CD - 3 tracks - 50:17
Plus bonus 320kbps .mp3 download - 1 track - 27:26
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft
1. Aquaculture 18:00
2. Isolation/Measurement 12:11
3. Sense of Latent Power 20:04
**When you purchase this CD from the TouchShop you will receive as a free download: Jana Winderen - Live in Den Haag, recorded on 25th September 2009 at the TodaysArt 2009 festival. This performance was recorded straight to digital from the main desk. In order to obtain your free download, click "Return to Touch" at end of PayPal process, and you will be given a download link**
Armed with four 8011 DPA hydrophones, DPA 4060 omni mics, a Telinga parabolic reflector mic and and a Sound Devices 744T digital hard disk recorder, Jana Winderen studies and records wild places which have a particular importance in our understanding of the complexity and fragility of marine ecosystems.
The recordings were made on field trips to the Barents Sea (north of Norway and Russia), Greenland and Norway, deep in crevasses of glaciers, in fjords and in the open ocean. These elements are then edited and layered into a powerful descriptive soundscape. The open spaces of Greenland, northern winds, ravens and dogs in an icy landscape provide the setting for these haunting but dynamic pieces. Sounds of crustaceans, fish such as cod, haddock, herring and pollock recorded as they are hunting, calling for a mate or orientating themselves in their environment, are all included in the mix. The result is a powerful, mesmeric journey into the unseen audio world of the frozen north.
"I like the immateriality of a sound work and the openness it can have for both associative and direct experience and sensory perception. I have been occupied with finding sounds from unseen sources of sound, like blind field recordings. Over the last three years I have collected recordings made by hydrophones, from rivers, shores and the ocean, and more recently also from glaciers in Greenland, Iceland and Norway. In the depths of the oceans there are invisible but audible soundscapes, about which we are largely ignorant, even if the oceans cover 70% of our planet. I am also experimenting with different types of microphones to collect sounds which are not obviously recognisable, but give room for broader, more imaginative readings. I use these sounds as source material for composition in a live environment or to create installations, currently also for film, radio, CD and vinyl productions."
Jana Winderen is an artist educated in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College in London, and with a background in mathematics, chemistry and fish ecology from the University in Oslo, Norway. She has since 1993 worked as an artist, curator and producer. She currently lives and works in Oslo, Norway. Her most recent sound works include "Evaporation" (2009) at TodaysArt festival in The Hague, Netherlands, "Sub Pelagic Voices"(2009) for ISCM World New Music Days, Sweden, “Colonisers of the undergrowth” at Botanic Sounds in Göteborg Botanic Gardens; “North Atlantic Drift” (2009) for JunKroom in Kyoto, Japan, based on hydrophone recordings in the Barents Sea; “freq_out 7” curated by CM von Hausswollf at the Happy New Ears festival in Belgium (2008); "Submerge" (2008) for Färgfabriken Norr, Sweden and the 6 channel sound installation "+4°C - from Folgefonna to the North Sea" (2007) at Sleppet during the centenary Greig07 in Norway.
She recently released the CD “Heated: Live in Japan” (2009) on Touch (UK), the audio cassette “The Noisiest Guys on the Planet” (2009) on Ash International (UK), the USB stick, "Ants", the digital download "Submerged" (2009) on Touch and the 7 inch vinyl “Surface Runoff” (2008) on Autofact (USA). Future projects includes an audio commission for the AV festival and the Environmental Agency in Newcastle (UK) working with the river Coquet in Northumberland, the audio piece "The Land Between" for 'The Morning Line', Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Istanbul 2010. Jana also works on a collaborating with 'Mobile Homes' for the performance 'Passing Place' in Norway and she is currently working on a commission for a permanent sound installation at the Knut Hamsun Centre in Hamarøy, Norway. Recently Jana's underwater recording was played on BBC Radio 3's "Late Junction", and BBC Radio 4 followed Jana on her recording trip in the Barents Sea for the radio series “World on the Move”. Jana has exhibited and performed her work in Canada, Japan, USA, Spain, China, Thailand, France, Hungary, Italy, Denmark, England, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Belgium and Sweden.
CD "Heated: Live in Japan" (2009) on Touch (UK), the audio cassette "The Noisiest Guys on the Planet" (2009) on Ash International (UK), the USB stick, "Ants", the digital download "Submerged" (2009), also on Touch, and the 7 inch vinyl "Surface Runoff" (2008) on Autofact (USA).
