Spectric Acid – fiepblatter catalogue #5

Spectric Acid, CD, 2017

Jan St. Werner summons flux and fragmentation on Spectric Acid, building up the record’s blistering, locomotive beat structures around the correlation of musical spectra. Their movements triggered in part by peaks in frequency envelopes, rhythms buckle and fracture according to a complex logic that slides past aural perception and harmonic resolution; a “phenomenological alchemy” (Rădulescu) takes shape among unsteady synthesizer whirls and stammering percussive phrases. The effect is deadly, paralytic; but listeners willing to surrender to Spectric Acid’s movement might find themselves taken to wider horizons of trance. Crucially, Werner turned also to the ceremonial rhythms of West Africa in his shaping of Spectric Acid’s bending timescales, and one can hear a clear impress of Vodoo drumming in the way rhythmic patterns cross converse, teeter off-beat, and rapidly redouble.

Though it shares with 2016’s Felder (Fiepblatter Catalogue #4) a desire to spill beyond metric linearity and notated time, Spectric Acid strays from that record’s breathy spatiality towards more pointed concerns with motion and the liberation of rhythm. In pursuit of this new direction, Werner borrows, on the one hand, from the structural techniques championed by the Spectralist school of the 1970s; breaking free of the tempered system through a focus on frequency and timbre, spectral composers like Gérard Grisey and Horațiu Rădulescu introduced sweeping, tectonic temporalities untroubled by notes and intervals, refining what Edgard Varèse before them had evangelized as a fragmentary, atomistic approach to form given to a “[constant] changing in shape, directions, and speed.”

A record both brute in force and exacting in its sensitivity to perception’s effective limits, Spectric Acidoffers fresh glimpses of the deft compositional grasp Werner has developed across over two decades of practice, whether in Mouse on Mars and Microstoria or on his growing log of solo records. Treat it less as a document than a potent sonic distillate, to be taken on an empty stomach for full effect.

– Walker Peterson Downey

Spectric Acid is released on CD only in a hand-numbered edition of 300 copies with an 8 page 5” x 7” booklet designed by Rupert Smyth (co-founder of YYAA Recordings and Hallso Press Editions).  Spectric Acid was mastered by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering in Berlin. Becker said the intense nature of the album meant that to master for LP would “mutilate the spectrum and phase of the material”


Dynamische Akustische Forschung – Akademie der bildenden Künste nürnberg

Project based class led by Jan St. Werner at the Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg Germany. DAF explores sound as an unstable art form which merges with other disciplines and yet makes strong claims for disciplinary autonomy. A critical awareness is developed of how sound as a field for artistic exploration is performed, produced, and distributed.


The class explores contemporary and historical practices that emerge outside of purely musical environments and investigates 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. Sound is understood as a means of artistic exploration through practical exercises, performances, installations, writing, recordings, diffusions and instruments building.

In Dynamic Acoustic Research a sound that is perceived – or rather thought – in front of or behind the inner ear, is regarded as equivalent to audible sound. The tool for that is a focus shift of the acoustic range: to search and explore with un-, over- and transdisciplinary methods as a performative self-experiment and with a permanently self-modifying interest, that has no rigidly defined program. Composition is conceived as a finding with maximum attentiveness involving all affects of the perception process.

By means of the concept of the hearing in front of or behind the inner ear a »multi-perspectivity« is applied to the act of hearing – i.e. a sonic art that does not only take place in the ear, but that also makes use of intensive hearing and listening inwards and outwards. In order to achieve this »inter-est« is the matrix of reception in the future: As an artist I will have to ask myself to what extent I am able to invest my inter-est – understood as an intellectual effort – in a structural documentation of real and discursive sounds, for missed, unheard, and outrageous things. How far can we differentiate this inter-est?

Lead by passions (affect, emotion, sensation) and the [calculating] deliberations (intention, reflection, purposefulness). In our researching experiments passions and deliberations should be brought into resonance – an inter-est in the in-between: between the others, the sounds and the devices. For all this Prof. Jan St. Werner favours an interest on the part of the students in a collective process of learning in order to explore something unknown – something undetermined.

Until now the class for Interactive Media / Dynamic Acoustic Research has published a record entitled DAF01. During the Jahresausstellung 2017 sounds arose at the campus were recorded and simultaneously analysed, filtered, interconnected, arranged. By using a mixing desk the students created their individually interpreted melody of the Jahresausstellung. The record sold by A-Musik is also available upon request (akstaller@adbk-nuernberg.de). There is also a cassette tape DAF02 and a print publication DAF03.

