Somnambule - Writing About Music

Triosk meets Jan Jelinek ~ ‘1+3+1’

Jelinek is an electronica artist who has engaged in an increasingly active dialogue with the musical and atmospheric possibilities of jazz. This relationship began with ‘Loop-Finding Jazz Records’ which reconfigured tiny, atomised samples of classic Prestige recordings into densely layered electronica. Its successor ‘Improvisations And Edits Tokyo’ allowed acoustic elements such as mournful trumpet to float above Jelinek’s ambient forms. ‘1+3+1’ is the result of a collaboration with Australian piano jazz trio Triosk and sees Jelinek achieve an engaging balance between live instrumentation and electronic processing.

Double bass notes rise out of swirling fogs, reflective piano chords beckon as if from a jazzclub to passers-by, cymbals momentarily suggest the sound of distant trains. Jelinek subverts Triosk’s forward motion and reroutes it into loops, stutters and switchbacks causing a sense of dislocation that is more often the preserve of dub than of jazz. At other times loops create grooves that wouldn’t be out of place in dance music. Throughout, a signature gauze of crackle and hiss evokes both the accrual of time heard on old 78 recordings and the digital dysfunction of contemporary glitch electronica.

This music is a fascinating exploration of the shadowground between acoustic jazz and studio processing. It picks up a particular dialogue about improvised performance and postproduction initiated in the 1970s by Teo Macero and Miles Davis. The conversation is more tentative, the goals are different, but anyone with an ear for hybrid possibilities in jazz should listen to ‘1+3+1’.
Colin Buttimer
March 2004
Published by Jazzwise magazine