Jan St. Werner, a well-respected artist and musician known for his solo compositions, his work with Mouse On Mars, and his conceptual art pieces, has created a beautifully rhythmic, instantly gripping work with his new album Felder.
Felder is an infinite, boundless creation that unravels upon every listen. Werner has created sounds that are listenable and inviting, complex but approachable and, mostly, completely unidentifiable. “Felder” means “fields” in German, and here the word refers to conceptual frameworks and subjects, and sound fields. Werner is a cultivator — a farmer — of the various sounds, from metal scratched on a big glass window to piano phrases found on a private Popul Vuh compilation. He mixes organic sounds from French horns and cellos seamlessly with synthesized notes created with one-of-a-kind programs. Werner builds layers of sound with differing cadences upon one another, creating intricate patterns that connect with each other structurally, rhythmically, semantically, and historically. Suggestions of jazz, industrial music, drone and even folk float in and out of the electronic compositions in a seemingly effortless manner; paradoxically, Felder was meticulously constructed over the course of four years.
Werner’s refinement process for the pieces on Felder was simultaneous with the lofty goal of challenging himself as a musician while still creating a record that is melodic and complex. Werner recorded the album in Marfa, Texas; Berlin, and around the world while touring with Mouse on Mars. Just as the album’s creation and production cannot be tied to a specific setting or time, the sounds heard on the album have no clear boundaries. They are unexpectedly malleable and mutable. Context and perceptions play with sounds to yield a fresh new experience with each listen. Samples and instrumentals bounce off one another, starting from central points and radiating outwards. With so many new sounds to discover and new inspirations to be found, Felder is an entire new field of musical possibilities — a landscape that at first appears simple and beautiful that reveals its utter complexity upon closer inspection. The album is joyful experience for both the mind and the soul.
Sound as an unstable art form tends to merge with other disciplines and yet it makes strong claims for disciplinary autonomy. In the course, a critical awareness will be developed of how sound art as a field for artistic exploration is performed, produced, and distributed. Students will explore contemporary and historical practices that emerge outside of purely musical environments and investigate specific compositional developments of post-war modernity and electro-acoustic music, as well as non-musical disciplines related to the psychophysics of hearing and listening. Lectures, screenings, readings, and discussions with guests and faculty contribute to the development of group and individual projects. Additional work required of students taking the graduate version.
The singer Damo Suzuki, originally from Japan, was the singer of the band CAN from 1970 to 1973. He developed the improvised singing in psychedelic music, disappeared for ten years and began his own solo and network projects from 1983. Suzuki lives and works in Cologne until today. Together with Andi Toma, Jan St. Werner is the initiator of the band Band Mouse on Mars which was formed in 1993, then discovering a new connection to the avantgarde of the 1970ies and being one of the most important bands in electronic music ever since. Werner now lives and works in Berlin and operates in the most diverse musical collaborations (see Mouse on Mars: 21 again (2014)).
Beginning with Sigmar Polke’s 16mm films shown for the first time in the 1980ies, Museum Abteiberg presents in its halls an electro-acoustic concert consisting of several parts which combines Sigmar Polke’s sampled visual aesthetics, which have often been described as alchemy, with a contemporary acoustic counterpart. Damo Suzuki and Jan St. Werner present an electroacoustic composition which draws its procedures from the Krautrock and diverse form of improvisation in the 1970ies, using a range of sound materials, speech and noise, thereby presenting Polke’s process of cross-fading and multiple exposure as an acoustic procedure. Suzuki and Werner – which have never worked together before – practice an acoustic reflection which both moves within the system and makes an observation from outside at the same time. Experimenting with different materials and perspectives, this approach presents an interdisciplinary parallel to Polke: All material becomes a big picture, everything joins an alchemist mixture. Jan St. Werner: “There is no centre in this composition, the elements must be newly brought together again and again. What was just perceived and has faded is redrawn from memory and compared to the new. The image and after-image form a collage in the head as the actual composition.”
The acoustic-visual installation will subsequently be shown in parallel with the exhibition “SIGMAR POLKE Approaching Venice – Movies and Materials of the 1986 Biennale” at Museum Abteiberg until 5 July.