You can also hear her work on Touch Radio - http://www.touchradio.org.uk
“Energy Field” is the latest from Jana Winderen, a gatherer of field recordings hailing from Norway. While the emphasis of the album is on aquatic life and water in general, Winderen manages to fashion her recordings into loose musical narratives, which all makes sense as she has a background in both fish ecology and fine arts. Utilizing sounds culled from the Barents Sea, Greenland, and Norway, Winderen crafts a beautiful, melancholy, and engrossing listening experience that is deeply evocative of its marine sources.
Many of elements peppering the three long tracks of “Energy Field” are readily identifiable (bird calls, thunder, wind, rain, splashing water), but others that are not quite as clear (drones, creaks, rumbles, echoes, etc). Still, it is this mix of familiar and mysterious that makes this album work so well. Obviously, the sounds of water and the sea are recognizable to most people, but Winderen manages to expand the listener’s perceptions as to just what sounds exist in these contexts with some of the odder inclusions. Delving beneath the surface of the water, she manages to pick up the sounds of crustaceans and fish as they try to hunt or call to attract a mate. Given the general perception that the underwater world is a place of silence and calm, these representations of aquatic life are especially interesting to contemplate as the album unfolds.
Still, Winderen doesn’t draw back the curtain on her craft entirely (the notes in the CD reveal where she recorded, but not precisely what goes into each track, though the press release does offer a few clues). Ultimately, the listener is left to figure out just what is being heard with little explanation, which allows for the mind to wander and construct its own scenery. Still, even when things are at their most obscure, there is an overwhelming sense of experiencing a gray day near the water, owing largely to Winderen’s source material, but also to her amazing ability to assemble found sounds into cohesive, representational pieces. [Matt Blackall]
Paralleling what the Australian sound artist Tarab achieves through his magnificent albums, Jana Winderen collects an impressive array of field recordings and edits them into her compositions without much (if anything) in the way of digital processing. For Energy Field, Winderen traveled to the barren land-and-seascapes of Greenland, Norway, and the Barents Sea, using high-end parabolic microphones for the above ground recordings and hydrophones for the seaborne sounds, capturing creaks from massive glaciers, the slippery resonance of ice crevasses, the sounds of crustaceans (remember her cassette for the Tapeworm label, The Noisiest Guys On The Planet? - actually it was for Ash International - ed.), the chatter of summertime birds, and huge passages of windswept vibration that sound more like one of BJ Nilsen's swarms of drone than anything produced via natural means. Winderen presents three extended pieces that steadily undulate and crest, much like the patterns of the ocean when viewed from a considerable distance, and have been pocked with various tactile recordings of ice cracking, water dripping, the strange bellows from mating fish, and whatnot. Hypnotic, beautiful, and wholly compelling, Winderen's Energy Field is another exemplary entry in the Touch catalog, and totally up our alley here at AQ.
This outstanding new Touch release is an album comprised of documents made by sound recordist Jana Winderen over a number of field trips to the Barents Sea, Greenland and Norway. Winderen's focus takes in above-ground sounds of extreme Northern weather systems and the wildlife that inhabits such surroundings, but perhaps more significantly and insightfully, the Oslo-based artist makes probing recordings of sub-aqua environments/habitats using hydrophones. Winderen delves deeply into glaciers, fjords and the open ocean with her equipment, capturing incredible unseen worlds populated by baffling and wholly alien sounds. You'll seldom have any idea as to what might be making some of these amazing noises, but among them are: "Sounds of crustaceans, fish such as cod, haddock, herring and pollock recorded as they are hunting, calling for a mate or orientating themselves in their environment". The disc is divided into three lengthy pieces, each one assembled from a variety of different recordings, carefully layered and edited so as to give a flowing, seamless account of the various locales Winderen explored on her field trips. In terms of recording fidelity and all-round immersive brilliance, Energy Field is right up there alongside Chris Watson's greatest works - it really is that good. Anyone with an affection for the art of sound recording will instantly adore this release; it's an album that offers a consistently surprising and illuminating depiction of regions in our natural world that would otherwise be inaccessible to us.
Paralleling what the Australian sound artist Tarab achieves through his magnificent albums, Jana Winderen collects an impressive array of field recordings and edits them into her compositions without much (if anything) in the way of digital processing. For Energy Field, Winderen traveled to the barren land-and-seascapes of Greenland, Norway, and the Barents Sea, using high-end parabolic microphones for the above ground recordings and hydrophones for the seaborne sounds, capturing creaks from massive glaciers, the slippery resonance of ice crevasses, the sounds of crustaceans (remember her cassette for the Tapeworm label, The Noisiest Guys On The Planet?), [no it wasn't, it was on Ash International - ed.] the chatter of summertime birds, and huge passages of windswept vibration that sound more like one of BJ Nilsen's swarms of drone than anything produced via natural means. Winderen presents three extended pieces that steadily undulate and crest, much like the patterns of the ocean when viewed from a considerable distance, and have been pocked with various tactile recordings of ice cracking, water dripping, the strange bellows from mating fish, and whatnot. Hypnotic, beautiful, and wholly compelling, Winderen's Energy Field is another exemplary entry in the Touch catalog, and totally up our alley here at AQ.
