Janek Schaefer (b. 1970)

  1. Recorded Delivery [1995 - 7" edit]

    A sound activated tape recorder travels overnight through the UK Post Office via Recorded Delivery service. The Dictaphone automatically edits the 15 hour journey down to a 72min recording, capturing only the significant sounds right up until the parcel is signed for at the end, where it is to be exhibited in a self storage building. The highlight is the early morning post office workers talking about rude things that they wished had happened the night before. Created for the group show 'Self Storage' curated by Artangel with Brian Eno and Laurie Anderson, Acorn Self Storage, Wembley, London. [Weblink]

  2. His Master's Voices [1997]

    T.S Eliot poem 'Burnt Norton' is played 3 times at once on the 3 tone-arm Tri-Phonic Turntable.

    A very simple and clear demonstration of the multi-arm simultaneous play back of the Tri-Phonic Turntable, and was the first Plunderphonic collage I ever recorded on it. T.S. Eliot reads an extract from his 1944 poem, which ponders on 'Time', past and present. Taking the spacing of the tone-arms as a basic delay device set out on a single copy of the mono LP, each output is panned across the stereo field which in turn 'amplifies' and illustrates the content of the prose. [Weblink]

  3. Skate [Random Play Record] [2001]

    Skate is an LP that is never the same twice. A random playing record that was hand cut on a home made gramophone lathe. Short scars of sound were cut centrically onto the record. This was then played in various ways on the Tri-Phonic Turntable to create a library of 66 sound events of different textures and 33 silent tracks... The results were played back on 3 random play CD's that were linked to sound reactive light bulbs, creating a living aleatory organism. When all the tracks hit silence, the gallery is thrown into darkness. [Weblink]

  4. Love Song [2003]

    'Love Song' began when I awoke with the idea fully formed in my mind while on honeymoon.

    Love was 'in the air' it seems. My new bigger family has seven women living in England ranging in age from 7 to 60. I asked each one of them to sing the word Love seven separate times at seven different pitches. These pitches were chosen randomly, and they held the note for as long they could. Each relative was recorded in a different space and as my mother-in-law was poorly, I recorded her via a loudspeaker phone.

    Using these 49 variations as building blocks I constructed a multi-layered composition. This was developed around the themes of their various tonalities, and also their personal relationships, as mothers meld into their daughters, who meld into into their cousins and so on. The result is a beautifully woven sound texture, and a portrait of my family. The word Love is sung a total of 220 times and begins with the voice of my new wife.


  5. Minneapolis 'Office Max' Messages [2003]

    Time-lapse sound portrait of an all American neighbourhood. A simple collage of the messages I found left on the display model of a mini digital Dictaphone I bought at Office Max in Minneapolis. Being able to handle the recorder without supervision led to a series of messages that create a stereotyped portrait of the local community. The piece concludes with a short recording I made of the car radio as I tested it outside in the carpark. Truly 'Found Sound'. [Weblink]


    Janek was born in England to Polish and Canadian parents in 1970. While studying architecture at the Royal College of Art [RCA annual prize], he recorded the fragmented noises of a sound activated dictaphone travelling overnight through the Post Office. That work, titled 'Recorded Delivery' [1995] was made for the 'Self Storage' exhibition [Time Out critics choice] with one time postman Brian Eno and Artangel. Since then the multiple aspects of sound became his focus, resulting in many releases, installations, soundtracks for exhibitions, and concerts using his self built/invented record players with manipulated found sound collage. The 'Tri-phonic Turntable' [1997] is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the 'World's Most Versatile Record Player'. He has performed, lectured and exhibited widely throughout Europe [Sonar, Tate Modern, ICA], USA/Canada, [The Walker, XI, Mutek, Princeton], Japan, and Australia [Sydney Opera House]. In 2007 he was Nominated for a British Composer of the Year Award.

    The context of each idea is central to its development and resolution. His concerts and installations explore the spatial and architectural aspect that sound can evoke and the twisting of technology. Hybrid analogue and digital techniques are used to manipulate field recordings with live modified vinyl and found sound to create evocative and involving environments. His CD 'Above Buildings' [2000] was released on Fat Cat to considerable praise, [The Guardian CD of the week]. He plays in duos with Philip Jeck (Songs for Europe CD), Robert Hampson (Comae CD), and Stephan Mathieu (Hidden Name CD). Janek runs his own label [audiOh!Recordings] and web site [] as well as releasing work with Asphodel, Sub Rosa, Hot Air, Sirr, Rhiz, [K-RAA-K]3, Alluvial, DSP, Diskono, BiP_HOp, Cronica, LINE, ::Room40::, Fat Cat, and Staalplaat. He currently works as a full time sound artist/sound designer/musician/visiting lecturer and composer from the audiOh! Room in London.



    Further projects: Extended Play, Vacant Space, Two by Two by Too Many by Too Much can be found in Janek Schaefer in UbuWeb Film