting precisely because the sources are unrecognizable, and, instead, the slowly evolving music seem to hark back to mysterious primitive forces of nature. The first movement sounds like the internal, psychological perception of the composer entering a room. The second sounds like a broader survey of the environment, evoking a multitude of action, from traffic to waves. Its ebullient chaos is balanced by the ghostly and massive moving textures of the third movement, The fifth movement is the most fearsome, unleashing industrial fury and expressionist tension. The whole is exactly the sum of its parts: a multi-faceted experience that describes a continuum of emotions through the inner ear.
Ancora elettronica di limite e ancora di scena la nuova label napoletana Dsp Recordings che si prende la briga di pubblicare una performance dello sperimentatore inglese Janek Schaefer, da tempo sulla breccia con convincenti contributi nellambito di festival come il Sonar di Barcellona e il canadese Mutek e non meno per le sue collaborazioni con nomi del calibro di Brian Eno. Questo disco è il resoconto sonoro di ununica session tenutasi nel vecchio Mercato Generale dellOstiense in occasione del festival romano Sonicity e legata appunto al concetto di freddo (cold) e magazzino (storage). 6 registrazioni, prevalentemente di rumori dambiente presi in giro per il globo e successivamente processati in 6 soundscapes dal carattere glaciale e claustrofobico. Viene fuori un meccanismo sonoro che vive di vita propria e in evoluzione costante, dove Schaefer sfoggia tutta la sua poliedrica personalità artistica nel trattare rumori rendendoli organici e autonomi, disegnando ambienti cupi e misteriosi, per un ascolto dinamico, mai statico e che non da spazio al minimo abbassamento dattenzione e di tensione. Straordinaria la partecipazione emotiva dellautore nellesplorare i territori del silenzio. Per gli amanti della musica di limite il disco e ancora di quelli da non perdere.
Blow Up Magazine (Itlay) [Paolo Bertoni]
Di Janek Schaefer è uso più rammentare le installazioni che i dischi, in effetti emanazione per lo più delle sue performance. Cold Storage si colloca nel mezzo tra un lavoro in studio come Above Buildings e le registrazioni dal vivo di Out, avendo come punto di partenza il concerto dello scorso anno ai Mercati Generali di Roma nell ambito del festival Sonicity, nel contesto fisico di un magazzino sotterraneo. Armato come di consueto di field recordings, raccolti tra Italia, Svizzera, Portogallo ed Australia, dopo un sopralluogo su quello che sarebbe stato lo scenario dell esibizione, divenuto così concetto fondante della stessa, e modificati con l aiuto appena di un minidisc, di una pedaliera e di un Macie mixer, Schaefer ha assemblato una composizione di 41 min, sulla quale ha successivamente poi rimesso mano reimprovvisando in studio ma senza stravolgere l originale, per portare a definizione quanto contenuto nel cd stampato dalla nostra DSP. Diviso in cinque movimenti Cold Storage è un blocco affascinante dalle ambientazioni notevolmente oscure, a tratti persino opprimenti, tagliato trasversalmente da luci fredde e tutt altro che tranquillizzanti, in cui effettivamente viene ben tratteggiato, come intento di Schaefer, il teatro della performance, e che ai vecchi appassionati di post-industrial non potrà non far sovvenire alla mente i migliori Soviet France. (7/8)
Gonzo Circus (Belgium) [Peter Deschamps]
Al vanaf zijn debuut Recorded Delivery, uitgebracht in 1995 op Hot Air is de zoektocht naar het concept misschien wel de belangrijkste drijfveer voor geluidsarchitect Janek Schaefer. Schaefer haalde tweemaal het Guiness Book Of Records, de eerste maal met zijn drie-armige platenspeler, de tweede keer omdat hij de meeste vinylplaten kon breken in één uur tijd. Van dit laatste wereldrecord verschijnt binnenkort een single die u kunt bestellen op zijn site www.audiOh.com. Op Cold Storage exploreert hij de geluidsopnames die hij maakte in en van koude opslagruimtes. Die opnames, opgenomen op verschillende locaties in Rome, Australië en Zwitserland verwerkte hij tot een concert en een installatie en worden nu nu ook op cd uitgebracht. De wijzigingen aan de originele opnames zijn bewust beperkt gebleven, zo opent en sluit de plaat met het dichtvallen van de deuren. Cold Storage is één lange geluidsexploratie en los van het concept is deze registratie een erg warme, en messcherpe soundscapeplaat. Schaefers nieuwe thuishaven, het Italiaanse Dsprecs, is met deze plaat niet aan haar proefstuk toe en evolueert verder in die richting.
