Andrew Pekler & Jan Jelinek Monument-National, Montreal QC May 31
Published Jun 01, 2012The story goes that Jan Jelinek met the son of German pharmacist and little-known electronic music pioneer Ursula Bogner on a plane flight back from Lithuania a few years back. The pair got talking, and upon hearing Bogner's music, Jelinek decided to start the label Faitiche to release her work. For MUTEK, Jelinek and partner Andrew Pekler acted as her interpreters, performing their versions of some of Bogner's material from the archives using mostly antique analog equipment that included patch cable synths, delays and tape loops. Behind them a slideshow of archival images concerning orgone energy, meteor showers and black and white photos of Bogner at her work at Schering AG played in the background, as well as statements about the questionable merits of trying to contact other planets and statements like "Intuition Not Improvisation." The music, with its tonal pulses and noodly melodies, was reminiscent of other pioneers of electronic music, such as Tod Dockstader and Pauline Oliveros. In addition to the prepared slideshow, the duo had live camera footage behind them so you could see what they were doing with the equipment on the table in front of them. Towards the end of the set, Jelinek read a text, apparently text written by John Cage, that discussed composing and non-music, with vocoder-like distortion applied to his voice. Cosmic, spacey but at times distinguishably modern, the performance's deep rhythmic groove came across almost as an academic, chilled-out Blondes. The set remained accessible and melodic throughout, never veering into the abrasive, despite its academic roots and antique equipment. The sting in the tail being that in all probability Bogner didn't exist and the back story is a cheeky ruse for Jelinek to release some pioneer-style music of his own, while having some fun in the process.