Städtisches Museum Abteiberg
foto credits & museum contact: Uwe Riedel email@example.com
Electroacoustic opera featuring Kathy Alberici, Taigen Kawabe, Markus Popp & Dylan Carlson
The central concept of Miscontinuum Album explores misconceptions of time and memory, inspired by unique acoustic phenomena derived through digital phasing and musical time stretching techniques. There is an aura of doom that pervades the work. Much of the album’s evocative nature comes from the interplay of Werner’s electronics with Alberici and Kawabe’s voices and the contrast between those organic and inorganic elements. Popp, a longtime collaborator with Werner in Microstoria, wrote the libretti, which are presented in five distinct scenes and recited redolently by Carlson. The surreal plot involves a progressive distinction of time as a force rather than a structuring system, where an individual who can shift consciously between states within that force. The high concepts and unusual creative partners combine for an album that is uncommonly emotionally resonant.
Miscontinuum was first performed as a part of Werner’s Asymmetric Studio series in Munich on June 18th, 2013, and also featured video by Werner and Karl Kliem and stage design by Christina del Yelmo & Sonia Gomez Villar. It was broadcast by Bayerischer Rundfunk BR2 public radio. The striking visual elements, flowing dresses and impressionistic masses of color, make appearances on the album’s art, and will be presented in new forms in the coming months. The first revised version of Miscontinuum featuring live video by Zoya Bassi premiered at the St Luke’s Church in London on Feb 8th 2015. The second performance was shown at Volksbühne Berlin on April 5th 2015.
Created by Jan St. Werner and Karl Kliem, this series of audio-visual compositions of constantly and subtly shifting antidromic sounds and images experiments visually and acoustically with Gestalt principles from the field of cognitive psychology, and triggers sensory irritation in the recipient.
Composed of 60 frames per second, the visual component of the “Rotationsstudien” uses complementary contrasts, sudden bursts of colour, and shifts from bright- to darkness to generate spatial effects that simultaneously give rise to new assemblages and undermine the viewer’s sense of reality. Same as the images, the installation’s sound component is completely digital in origin, and by means of granular resonance shifts, stereo movements, and phase changes prompts phantom perceptions. Every visitor listens to and sees a different installation. “Rotationsstudien” is a generative piece of abstract extended cinema, that runs for days without repetition.
CTM Festival 2015: http://www.ctm-festival.de/festival-2015/transfer/rotationsstudien/
Experimental listening enviroment & surround sound composition by Jan St. Werner featuring Mark E Smith for Cornerhouse, Manchester
Musician Jan St. Werner has created Molocular Meditation, a bespoke light and sound enviroment with a soundtrack featuring the voice of the Fall’s Mark E Smith. Smith is heard making observations on mundane objects, events and a range of meditation techniques. His voice forms the narrative component of an abstract electroacoustic composition placed in a surreal scenario evoking a state of transformation and deceleration.
“Klänge, die in den Räumen der Neuen Nationalgalerie Berlin aufgenommen und mit elektronischen Elementen versetzt wurden, dienen als Material für diese elektro-akustische Komposition. Sprache und Bewegung verbinden sich auf einer abstrakten Ebene, die Möglichkeiten konkreter und absurder Aktivitäten in einem sozialen Raum thematisiert. Die Komposition mischt sich zurück in die Realität der Ausstellungshalle und erzeugt eine akustische Parallelchoreografie, die innerhalb der Ausstellung, zusammen mit der Ausstellung, gegen die und aus der Ausstellung heraus läuft.”
The festival’s program of performances, sculptures, talks, and installations by 100 artists and contributors who have been part of the past five years of the Institut für Raumexperimente will be held in and around the exhibition “Sticks and Stones” by David Chipperfield, an intervention in dialogue with the architecture of Mies van der Rohe.
“The piece is 36 minutes in length and draws into itself a diverse range of sounds that Jan St. Werner has recorded during his stay in Marfa along with elements recorded elsewhere but which reasserted themselves in this place. The piece manages to be site specific, but without being orthodoxly so. The train is a representative element in that it contributes a significant aspect to the town, and to the piece, because it omes from elsewhere, appears and then returns to farther away.