Igloo (USA) [TJ Norris]
Cold Storage was recorded for and inspired by an abandoned cold storage cellar in Rome as part of a site-specific residency piece and concert. The work is austere from the start, including the sounds of a large chamber door being opened/closed, the distance of a train and the dance of rain on metal siding and lots of airy open space where wind travels quite freely. Schaefer traveled to Switzerland, Portugal and Australia to capture some of the field recordings used in the final piece. Akin somewhat to the work of Dan Burke, the din of the dark storage space is certainly a central theme that breaks through sound barriers (recommended: listen to this one loud!). Using a contact microphone to capture the velocity of refrigeration units and other industrial matter, Schaefer breathes his own visceral reality into an already dense underground space. The recording draws you into the space, almost lures you hypnotically. At one moment you are tied to the bow of a ship, the next you are blindfolded in a candy factory. In between there is something of a time machine transporting you back and forth between diverse environments. Grainy scribbles of sparse white noise fill my head in soft pearlescent hues. This is a methodical powerwash of soundscaping.
> Italian review page of the concert and CD [ in Italian ]
Ancora elettronica di limite dalla nuova label napoletana Dsp Recordings che si prende stavolta la briga di pubblicare una performance dello sperimentatore inglese Janek Schaefer, da tempo sulla breccia con convincenti contributi nellambito di festival come il Sonar di Barcellona e il canadese Mutek e non meno per le sue collaborazioni con nomi del calibro di Brian Eno. Questo disco è il resoconto sonoro di ununica session tenutasi nel vecchio Mercato Generale dellOstiense in occasione del festival romano Sonicity e legata appunto al concetto di freddo (cold) e magazzino (storage). 6 registrazioni, prevalentemente di rumori dambiente presi in giro per il globo e successivamente processati in 6 soundscapes dal carattere rarefatto, glaciale e claustrofobico. Viene fuori un meccanismo sonoro che vive di vita propria e in evoluzione costante, dove Schaefer sfoggia tutta la sua poliedrica personalità artistica nel trattare rumori rendendoli organici e autonomi, disegnando ambienti cupi e misteriosi, per un ascolto dinamico, mai statico e che non da spazio al minimo abbassamento dattenzione e di tensione. Straordinaria la partecipazione emotiva dellautore nellesplorare i territori del silenzio. Per gli amanti di certe sperimentazioni, il disco è ancora di quelli da non perdere. Aggiunto: July 18th 2004 Recensore: Vittorio Marozzi
Freq.org.uk [Andrew Clegg]
Originally commissioned for the Sonicity Festival in Rome last year, this new piece by electroacoustic sound sculptor and inventor Janek Schaefer grew out of a site-specific installation and performance in a disused underground cold-store on the banks of the Tiber. Split into five segments - although the split points do not always correlate with the textural and emotional changes that lead the listener to suspect that a new phase has started - the CD release has been re-improvised and re-edited from the original field recordings, all of which were gathered by the artist on his travels around Europe and allegedly relate to themes of 'cold' and 'storage'.
