Jana Winderen - Heated: Live in Japan

Limited Edition CD - 2 tracks - 27:54

CD in full colour wallet
Artwork & Photography by Jon Wozencroft

Track Listing

1. Tetsuro Yasunaga 1:25
2. Jana Winderen 26:29

Live performance at Super Deluxe, Tokyo, 24th October 2008. Source material recorded with 2 x 8011 DPA hydrophones, 2 x DolphinEAR/PRO hydrophones and 2 x 4060 DPA microphones on a Sound Devices 744T recorder in Greenland, Iceland and Norway.

Following Tetsuro Yasunaga's spoken word introduction, here unfolds Jana Winderen's blistering live set from her recent trip to Japan as part of 'Norwegian Music Today'. Her first CD, 'Heated' follows her only other release to date, a 7" vinyl limited edition, "Surface Runoff", on Autofact [USA, 2008]. Improvising from recordings taken on field research trips, she forces the power of the hidden to the surface, making the unheard audible. Its a strange world down there; a world of which we know little, replete with its own instrumentation and orchestras. Tapping into these, Jana's vision encourages us to explore the fertility of the oceans...

About the artist...

Jana Winderen researches the hidden depths of the sea with the latest technology; her work reveals the complexity and strangeness of the unseen world beneath. The audio topography of the oceans and the depth of glacier crevasses are brought to the surface. She is occupied with finding sound from its hidden source, like blind field recording. Her most recent sound works include "Submerge" (2008), for Färgfabriken Norr in Sweden, based on hydrophone recordings in the local lake, "freq_out 7" curated by CM von Hausswollf at the Happy New Ears festival in Belgium (2008), "Rainbow Audio Transformation" (2008) at Extra City in Antwerp, Belgium and the 6 channel sound installation "+4°C - from Folgefonna to the North Sea" (2007) at "Sleppet" during the centenary of Edvard Greig, "Greig07" in Norway. Future projects includes a studio album, released through Touch in 2009, based on hydrophone recordings from the Icefjord Kangia and Disco Bay by Ilulissat in Greenland, and an installation work "Voices from the Deep" in collaboration with Chris Watson. Recently BBC Radio 4 followed Jana on her recording trip to the Barents Sea for the radio series "World on the Move" [BBC, prod. Sarah Blunt, 2008].

You can hear Jana Winderen's contributions to Touch Radio at http://www.touchradio.org.uk

She is a member of Spire, freq_out and Field.

Reviews:

Music blog (web):

There's been a trend in recent years to sentimentalize nature and smooth out her rough edges to make her into something people can use as a relaxation tool. Walk into even drug stores these days and you're liable to find some sort of CD listening booth advertising titles offering you relief from stress through the soothing sounds of the natural world. You can buy anything from the sounds of a forest coming awake in the morning to the restful sounds of a gentle tide breaking on the beach.

Those relaxation recordings have as little to do with the natural world as a sitcom has to do with the human world. Just like real people don't act anything like what we see on the television, nature isn't the collection of soothing sounds that they make her out to be. We only need to listen to the reality of the element, water, they make the most use of for these CDs to understand how far removed from reality they really are. Thankfully, there now exist people fascinated by the real sounds of nature who are willing to go to great lengths to capture them on tape and create recordings that remind us that this force can create a tsunami as easily as a gentle breeze on a summer's day.

Norwegian sound artist Jana Winderen creates soundscapes from recordings that she has made with specially designed microphones of rivers in China, far beneath the surface of the North Sea, and crevices that run into the hearts of icebergs. Touch Music has now released her first full length solo CD, Heated, a record of a performance she gave in October 2008 in Tokyo. According to the credits on the disc the source material used for this show was gathered with various types of hydrophones and microphones in Greenland, Iceland, and Norway. Believe me when I tell you, listening to this disc is unlike anything you're likely to have experienced ever before.

For those of you expecting to hear something along the lines of the delicate sounds of raindrops plopping onto leafs, you'll be sorely disappointed. This is a world of mysterious groans, squeaks, and loud unearthly growls, as Winderen's microphones pull sounds from depths beneath the ice pack in the frozen north. For twenty-six plus minutes she plays back sounds that are so alien to our ears that they could be from another planet. Of course when you think about it they are, for when was the last time you went for a walk either inside a glacier or in the depths of the North Sea?

After, what is to a non Japanese speaking audience a meaningless introduction by Tetsuro Yasunaga, Winderen's recordings begin and we are immediately plunged into a world populated by noises that few of us could have ever imagined existed. The initial reaction is to try and find your bearings by searching for some sort of identifiable sound that you can hold onto – something we can use to get our bearings with. The trouble is that each time we might think something sounds familiar, the lapping of waves for instance, it changes and we are left floating without any idea of where we are or which way we are pointed.