“So did the poet Clark Coolidge appear; and musicians Primo Carrasco, Max and John Ferguson, Scott Hawkins and David Grubbs; so, too, the various anonymous visitors to the Marfa Lights’ Viewing Station and linguist Lynette Melnar; and almost everyone, including Jan and myself. Additionally, Jan has treated the radio event as a sculptural entity, one that can be cut from time and transferred, via recording to other times and places.
“As such, the piece, which will air on Marfa Public Radio this Wednesday, is marked by the station itself, and therefore by the people of this area, but this same marking will appear again on WDR 3 German Public Radio at some point in the future and for that performance, German Public Radio will be marked by Marfa.”
As the title Split Animal Sculpture suggests, this piece manages to sound simultaneously biotic and fabricated. An impressionistic rendering of church bells and organ drone is suggestive of a large man-made structure, while in-between can be heard the flutters and whistles of something animated navigating it’s way through the reverberating buzz. This circling and spatial piece illustrates St. Werner’s intelligent approach to creating sound that has both weight and aerodynamic energy. This record also exists as asound installation for a single listener using headphones and one speaker.
On “Mordendo” the dynamics of speaker compositions intertwine with concrete Afro-Brazilian sounds pattern, with special “toques”, drum beat sequences also found in Samba and Candomblé… Sounds rear up, diffuse, and rhythms dissolve into tones thereby creating a “total music”.
“Black Manual” was formed in 2012 after Jan St. Werner had heard the percussionists Valdir Jovenal, Juninho Quebradeira and Leo Leandro play at a Candomblé ceremony in Berlin Kreuzberg.
Together with his colleague Andi Toma, with whom Jan St. Werner had made a name as “Mouse on Mars”, he mixed this unholy conglomerate of frigidly staged disorders, digital fragments, samples, broken melodies and the vibrant, tugging sub-bass caprices of the Brazilian “voodoo” rhythms – “a fala dos atabaques” (“speech of the drums”): with violence and passion as if they were trying to force the gates to transcendence open.
A performance between concert and ceremony: When the three percussionists and Jan St. Werner really cut loose, challenging and tempting each other, then worlds collide making the earth tremble! Then the black Gods of Africa are also near as if they were amusing themselves or trying to dance with the Christian hallows… “O tempo é fora do comum!” Or: “The time is out of joint!”
Wichtel & die Wuchteln: “falscher Auerhahn” 12″ picture disc, no label Ingrid Wiener, Oswald Wiener, Rosa Barba, Klaus Sander & Jan St. Werner. Edit of a live performance at Villa Romana, Florence, 2011. Curated by Angelika Stepken. “Sound & noise collages played live with additional singing, percussion and subtle instrumentation. Somewhere between early Franco Battiato, Throbbing Gristle, Napolitanian folk music and selten gehoerte Musik.”
“Blinded by political tongue twisting and the vacuum that is my deep pockets, this escapist piece is the first of the Island Universe Research works being generated. With the heavier words getting ready to weigh you down about the realities of breathing let this be the beginning of remembering that this is infinite.”
This first installment in the Island Universe Research imprint is a collaboration by Roberto C. Lange and Jan Werner. Light reflections and water movements designed the landscape for the visual while resonating strings and low steady swoons press against your ear drums like a pillow. Two brothers born as twins in different years this aligning of eyes is birthing new formations at a constant speed.