Considerations of process aside, the resulting work is a textbook example of classic Musique Concrète fused with 20th-century Industrial abrasiveness. Sheets of sound shimmer and vibrate over dissonant rumbles and percussive impacts, rhythmic stretches emerge from the chance meeting in a mixing desk of unrelated sonic events, manipulated voice-like samples hint occasionally (VERY occasionally) at tonality, and vast, sepulchral spaces resonate with the sound of reverb pedals set to eleven. The sound is somewhat low-fidelity at times, reflecting its rather retro mode of acqusition and arrangement, with only the replacement of tape loops with Minidisc anchoring it in the present day, and then only by virtue of the liner notes.
Hugely enjoyable though this all is, especially when played loud as recommended by Schaefer, it falls short of perfection on two fronts. For a start, it is nothing particularly new. Throbbing Gristle at their least band-like, Merzbow at his least musical, or an obscure Cold Spring release of a decade ago called Thee Angels Ov Light Meet Thee Angry Love Orchestra - another re-edited documentary of an older improvised performance - all these are obvious comparisons, and this is ignoring two or three decades of related music in the noise genre. I am not familiar enough with Schaefer's oeuvre to say whether this is breaking new ground for him, but it's certainly not pushing any boundaries in terms of technique or results, and in fact it sounds surprisingly conventional and warmly familiar to my ears.
Secondly, one gets the feeling that the artist is trying too hard to establish a link between the finished work and its conceptual roots. There is very little here to particularly signify 'cold' or 'storage' besides the packaging and liner notes - semiotic finesse is difficult in this kind of music though, to be fair - and stripped of its context, the purely aural component of this work seems much more generic. Or to put it another way: he could have called it something like Boiling Point, and told us that all the souce samples related to heat or fire and that it was performed in a disused foundry, and no-one would have been any the wiser. In fact that would have been much more satisfying, if only for Schaefer himself.
Don't get me wrong, I loved this CD, but then I have a soft spot for stark, antisocial noise. But it comes with caveats, and don't expect the music to live up to the high concept - there is definitely something missing. Maybe I'll feel better if I play it to people and tell them it was recorded in a furnace.
Nural (Italy) [Aurelio Cianciotta]
Risultato delle registrazioni effettuate durante una live performance nelle cantine del vecchio Mercato Generale dell'Ostiense a Roma, in occasione del festival Sonicity, 'Cold Storage', pubblicato dalla label partenopea Dsp, riunisce in un continuum di 41 minuti, separato solo idealmente in cinque tracce, una somma di frammenti sonori ed ispirazioni ambientali, raccolte dall'artista tra Svizzera, Portogallo, Australia e Italia, assemblate concettualmente seguendo il tema spaziale e tattile di un 'immagazzinamento freddo'. Un'intuizione sviluppata sin dal suo primo lavoro, quando ancora studente al Royal College Of Art di Londra, nel 1995, presentò 'Recorded Delivery', un pacco postale ad attivazione vocale, dalla consegna dell'opera fino al suo arrivo a destinazione, nel sito dell'esposizione, sede di una mostra di Brian Eno. Arte del suono e degli spazi, quindi, frequenze elaborate in diretta grazie all'ausilio di un mixer Mackie, di un semplice mini-disc e di una pedaliera, in questo caso agite in penombra, con suggestioni industriali a raccogliere ed enfatizzare l'energia del sito (esperienza che ricorda molto analoghe investigazioni negli ambiti del teatro di ricerca italiano a cavallo degli anni settanta-ottanta). Tecnologie ibride, analogiche e digitali, che concorrono nell'evocare uno spazio fisico e mentale, confinando nella geografia sociale e nell'audio-architettura. Un lavoro rigoroso, negli esiti anche brillante, ispirato da riflessioni lineari, per nulla estreme, che affondano le radici nella ricerca performativa sullo spazio innestate d'elettronica minimale e graffiante. Una testimonianza preziosa di quanto la sperimentazione nelle sue idee-guida attraversi i tempi riuscendo a permeare ambiti differenti. http://www.neural.it/rec/janekschaefercoldstorage.htm