'Glitter in my tears'
based on a true story
"may very well be a dark horse candidate for the most prophetic album of the year"
26 track CD by Janek Schaefer
Released by Room40 Australia June 2017
order from the audiOh! Kiosk
including MP3 download and short film files sent when I pick up your order email
UK p+p £10.99
World p+p £12.99
sparkles into the light of night
beam me up
looking for love
what comes around
dawn draws In
all in the mind
forgetting the way forward
falls from favour
tale of two angels
glitter in my tears
conclusions in two minds
‘Glitter in my tears’ marks the 20th anniversary of Janek Schaefer’s career as a recording artist, having now released 30 albums.
Each piece is a microcosm of haunted memory, that unites to create a record of melancholic vignettes, and
It’s a record of delightful dark emotions evolving from the evocative dreams we yearn for, with our feet firmly on the floor, always wanting more. An unfolding compendium of motifs and repetitive fragments, fading from the memories of our emotions.
Sparkling lights glisten within the hidden shadows of our feelings, with outpourings of love falling through the depths of despair . . . . It is based on a true story”.
'Glitter in my tears'
To accompany the calm title track of his stunning new album on Room40, Janek Schaefer has crafted a visual cacophony, by deploying his passion and vast collection of shiny materials. Using different scales of glitter along with petrol, fire, flames, foil, disco lights, sunshine and smoke, he has created a magical work, that puzzles and expands the mind, and is in stark contrast to the sound, as revealed in these screenshots.
"I found myself at the bottom of the garden at midnight with a can of petrol, a turntable of rotating glitters, and my camera, setting fire to the nocturnal sparkles engulfed by flames, and living my dream, by creating chaos".
Stills from the short film : Premiered by FACT magazine
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a work of quietly understated beauty - elusive, rarified compositional brilliance - If anything it’s arguably his master opus. Bravo!
Brainwashed [Anthony D'Amico]
+ "Glitter In My Tears may very well be a dark horse candidate for the most prophetic album of the year"
+ "an uncategorizable fourth category that can probably be best described as "gleefully weird, one-off mindfuckery"
+ "It feels a lot like a hyper-real variation upon late-night, hypnagogic channel-surfing"
+ "briefly threatening to turn Glitter into the unlikeliest of party albums."
+ " the perfect album for humanity's rapidly dwindling attention span and escalating appetite for entertainment consumption"
This is apparently Janek Schaefer's 30th album in 20 years, a milestone which surprised me a bit, as there is a considerable portion of his oeuvre that I have not heard. That said, the handful of albums that I have heard have been kind of hit or miss, as Schaefer often errs a bit too much on the side of high-concept, cerebral sound art for my liking. Glitter In My Tears, however, is right up my alley: a sustained and hallucinatory fever dream of brief and frequently beautiful vignettes (or "microcosms of haunted memory," as Schaefer himself describes them). The inevitable downside to such an ambitious endeavour, of course, is that Glitter is exasperatingly populated with wonderfully promising themes that appear and vanish again in a minute or less. In most hands, that would be quite a big problem, but Glitter is so uniformly strong and flows along so fluidly that I am left with little time to lament the more substantial pieces that might have been. This is a wonderfully shifting, evocative, and immersive album from start to finish.
It would probably not be terribly far off the mark to state that almost any of Glitter In My Tears' 26 pieces would make a deceptive and non-representative opening piece, yet that somehow seems especially true of the actual opener, "Sparkles Into The Light of Night." The primary reason is that "Sparkles" stretches out for over six minutes, making it easily the lengthiest and most substantial piece on the entire album. It is a bit of a stylistic curveball as well though, resembling the sort of lazily swooping and space-y synth reverie that might turn up as an interlude on a late-period Pink Floyd album. Nothing else on Glitter comes at all close to fitting that description. In fact, the only remotely consistent thread to emerge from "Sparkles" is just that the bulk of the album is vaguely rooted in drone, even if Schaefer treats the genre a lot like a kaleidoscopic and surreal playground. Needless to say, Schaefer covers a lot of ground within those rough confines, but the strongest pieces in that vein are the lushly hissing thrum of “Beam Me Up,” the oscillating modular synth pulses of "Rise," and the oversaturated hyper-minimalism of "Reflection Waves." Similarly compelling yet somewhat different are Schaefer's eclectic and consistently wrong-footing experiments with loops. One of my favorites is the tragically brief "Hells Bells," which loops a crackling snippet of "The Nutcracker Suite" to impressively nightmarish effect. The unexpectedly funky and downbeat "What Comes Around" is yet another stand-out moment in loop fun, briefly threatening to turn Glitter into the unlikeliest of party albums.