Motion Piece by Roberto C. Lange Sound and Music by Jan St. Werner
This is Island Universe Research / Motion Piece 001
Radio composition for WDR Studio Akustische Kunst. “36 Sekunden dauerte der Satz, in dem Karlheinz Stockhausen während eines Vortrags in den frühen 1970er-Jahren die heute gängige kompositorische Praxis des Time Stretchings voraussah: „Wenn wir einen beliebigen Klang nehmen und ihn ausbreiten, also entlang der Zeitachse ausdehnen, bis zu einer Dauer von 20 Minuten, einen Klang, der vielleicht ein oder zwei Sekunden lang war, als wir ihn aufnahmen, dann haben wir eine Musik, ein musikalisches Stück, dessen gesamte Form entlang der Zeitachse die Ausdehnung dieser mikro-akustischen Zeitstruktur ist, die in diesem Klang steckte.“ Fünf Jahre nach dessen Tod nimmt Jan St. Werner Stockhausen beim Wort: Stockhausens Statement ist gleichermaßen Material und granulare Syntax für eine Komposition, in der sich nicht nur akustische und digitale Signale überlagern, sondern auch Substanz und Methode verschmelzen. Mit Hilfe digitaler Klanganalyse- & Synthesetechniken und Timestretching zieht Werner musikalisches Erbgut aus Stockhausens Stimme. Durch die Hinzunahme akustischer Instrumente wie Cello (Michael Rauter), Cembalo (Clemens Flick) und Perkussion (Matthias Engler) werden harmonische, tonale und rhythmische Verdichtungen herausgearbeitet und musikalisch konkretisiert.”
exhibition A P R I L 2 6 — M A Y 6 Wednesday – Sunday, 5 – 9 pm Virchowstraße 6 10249 Berlin
WORKS BY AEAEAEAE, Rune Bosse, Julius von Bismarck, Julian Charrière, Merlin Carter, Andreas Dzialocha, Leon Eixenberger, Olafur Eliasson and TR, Eric Ellingsen, Tomas Espinosa, Maresa Fiege, Fabian Gisler, Andreas Greiner, Felix Meyer, Rodrigo Maltez Novaes, Markus Hoffmann, Jeremias Holliger, Friederike Horbrügger, Clara Jo, Anne Duk Hee Jordan, Felix Kiessling, Jonas Kesseler, Fabian Knecht, Hans-Henning Korb, Felix Lüke, Laura McLardy, Macarena Ruiz-Tagle, Andrea Sanzvela, Martin Schick, Tiago Romagnani Silveira, Diana Sprenger, Wilm Thoben, Alvaro Urbano, Raul Walch, Jan St. Werner, Euan Williams, Hendrik Wolking
First instalement of a new audiovisual series by Jan St. Werner with assistance of Karl Kliem on the occasion of Oswald Wiener’s symposium “Innenschau/Zusammenschau”, Sept. 16th/17th 2011, Kunsthaus Muerz, Austria.
“The sources for “Formationen” are early solo recordings produced with synthesizers and tapes in 1992 and 1993, during Werner’s collaborations with F.X.Randomiz and his first experiments with Andi Toma that should be released later under the alias Mouse on Mars. Werner found those early tapes a while ago, re-mastered and carefully re-worked them, and the result are four stunning pieces of beautiful electronic music.” limited vinyl edition of 300 copies. (a-musik)
A new composition for the ICA that uses the structure and daily sounds of the building. Arranging drones from harmoniums with soundpockets produced by ICA staff, the work exists throughout the ICA for one day. “Three players and three harmoniums are located in separate areas of the ICA. The sound of the first player who plays vibraphone is relayed to an amp in the room of the second player. The sound of the second player who plays guitar, and the sound of his amp, are relayed to player 3. Player 3- who is playing guitar, and the sound of his amp, are relayed to a fourth amp located at the entrance of the building. Every 15 minutes each player chooses one of a given number of note groups. Each player repeats the chosen note group three times. Player 1 starts every quarter of an hour. Player 2 joins in when player 1 is playing his note group for the second time. Player 3 joins in when player 2 is playing her note group for the second time.”
Score for an undefined number of cars on a highway to be performed until all actions are exercised. By Volker Hormann, Michael Rauter & Jan St. Werner. On the occasion of “Nordkurve”, Künstlerische Arbeiten am Ort der ehemaligen Autorennstrecke AVUS und heutigen Autobahn A115 Berlin kunstraum avus
Spatial composition for church bells, church organ, brass orchestra, bicycle sound system, vibraphone, recorders, street noises and electronics. Piazza Della Repubblica, Foligno, Italy, June 27th, 2009, 9.00 – 19.00
sonig is an independent music label for experimental, electronic and non genre specific music. the artist roster is international and features bands, solo artists and art related music projects. sonig is based in cologne and shares offices with a-musik, the specialist shop, distributor and label for all kinds of outsider music. sonig is also running a mail order service and alternatively offers products through online stores such as itunes or amazon. sonig is run by frank dommert, jan st werner and andi toma.
