Janek Schaefer - Glitter in My Tears (CD Room40)

During the last 20 years Janek Schaefer has released at least 30 albums. They have ranged from glorious minimal excursions, to intricately complex, sometimes to the detriment of the music, and full-blown affairs.

His latest album, ‘Glitter in My Tears’, slots in nicely with the first group of albums. It is an album constructed of self-contained tracks. Some are brief snatches of a melody before it vanishes into the ether. Others are a few minutes long. Here Schaefer plays with his ideas a bit more before moving on with the next one. It’s an album that never really lifts its veil. You can only really make out its form through silhouettes against mesh. The muted colours Schaefer creates taps into Schaefer’s time as an architect, and the idea that the foundations of buildings are never as colourful as the finished construction.

‘Dawn Draws in’ has a lullaby quality to it. A music box is slowly wound while mournful horns play in the background. It creates a feeling of comforting distress. As the music box gently drifts us off into the slumber, the horns remind us that everything might not be as cheerful as we originally thought. ‘All in the Mind’ shrouds his message under deep drones. Underneath them is what Schaefer is trying to impart, but he expertly keeps is hidden. ‘Missing Moment’ feels like Schaefer is just playing a record he found while out having a walk. It feels like it is from another time and is caked with the unwanted detritus of modern life. As the record plays it crackles and spits but sounds utterly flawless because of it.  

What is striking about ‘Glitter in My Tears’ is how regardless of the length of the track; they all feel to be the right length. Schaefer gets his ideas across in a succinct and moving way. What makes ‘Glitter in My Tears’ so compelling is how stark it is. Schaefer isn’t layering synths after synths to create a disjointed atmosphere. He does the opposite. He uses minimal sound sources and creates something stark but incredibly beautiful. NR

Contact: room40.org