This is my second encounter with the work of Jana Winderen, following 'Heated: Live In Japan' (see Vital Weekly 669), where she created a piece of music with the use of various field recordings. A very good piece of music, but nothing that leaped out of what we already heard by others in the same field (sorry of that bad line), like BJ Nilsen or Chris Watson, both of whom are also on Touch actually. Here she presents a new work made in Barents Sea (which can be found north of Norway and Russia), Greenland and Norway, in cold sea, glaciers. Apparently we are supposed to hear fish (cod, haddock, herring, pollock) hunting, calling for a mate or just trying to find their way. I am not sure, and bound to think its not, but it seems that Winderen has added some electronic processing to the sounds she recorded. Or maybe its just the drone of a trawler also picked up with her hydrophones. Again I must say this is a beautiful work, which if you don't know much about the fact that it is recorded below sea level, most of the times, could pass on as a high and mighty work of drone music. Like so many genres discussed in Vital Weekly (ambient, noise, field recordings), its hard to stand out with a particular work. Jana Winderen delivers once again a great work, which can easily meet up with the best in her field. No wonder she is on a high quality label like Touch. [FdW]
“I can live at sea! The sea forgives all! Unlike those mean old mountains. I hate them so much”. I wonder how many albums on Touch Homer Simpson had heard before he came to that ever-so-slightly life-changing conclusion. Very few, I suspect. A number of releases on Touch have had maritime themes, including BJ Nilsen’s The Short Night and Fennesz’s The Black Sea, although most celebrated may be the field recordings (if you can call under the sea a “field”) of Chris Watson. These records are fascinating explorations of the mysteries of the ocean, but leave you with a distinctly unsettled feeling, unsure about what exactly you’ve just heard, but in no doubt about the sea’s awesome dark power. To this collection of releases we can now add Jana Winderen’s Energy Field.
Jana Winderen possesses an interesting CV which lends her perfectly to this piece of work. An artist with a background in fish ecology (as well as maths and chemistry) who has been responsible for a number of light and sound-based installations on nautical subjects, Winderen appears to have an incredible understanding of how to capture and present the unknowable, the world beneath the ocean’s surface. So strange is this place that if you didn’t know anything about how this was recorded (in the seas around Norway, Russia and Greenland) you’d struggle to place the sounds. In fact, it isn’t easy even if you DO know. “Aquaculture” has a booming pulse, a deep lowing which sounds almost choral. Is it a distant boat? A huge whale? What about that horrifying roar: is it thunder or a piece of the ice shelf collapsing into the sea? The extraordinary creaks of “Isolation/Measurement”: are they old boat doors, or dolphin chatter? “Sense Of Latent Power” is full of sparks and clicks which sound almost like a fire ripping through dry wood at first, but which might be more explicable as a melting glacier. These sounds are fascinating in themselves, but they are layered up to powerful and almost musical effect, deep drones and high frequency pulsations interspersed with this narrative of unfathomable events, building to a rather frightening climax. Energy Field is an excellent record which is full of dark secrets, and in which occasional complete immersion is highly recommended. I’m not sure I’d want to live there though, Homer.
Armchair Dancefloor (UK):
Fans of Chris Watson's field recordings should be very excited by Jana Winderen's excellent new album, recorded in the Barents Sea, Greenland and her native Norway. Blending the sounds picked up by her hydrophones, omni mics and parabolic reflector mic (not a lot gets past that kind of array) with electronic augmentation in post-production, Winderen's compositions begin with deceptive simplicity before building into dramatic, detailed and highly controlled works.
From the cawing of birds on 'Aquaculture' to the icy creaks and squeals, hissing breachings and subaquatic reverberations of 'Isolation/Measurement', you're constantly reminded that natural maritime sounds are the instruments with which Winderen creates music, as opposed to her work being a straightforward documenting. That's not remarkable in itself, but the skill with which she forms her material throughout Energy Field, and most strikingly on closing track 'Sense of Latent Power', most certainly is. [Chris Power]
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