You really have two options when listening to this type of creation: keep trying to latch onto something that will give you an idea as to what it is you're listening to or surrender to the experience of being immersed in the unfamiliar. While the mind will occasionally, almost involuntarily, offer an image to go with something it hears based on previous knowledge, these pictures are as misleading as they are wrong. There's no way that squeaking noise could be the sound of a creaking floorboard or a door's hinges in desperate need of oiling no matter how hard your brain tries to convince you otherwise.

It's no wonder though that you might think that, for what we are hearing evokes the same sort of reactions as those you would have wandering in any place where you feel in constant danger. I don't think it's because the noises are what you'd call threatening, but it's just a natural reaction to hearing the unfamiliar. It's a lot like being early man seated in front of caves as dark falls listening to the sounds that come alive in the night and not knowing which could spell death or which is harmless. Deprived of our ability to see, and not recognizing anything of what we hear, panic on an instinctual level is understandable.

However, if you can overcome any panic you might experience, and accept that nothing you hear is necessarily what you think it is you can begin to appreciate what you're listening to. First of all you'll notice it's not just a randomly amassed collection of sounds as Winderen seems to have established some sort of arrangement. If I were to guess, and I've nothing to base this assumption on, it feels like we are being taken on a journey from the surface to the depths and back again. When you descend under the sea pressure increases as the density of the water builds and over the course of the performance the density of the sound gradually increases until it reaches a peak followed by a decrease that would indicate a return to shallower waters.

Of course I've no way of knowing if that was her intent, or whether I was just supposing something in an attempt to make the alien recognizable. What I am sure of is that I've never experienced anything like the journey Winderen takes us on in Heated before. While I've always understood on an intellectual level that nature is random and wild, this recording allows you to experience that on an emotional level. Like a wild thunder storm, this is beautiful and frightening at the same time. Not the most pleasant or relaxing of experiences, but a very real one that reminds us how little we still know of the world around us. [Richard Marcus]

Boomkat (UK):

This live set, recorded at Tokyo's Super Deluxe venue in October of last year, is the first long-form release from field recordist Jana Winderen. The music here is assembled from various auditory documents gathered from research trips, all treated as improvisational material, and morphed into elaborate sound collages. It's very unusual to hear such meticulous and beautifully detailed environmental recordings developed into creative electroacoustic compositions - you'd normally only hear this kind of revelatory sound matter on a Chris Watson record, presented as naturalistically and as faithfully as possible, but Winderen is far less reverent of her material, shaping it into new sonic environments, rendered with an evocative sense of 'betweenness', as if straddling a divide between the realm of imaginary auditory topographies and more recognisable, tangible locations. Highly recommended.

White Line (UK):

Yet another artist who has escaped my radar is Jana Winderen, the latest arrival onto the Touch roster, and a worthy contender for their Tone series of works. Winderen assumes the mantle of a kind of sub-aquatic Chris Watson, deploying a pair of Dolphin EAR/PRO hydrophones, and 4060 DPA microphones to manifest a swirling, heady aquascape, sourced from beneath the oceans surrounding Norway, Greenland and Iceland. Touch’s unwritten, yet unrelenting fascination with presenting predominantly Scandinavian based artists of late is continued here with Winderen, whose work is now starting to appear in gallery installations and presentations around Europe. In slight contrast to Watson, Winderen’s work is part source recording, part electro-drone, touching on darkly ambient territory, yet with precisely wrought inclusions and organic inflections, adding gritty texture and pin-sharp points of interest to an otherwise murky and reverberant soundscape, that in the main conjurs up the feel of an icy ocean, occupied with various creaks and grindings, the sound of liquid oozing and dripping, beating at the shorelines, and the incessant rumbling of dissonant oceanic ebbs and flows. This is a soundscape that equally demands some kind of visual element, although for those with enough imagination, Heated provides enough sensory stimulus for us to imagine the conditions and emotions engendered at the source of the sounds, as the listener is placed firmly at the focal point of all of the sonic activity captured by the artist. Business as usual for Touch, with another fine release, and another fine artist. Highly recommended. [BGN]

blogcritics.org (USA):