There is also a third category encompassing vaguely neo-classical fare, such as the Satie-esque (if truncated) piano miniature "Looking For Love" and the heavy-bass-drone-meets-church-organ experimentation of "Low Points," though Schaefer only dabbles a little bit in that direction. He dabbles quite a bit more in an uncategorizable fourth category that can probably be best described as "gleefully weird, one-off mindfuckery," a theme exemplified by the one-two punch of the submerged and hallucinatory "Spells" seguing into the fitful and lurching saxophone/music box duet of "Dawn Draws In." The swirling and obsessive-sounding orchestral loop of "Lagoon" is yet another fine bit of aberrant disorientation, as is the blearily Caretaker-worthy big-band jazz of "Forgetting The Way Forward." That said, it is unquestionably "Tale of Two Angels" that takes home the prize for the single strangest interlude on the album. For one, there seems to be at least two very bizarre things happening at once: 1.) a saccharine and beatific harp motif that sounds plucked from a religious cartoon, and 2.) a microphone placed entirely too close to some gibbering, overexcited birds. There are some children's voices thrown into the mix as well, but the bigger twist is that the harp pattern unexpectedly turns its back on tranquility and bliss and descends into much darker and more melancholy waters without warning. It feels a lot like a hyper-real variation upon late-night, hypnagogic channel-surfing in which nothing at all seems to make sense.
Obviously, an album like Glitter In My Tears is bit of an inherently compromised endeavor, as the joy of having such an endless tide of promising ideas wash over me is tempered a bit by my occasional frustration at hearing a wonderful motif get cut short long before its time. "Beyond Hope" is the most striking example of the latter, as Schaefer creates an eerie and vaguely menacing soundscape of backwards piano that seems to fade in and out of focus, yet blithely traipses onward to the next idea after a mere minute. That particular feat admittedly made me want to scream, but Schaefer otherwise exercises relatively unerring judgment, keeping the album flowing briskly, (fairly) seamlessly, and unpredictably along without ever lingering on anything longer than he should. Failing to fully capitalize on good ideas feels like much less of a musical crime than being over-infatuated with weaker ones, but it must be said that Glitter is quite riddled with quickly abandoned one-minute flashes of inspiration. Normally, the pessimist in me would zero in on that "countless missed opportunities" aspect, but Schaefer ultimately won me over with the sheer volume of great material that he somehow managed to pack into this album. Admittedly, few pieces stick around for very long, yet it feels far more significant that I mentioned roughly a dozen individual pieces in this review and feel like I still probably missed a few of my favorites. Also, I wonder if this is an unwitting glimpse into the future, as collaging raw material for roughly four albums into an accelerated and condensed whirlwind of content feels like the perfect album for humanity's rapidly dwindling attention span and escalating appetite for entertainment consumption. As such, Glitter In My Tears may very well be a dark horse candidate for the most prophetic album of the year. If not, it is still quite an absorbing experiment.
Blow Up [Italian magazine]
The song fragmentations and heterogeneity remind me of the Apex Twin ambient miniatures. But while they were schizophrenic and playful fragments, in Glitter in my tears we find some of the most wonderful and well worked jewels with which to adorn ourselves.
Overall .. it recalls more diverse classic chill out albums from The Orb & KLF, which felt playful and less confined to one purpose or expression.
Sigil of Brass
A sober, off-beat beauty of an album with real character . .
rich, slowly floating streams of sad, melancholic Ambient weeps to a tense spine-tingling effect.
A work that requires repeated and focused listening sessions to embrace it in all its detail and beauty.
. . . a quello di David Lynch!
His interest in found sound and his adeptness with a variety of textures is more than impressive, and the fact that he was an architect in a former life shows in his compositions.
Schaefer is obsessed with the textures, the atmospheres and the emotionality of acoustic states.
The British Ambient / Soundart veteran Janek Schaefer uses similar tools and tonal organizing principles like Templeton.
So hard cuts and confrontation of opposing elements, as well as noise and the moribund Lo-Fi sound of antique tape machines.
However, he combines these elements so quietly and discreetly that only the very finest,
most distant echo is extracted from the really coarse and brutal sound sources and is laid down in ambient tracks of fragile silence.
Schaefer's over-arching, twenty-six-track album Glitter In My Tears (Room 40) is something like his conclusion and a personal retrospective of 20 years of music and art production.
Touching Extremes [Massimo Ricci]
The challenging game of association of sounds and memories requires players capable of eliminating catchpenny humor altogether without transcending into “gratuitously miserable” orchestration. The latter word was chosen on purpose, for Janek Schaefer – a man who deals with aural remembrance since the beginning – seems over the years to have slightly changed his approach to composition. The foggy wholeness of nostalgic visions has become a veritable ensemble of mnemonic snapshots, each of them characterized by the voice of a spirit that can’t help looking back in mild unhappiness.
In this particular case, the reduced length of many of the 26 fragments attributing Glitter In My Tears its form prevents the listener from remaining fossilized within a mental frame. This album conveys a sense of uneasy sleep affected by regretful flashes and childhood-related retentions; more than in previous fluxes of dissolving unspoken feelings, Schaefer leaves a few acoustic details clearer, almost there to be memorized if only for a short while. He utilizes at best the mechanics of looping, managing to enhance a harmonic shade here and a glowing light there. At the same time, the music retains the engrossing qualities of sonic dispersion, projecting poignant echoes and staggering resonances that come and go – sometimes in a matter of seconds – against the stark walls of a future nobody looks forward to.
The composer writes “based on a true story” at the end of the liner notes. We never had a doubt about this. That story may very well be that of his own entire life to date, or just an episode giving impulse to the painful firmness shown by genuinely sensible beings when shallow people, or the circumstances of a crude reality, try to steal innocence from their innermost nucleus. In Schaefer’s work the escape route from bitter truth to fugitive alleviation – which, at any rate, always transits across profound somberness – is masterfully represented. A priceless aid, in this day and age.