After digitally dissecting jazz in 2001 on his “Loop-Finding-Jazz” release last year, Berlin-based multi-instrumentalist Jan Jelinek decided to revisit his influences once again. This time taking on a different muse from his past, Jelinek unleashed “Kosmischer Pitch,” a new album with samples solely derived from old Krautrock records. However, don’t expect Jelinek to be hailed as the second coming of Neu anytime soon. Jelinek, who also records under the Farben and Gramm monikers, is famous for his glitchy minimalist soundscapes that often render his source material virtually unrecognizable. This latest effort is no exception, resulting in an album probably best described as an abstract homage to the genre rather than a straightforward tribute.
“People who are expecting an archetypical Krautrock-album will be probably disappointed,” Jelinek says. “I try to distill the genre-typical elements of the sample sources and transform them into something like a new signature.”
Despite an endless amount of loops, cuts, effects and other studio trickery, “Kosmischer Pitch” is actually a rather warm and organic-sounding effort. Instead of just pointing and clicking his way through Pro Tools, Jelinek decided to take a more hands-on live approach in recording the album. “The tracks are more or less excerpts from long recording sessions where I was playing synthesizers, effects and the mixing console. The computer was used like a tape-machine, playing the processed sample material, while I tried to arrange these loops with effects.” According to Jelinek, you can hear a lot of “mistakes” on the record, but at the same time he loves the resulting live feel of the recordings.
Striving to duplicate the organic vibe of the record on stage, Jelinek is touring with the “Kosmischer Pitch Band,” which features fellow Berlin residents Hanno Leichtmann on drums and Andrew Pekler on guitar. “It would be probably bizarre for the audience to listen to some guitar loops without seeing a guitar on stage, notes Jelinek. “Also, it’s really a joy to play as a trio, especially when you try to improvise.”
“Beatsmith of the Year” Elliot Lipp opens, along with Milwaukee’s Signaldrift and DJ Chris Widman. “Kosmischer Pitch” is out now on ~scape Records. (Brad Knutson)
Jan Jelinek performs at Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western, (773)276-3600, on June 2.