... Believe me when I tell you, listening to this disc is unlike anything you're likely to have experienced ever before. For those of you expecting to hear something along the lines of the delicate sounds of raindrops plopping onto leafs, you'll be sorely disappointed. This is a world of mysterious groans, squeaks, and loud unearthly growls, as Winderen's microphones pull sounds from depths beneath the ice pack in the frozen north. For twenty-six plus minutes she plays back sounds that are so alien to our ears that they could be from another planet. Of course when you think about it they are, for when was the last time you went for a walk either inside a glacier or in the depths of the North Sea? ... After, what is to a non Japanese speaking audience a meaningless introduction by Tetsuro Yasunaga, Winderen's recordings begin and we are immediately plunged into a world populated by noises that few of us could have ever imagined existed. The initial reaction is to try and find your bearings by searching for some sort of identifiable sound that you can hold onto - something we can use to get our bearings with. The trouble is that each time we might think something sounds familiar, the lapping of waves for instance, it changes and we are left floating without any idea of where we are or which way we are pointed. ... I am sure of is that I've never experienced anything like the journey Winderen takes us on in Heated before. While I've always understood on an intellectual level that nature is random and wild, this recording allows you to experience that on an emotional level. Like a wild thunder storm, this is beautiful and frightening at the same time. Not the most pleasant or relaxing of experiences, but a very real one that reminds us how little we still know of the world around us.

Earlabs (Netherlands):

Jana Winderen is one of the new artists in the Touch stable, focussing on field and hydrophonic recordings. After a successful 7" release on Autofact we are now presented a mini album: Heated: Live in Japan. It doesn't happen very often that a new artist is added to the Touch stable without having any proper album out. So when I got this cd in from Jana Winderen it was quite a surprise to me to see that it is released by Touch. Of course I already had her 7" out on Autofact, which by the way is a really fine one, but still... Though, after some research it came clear to me that she has done many projects for installations, festivals and more already, including works with Chris Watson, which makes this all less strange. The connection lies there. Her first release on Touch is Heated: Live in Japan which was recorded October 24th in last year at Super Deluxe, Tokyo. Jana Winderen does research to hidden sounds from the depths of our oceans. For this she travels mainly to the Greenland, Iceland but she also records closer to home: Norway. For Heated she mixes and reworks these recordings to show us what a strange and unknown world it is below the water surface. Of course the reference of Chris Watson is not far from her work, but she seems to manipulate the recordings some more, giving everything her own twist. With my headphones on and my eyes closed it sounds as if you are really in the middle of this water. It is that my headphones aren't water resistant else I would probably listen to this while in the shower (sadly enough I have no bathtub). Not only do we hear recordings of water, but also the sounds of ships, the breaking of waves on the shore and the moving of glaciers seems to come back. Heated: Live in Japan is a lovely documentation of sound and shows another star in the field recording business. Later this year she will release a studio album. Let's see what this will bring us. For now I am really looking forward to it. A really deserved addition to the Touch stable. For impressions of the live of a field recorder I recommend taking a look at the website of Jana Winderen which shows some pictures of her fieldworks to the Nordic ice seas and glaciers. 9/10 [Sietse van Erve]

Brainwashed (US):

The two pieces on Heated: Live in Japan are named after their respective performers. The opening piece is a short spoken word piece by Japanese improv musician Tetsuro Yasunaga. Not speaking Japanese, this could be either poetry or simply the artist telling someone that they have parked in the wrong place and were blocking the delivery entrance to the venue. The main piece, “Jana Winderen” sees Winderen create a stunning composition from field recordings made in Greenland, Iceland and Norway. Unlike a lot of similar artists (recording in the same general geographic areas), the sounds Winderen has captured are busy and exciting: stones being rubbed together, unusual water noises and many unidentifiable but deeply textured sounds. She puts them all together in a way that is a delight to the ears and as a result Heated ends up being a fantastic disc. The only problem with it is that the total run time is only just over 25 minutes, I would be happy for it to last much, much longer.

Allmusic.com (US): Heated: Live in Japan was recorded at Super Deluxe in Tokyo on October 24, 2008, and released a mere three months later, in Touch's Tone series. This 26-minute EP, Jana Winderen's first CD release, was rushed out to say the least, probably as a teaser for her full-length Touch debut slated for later in 2009. The performance features her strange underwater field recordings: low rumbles that evoke fog horns captured at 20,000 leagues under the sea, the sound of water being displaced, and the crackling of glacier ice. The piece begins in the open with human interventions, the crashing of waves and approach of a storm, then dives deep into regions that are still little known to mankind; you resurface a few minutes later, still surrounded by an agitated sea and strong winds. Heated's strength relies on Winderen's talent at painting the forces of nature into disquieting and slightly menacing soundscapes. The whole thing is over too quickly and will have you yearning for more. The delicate manipulation of sound sources evokes Francisco López, while the sense of drama puts this album closer to the works of Biosphere and Hazard (BJNilsen). [François Couture]



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Jana Winderen - Heated: Live in Japan


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Track 1:  Heated pt 1



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