Jan Jelinek

MUTEK, Montreal QC, August 22

Photo: Myriam Ménard

BY Tom BeedhamPublished Aug 23, 2019

In a live iteration of his SWR2 radio play Zwischen ("between"), Germany-based composer Jan Jelinek routed garbled ums and ahs through his modular unit, sampling and sequencing the results as he went and transforming the nonverbal elements we default to and take for granted between words into a curious dronescape that told its own story.
An over-the-shoulder view captured by an overhanging camera and projected on a screen in the rear helped demystify the process while also offering a visual metaphor for the complicated formal networks of syntax and vocabulary we maneuver to communicate with each other, developing a unified whole that was accessible to anyone listening, bridging language barriers. Registering on a deeper, more subconscious level, a first stammer gave way to a vibrant, organ-like drone, then sounds provided by a series of voices wove around each other, stretched into an elastic bass tone that slunk along at a cautious pace before it shuddered to a halt — the audience hanging on every sputter and grasp for words.

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