Furthermore, the class for Interactive Media / Dynamic Acoustic Research has established a radio station transmitting acoustical experiments. It can be received online via




Glottal Wolpertinger – documenta 14

Glottal Wolpertinger (multi-fragmented composition, commission for documenta 14, 2017)
Jan St. Werner, composition, computer
Aaron Dessner, guitar
Bryce Dessner, prerecorded guitar
Glottal Wolpertinger deconstructs the principle of the musical drone, the timelessly dense, continuously spreading mass of sound, and uses idiosyncratic spatial movements to break with the linear narrative of music. Eight microtonally tuned feedback channels were broadcast via the documenta 14 Radio Program “Every Time A Ear Di Soun” for a period of ten weeks. On July 6, 2017, the feedback channels converged with each other during a performance of Jan St. Werner together with guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner in Athens. The eight compositional fragments each consisted of a continuously modulated feedback based on the harmonic spectrum of Glottal Wolpertinger. The feedback channels resonated at the tuning frequencies of 44 Hz, 133 Hz, 339 Hz, 527 Hz, 826 Hz, 1014 Hz, 1552 Hz, 1889 Hz, 2.3 kHz, 4.6 kHz, 7.15 kHz, 10.14 kHz, 14.873 kHz, and 29.45 kHz. The spatial configuration of these frequencies inside the Romantso space resulted in oscillations, binaural pulses, and sound artifacts that became more or less palpable during the course of the performance depending on the position of the listener. In this way traditional techniques of orientation in a musical experience were pushed beyond the limits of comprehension.

Photo of Jan St. Werner and Aaron Dessner by Stathis Mamalakis – Listening Space, documenta 14, Athens, 2017

Glottal Wolpertinger artwork by Paul McDevitt

Print excerpt from Mousse Magazine #58

documenta14 listening space

documenta14 public radio

A 46 minute collage of the multiple incarnations of Glottal Wolptertinger was commissioned by Deutschlandfunk Kultur

A stereo version of Glottal Wolpertinger called Glossal Wolptertinger as a white CD-R with stamped date, white screen-printed cover on black card sleeve and printed insert plus a limited number of t-shirts and tote bags were released via farbvision.

Live DVD – n.b.k.

Documentation of the concert by Jan St. Werner at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein on January 29, 2017

Jan St. Werner is an artist and musician. He became internationally known in 1993 as the co-founder of the innovative and groundbreaking electro-duo Mouse on Mars, who until today have released more than a dozen albums and gave concerts worldwide. Additionally, in 1995, Werner joined Markus Popp for the project Microstoria and performed as a solo artist under his own name as well as under the pseudonyms of Lithops, Noisemashinetapes and Neuter River. Numerous other influential releases sprang from this. In the mid-2000s, Jan St. Werner was the artistic director of the Amsterdam Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music (STEIM), which is dedicated to the research and development of new instruments for electronic music and digital art. Werner’s activities also extend into the visual arts, in that he creates installations and produces music for them, as well as for the works of other artists, such as Rosa Barba. In 2013, Jan St. Werner released Blaze Color Burn, which was the beginning of a series of experimental sound recordings entitled Fiepblatter Catalogue (released by Thrill Jockey Records, Chicago), followed by three further conceptual albums until 2016. At Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Jan St. Werner presents selected material from this series.


Felder – fiepblatter catalogue #4

Felder, CD, 2016

“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.

Felder LP, CD, Download


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Felder Interventions

Kinetic Speakers and Experimental Sound Creations – MIT



The MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) is an academic program and hub of critical art practice and discourse. Through an integrated approach to pedagogy, hosting, public event programming, and publication, ACT builds a community of artist-thinkers around the exploration of art’s complex conjunctions with culture and technology. The program’s mission is to promote leadership in critical artistic practice and deployment, developing art as a vital means of experimenting with new registers of knowledge and new modes of valuation and expression; and to continually question what an artistic research and learning environment can be and do.

Jan St. Werner’s Kinetic Speakers And Experimental Sound Creations class defines sound as an unstable art form which merges with other disciplines and yet makes strong claims for disciplinary autonomy. A critical awareness is developed of how sound art as a field for artistic exploration is performed, produced, and distributed. Students 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.

ACT – MIT program in art, culture and technology


MIT sound creations blog

Kinetik Speakers And Experimental Sound Creations Magazine

MIT Sound Creations Soundcloud






Apparat, mit dem eine Kartoffel eine andere umkreisen kann – Museum Abteiberg

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(Experiment of an electro-acoustic composition in commemoration of Sigmar Polke)

by Jan St. Werner and Damo Suzuki

APRIL 23 rd – JULY 5th 2015


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.

An edition of 6 vinyl records with hand made sleeves by Suzuki & Werner were sold on the occasion
Städtisches Museum Abteiberg
Abteistr. 27
41061 Mönchengladbach
Tel.: 02161-252636
Fax: 02161-252659
foto credits & museum contact: Uwe Riedel riedel@museum-abteiberg.de

MISCONTINUUM album – fiepblatter catalogue #3

Electroacoustic opera featuring Kathy Alberici, Taigen Kawabe, Markus Popp & Dylan Carlson, 2015

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.





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Radio Version BR2 Radio

Kunstverein Muenchen, June 18th 2013

Rotationsstudien, Sequenzen 20-5 – CTM



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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/

Rotationsstudien, Sequenzen 20—5

MOLOCULAR MEDITATION – Cornerhouse Manchester

15787216148_bb1bf9e350_oExperimental 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.



Klanginstallation von Jan St. Werner, 2014

“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.


Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Postdamer Straße 50

10785 Berlin



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“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.”

Tim Johnson, KRTS Marfa Public Radio


SPLIT ANIMAL SCULPTURE 10″ – infinite greyscale

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.

Infinite Greyscale