Janek Schaefer | Skate/Rink
Staalplaat/audiOh! | LP + 3
That Schaefer's place is assured in the pantheon of turntablists is unquestioned. His experiments with vinyl and the record player itself not only challenge our perceptions of the possibilities of vinyl and its various uses, but have earned him a place in The Guinness Book of Records (under 'The World's Most Versatile Record Player' for his three-armed Tri-Phonic turntable).
His latest, deluxe release 'Skate/Rink' only serves to further underline his creativity and his unwillingness to be forced to comply with the unrelenting spiral that is the record groove. 'Skate' is a number of things: sonic artefact; work of art - a delicious slab of 220g, heavy-duty vinyl; and, as if this wasn't enough, a means for generating an infinite set of musical possibilities.
Created using a modified lathe which - unable to cut spirals - cuts only very short scars of textural sound, 'Skate' is the result of a 'fragmented' cutting technique Schaefer developed to cut a concentric collage of individual short 'sound scars' onto the master. 'Rink', an accompanying 3" CD, features a composition by Schaefer utilising source material collected from the LP and 'Skate' installation (for those unfortunate enough not to own a turntable).
Think of Oval's early experiments with scratched and damaged CDs and imagine you had their original CDs to experiment with and explore. 'Skate' skips and bounces along, the needle finding its own, random, place in an open-ended composition. Torn fragments of melody are wrenched from the vinyl's surface, which holds the needle momentarily before the groove trails off and the needle jumps, forced to negotiate a new trajectory.
The result is a sound generator of simple, yet extraordinary, complexity. An audio equivalent to the infinite ocean of Jorge Luis Borges' 'Book of Sand'. Or, put more prosaically, great value for money.