A&E / Aelters / Audiogarde / Baleine 3000 / C-Schulz / C-Schulz & F.X.Randomiz / Candie Hank / DJ Elephant Power / Dogr / Dü / F.X.Randomiz / Fan Club Orchestra / Fanal / Hajsch / Jason Forrest / Kevin Blechdom / Lithops / Michel Waisvisz / Microstoria / Mouse On Mars / Nathan Michel / Noisemashinetapes / Patric Catani/Chris Imler/Jorinde Voigt / Schlammpeitziger / Scratch Pet Land / Sun OK Papi K.O. / The Allophons / Uské Orchestra / Vert / Wang Inc. / Wevie De Crepon / Workshop / Xberg Dhirty6 Cru
a one octave micro keyboard with transpose up/down buttons and 8 rotary controllers. the travel controller uses a junxion board to translate controller data to a junxion software patch which generates midi. it is connected to a powerbook via usb. the travel controller was contrived by jan st werner and built by jorgen brinkmann at steim. size: 15,5 x 8 x 3 cm
„Mit Vorgemischte Welt legen Klaus Sander und Jan St. Werner die anregendsten Gedanken zum Thema Musik und deren ästhetische Bedingungen seit Jahren vor. Wer sich auch nur ein wenig über Musik als traditionelles Beruhigungsmedium hinaus für tatsächlich auch soziologische, biologische, ökonomische oder ästhetische Fragen des Kunstschaffens interessiert, darf an diesem Buch nicht vorbeigehen. Pflichtlektüre!“ (Der Standard, Wien) Suhrkamp Verlag
The NOISEROOM is an autonomous surround sound installation built for pre-recorded musical works and sonic experiments. It is a musical deconstruction of a room-within-a-room as much as it is a sound studio sculpture. Each musical work which is performed in the NOISEROOM has been selected, edited and arranged for a listening situation in which the listeners can dedicate themselves to a maximum listening experience. The pieces presented in the NOISEROOM refer specifically to the concept of a so-called ‘speaker’ concert in contrast to a so-called ‘live’ concert. Each composition will be played back through a multi-channel 5.1 speaker setup that is configured according to the spatial acoustics of the NOISEROOM. The NOISEROOM is a project of Jan St. Werner, artistic director of STEIM and member of Mouse on Mars.
The NOISEROOM features compositions by:
Lee Ranaldo, Black Dice, Kevin Blechdom, Stereolab, Mouse on Mars, Lithops, Sun ok papi k.o., David Grubbs, Vert, Jason Forrest, Daniel Schorno, Casey Rice, Robert van Heumen, Jeff Carey, Hrvatski
sound event @ CASCO Office for Art Design and Theory, Utrecht, Netherlands
St Werner adapted electric harmoniums to create a subtle continuous sound that is every now and again disrupted by other noises that were recorded in the space, quietly harmonising and conflicting with the social setting. Casco archive
Wichtel und die Wuchteln: Hämchen Hämchen
Wuchtel und die Wichteln: Wunderschöner junger Mann
CD-Single featuring Ingrid & Oswald Wiener, Rosa Barba, Anja Theismann, Klaus Sander & Jan St. Werner
Euro 12,00 suppose
Starting from the idea of producing a remix album of Mouse on Mars in book-form, Jan St.Werner and Andi Toma, in conjunction with the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, asked over 30 artists, musicians, designers and scientists to document their imaginative responses to and associations with Mouse on Mars. They were invited to contribute works for the project without actually generating any sound. Inspired by the music of Mouse on Mars (to be viewed as ‘work in progress’ rather than something striving to be complete), ideas, sketches and designs were originated, which correspond to a fantastical, occasionally formal, but always personal analysis of what it means to experience music.
