Jan Jelinek - Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records

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  • The title of Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records seems like a red herring. Made up of hyper-artificial clicks, pops, whirrs and thumps, Jan Jelinek's 2001 LP sounds about as jazzy as Throbbing Gristle's 20 Jazz Funk Greats. In their original review of the record, Pitchfork described the title as "meaningless" and "a joke," allowing that "some of the noises here may well have been sourced from jazz records, but you'd never know it." Lo and behold, all the noises were sourced from jazz records—they've just been atomized into millisecond-long fragments and reshaped into something new. Jelinek has said that, in writing the album, he was interested not in the sound of jazz music, but in the sonic personality of jazz records. "I think that every genre can be seen as specific and unique in sound," he once told Tiny Mix Tapes. "I tried to explore that with the Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records album." 16 years since it came out on ~scape, Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records remains a cult favorite, and understandably so. It's soothing but with a subtle kick. Its textures are as tactile as they are abstract. Its arrangements are as mesmerizing as the moiré patterns that inspired them. The album is an aural experience scarcely surpassed in electronic music. While its combination of glitch, ambient and minimal house feels very 2001, it still sounds surprisingly fresh today—just listen to Call Super's fabric 92, which gets going with what passes for this album's main banger, "Tendency." Now the album returns on Jelinek's own label, Faitiche, newly packaged with two tracks from the related Tendency EP. Like other glitch records on ~scape and its contemporaries (Raster-Noton, Mille Plateaux), Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records both explores and celebrates technology itself. Where more traditional music—jazz especially—is compelling for its human element, this album feels like an artifact from some immaculate, post-human world. Its chords wheeze like cooling fans, its percussion flickers like text on a display. Drawing from sounds one would typically associate with lively, smoke-filled bars, Jelinek creates a scene more akin to the twirling spaceship in 2001: A Space Odyssey, with its glowing consoles and flawless white interior. If Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records' sounds are abstract, its music is deceptively traditional—this tension is what makes the album so good. Submerged in the murk as they may be, a couple tracks here have standard house rhythms ("They, Them," "Tendency"). Even the stranger grooves, like the percolating beat of "Do Dekor" or the gurgling swamp of "Moiré (Piano & Organ)," fall within a DJ-friendly tempo somewhere around 120 BPM. Mellow chords drift through each odd composition, bringing their cold textures to life. For something so obsessed with artificial aesthetics, the album strikes a surprising emotional chord, floating between drained languor and mellow bliss. As much of a departure as it is in most ways, Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records shares at least one thing in common with the music it samples: its effect on the listener. While certainly more warped than, say, Kind Of Blue, it has the same drifting motion that defines that kind of low-key jazz. Heard from beginning to end, it's an absorbing sequence of strange and dreamlike aural scenes, each dovetailing flawlessly into the next—something maintained with the addition of "Moiré (Guitar & Horns)" and "Poren," the latter of which might be an even better final track than "Drift," which closed the 2001 edition. Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records is an achievement in electronic production and audiophile sound design. But it's also something less cerebral: a basically perfect home listening album.
  • Tracklist
      01. Moiré (Piano & Organ) 02. Rock In The Video Age 03. They, Them 04. Them, Their 05. Moiré (Guitar & Horns) 06. Tendency 07. Moiré (Strings) 08. Do Dekor 09. Drift 10. Poren