The exhibition featured works by Heike Baranowsky, Rosa Barba, Laurent Baudoux, Armin Boehm, Michel Carré, Katja Davar, Diango Hernández, Waseem Khan, Matthias Köchling, Dirk Königsfeld, Stefan Kozalla, Simon Lewis, Jean-François Moriceau & Petra Mrzyk, Soulis Moustakidis, Daniel Roth, Constantin Rothkopf, Silke Schatz, Christian Schwarzwald, Alice Stepanek/Steven Maslin, Leif Trenkler, Emmett Williams, Jo Zimmermann. kunsthalle-duesseldorf.de/
Otto E. Rössler: Descartes’ Traum “Der Chaosforscher Otto E. Rössler (geboren 1940), Professor für Theoretische Chemie und Spezialist für Nichtspezialisiertheit, ist ein hinreißender Erzähler, der seine Hörer mit Begeisterung anzustecken versteht. Der Entdecker des nach ihm benannten Rössler-Attraktors hält die Wissenschaft für eine wichtige Aufgabe und gleichzeitig für ein Spiel, er schätzt Gehirngleichungen und die Theorie der Menschenrechte. In eigens für diese CD aufgenommenen improvisierten Kurzvorträgen berichtet er von der unendlichen Macht des Außenstehens, von Heraklit’s Joystick und Descartes’ Traum, spricht über Mikrorelativität, Bewußtsein, Quantenwelten und Chaos ohne Charakter, entwickelt eine kleine Theorie des Lächelns und entdeckt das Wunder des Jetzt.” suppose.de
doku/fiction publication edited by Kunsthalle Düsseldorf 160 pages & CD 16.8 x 24 cm released: April 2004
Softcover, incl. CD with 9 audio tracks by Mouse on Mars. Design by Frieda Luczak, Icon Communications Design, Cologne
Using Mouse on Mars’ songs, albums and concerts as inspiration, 37 artists, musicians, designers and academics have created commentaries, paintings, drawings and collages for this book. The results gathered here document the visual, artistic and theoretical contexts of modern electronic music as well as a range of personal interpretations of what it’s like to experience it. The book contains essays by author and journalist Dietmar Dath as well as Professor Siegfried Zielinski of the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne in addition to an interview of linguist and cyberneticist Oswald Wiener by Jan St. Werner. As an added bonus, the book includes an audio CD featuring 9 exclusive Mouse on Mars tracks referring to the production of the remix artworks. The concept for an accompanying exhibition was born out of the book project. It is held at the German museum Kunsthalle Duesseldorf from April 4 through June 27, 2004. doku/fiction publication
Comprised of unequal parts concert, exhibition, lecture and theatre play, “sound speaker” presents interdisciplinary performances highlighting the inconsequential and the unpredictable in music. The artists and performers take the stage and use sound itself as the medium to address questions of musical aesthetics, dynamics and logics.
Musical Reading & Workshop by Jan St Werner October 11th – 23rd 2005 DasArts, Mauritskade 56, 1092 Amsterdam
“By learning with others you can get instant feedback from other creative minds (each bringing to the table different experiences and insights) DURING the learning process. This enables a kind of collective experience that can be drawn upon when internalizing information the first time. I don’t believe collective learning is stressed in the west. Performing music in a creative group is collective learning as is playing in a big band of some sort but I’m speaking now of collective learning in the more general and traditional concept of studying and conceptualizing together with others..” O. Coleman, “An Interview” “We came together to try out a kind of aesthetics of failure i.e. an aesthetics of the non-ability, of wanting and willing. And this is a very painful aesthetics, it is an aesthetics of embarrassment, blamage and renouncement. But as it is actually all about seizing an emotional affect on the listener and how it naturally feeds back as disgrace and how this embarrassment becomes a play of being taken away and feeling painful… ” Oswald Wiener on the occasion of the Berlin concert of “SELTEN GEHÖRTE MUSIK” 1974 Dasarts archive. Please scroll down to view this project
The meshbox is a real-time sample-based drum sequencer designed for live performances. It allows the sampling of any soundsource on the fly and is syncable to midi. It’s using a junxion board to send controller data to a junxion software patch which translates the controller events into midi. A mac powerbook running LISA is used as sound giving device. The meshbox has been contrived by Jan St. Werner and was programmed by Frank Balde and designed by Jorgen Brinkmann at the STEIM workshop.