Tone 45.4 – Jana Winderen “Debris”

12″ White Label vinyl + 320 kbps MP3 download of the tracks
Cut by Jason @ Transition

Track listing:

Side A: Scuttling Around in the Shallows 11:25
Side B: Drying Out in the Sun 16:01

The fourth in the series of limited edition vinyl in the Tone 45 series. 100 copies only are available in the TouchShop…

Scuttling Around in the Shallows is from the quadrophonic installation of the same name showed at Galerie B-312, Montreal, Canada 8th January – 5th February 2011.

Drying Out in the Sun is from a four-speaker outdoor public installation at “Starfield Simulation #36”, Scaniaparken in Malmö, Sweden, 4th September – 2nd October 2011.


Boomkat (UK):

*Limited edition white label* Sound artist Jana Winderen follows the icy, Nordic themes of Biosphere, BJ Nilsen and The Sight Below on Touch’s Tone 45 white label series with two recordings made for installations. Regarded within the same calibre as field recording notables Chris Watson or Francisco Lopez, Jana “…specializes in recordings where the source is hidden and mysterious”, capturing vividly evocative sounds from nature and augmenting them until they resemble something scarier, more intriguing and otherworldly than perhaps nature intended. The A-side ‘Scuttling Around in the Shallows’ is from the quadrophonic installation of the same name showed at Galerie B-312, Montreal, Canada 8th January – 5th February 2011. Myriad watery textures crash, prickle, wash and trickle across the stereo field with dynamic range and intensities, seemingly changing states before your ears to conclude with more nocturnal sounds. The longer B-side ‘Drying Out in The Sun’ is from a four-speaker outdoor public installation at “Starfield Simulation #36”, Scaniaparken in Malmö, Sweden, 4th September – 2nd October 2011. This piece reminds us strongly of works by Thomas Köner and Jim Haynes, juxtaposing bleak, perilous subaquatic ambient pressure with crystallising surface textures. This is probably our favourite in the series so far.

Forced Exposure (USA):

Field recordists Douglas Quin and Cheryl Leonard have gone to great lengths to capture their Arctic and Antarctic field recordings, spending countless frigid days with frozen fingers trying to hold tightly to hydrophones dangling amidst the ice floes and slushy waters. It’s no wonder those two present their work in such an unadulterated fashion when the work came at such cost and at such peril. But Jana Winderen is far more creative in her approach to field recordings, only too happy to transform a watery burble she captured in some obscure fjord in her native Norway [Wrong! – ed.] into a thickened isolationist dronescape dappled with elemental textures, creating something sonorously as frightening, cold, or desolate as the sound sources would imply. As with the work of BJ Nilsen or Jonathan Coleclough, none of Winderen’s field recordings are too precious to be manipulated, compacted, augmented, or simply fucked with [None are, so this is completely wrong – ed.]. The two sides of Debris were both extracted from a couple of her sound installations, the longer of which is entitled “Drying Out In The Sun”, based on recordings made at / near / beneath the surface of the ocean, which plunge into the nether regions of the deep-sea trenches and alluvial plains, amassed into pressurized low-frequency drones. “Scuttling Around The Shallows” returns to her fascination with shrimp which she first displayed on her Tapeworm cassette The Noisiest Guys On The Planet, with erratic snaps, clicks, and crunches made by those small crustaceans amidst deep-ocean ambience. The fourth in Touch’s ongoing ‘white label’ series of super limited vinyl productions.

Norman Records (UK):

There’s so much going on with Jana’s sonic research and field recording manipulation that it is impossible to truly convey with words. This Oslo-dwelling artist’s favoured noises are of the watery variety and she utilises some pretty powerful equipment to record, in minute detail, the otherworldly sounds of crashing waves and various sub-aquatic ephemera. I took a CD (Energy Field) home on our Anthony’s recommendation and it really did involve and move me in extraordinary ways. Some of the sounds on this here vinyl excursion sound like dolphin sonar mingled with deep, eerie ambient dronescapes, cascading waterfalls recorded in hidden chasms and the crowing of sea birds up above. What a beautiful unnerving organic cacophony this is, the rugged brutality of the oceans and uncharted icy crevices are captured in blistering fashion here, the enhanced low-end capabilities of the 12” vinyl format further exposing the sheer terrifying natural wonder of it all. Heartily recommended for fans of pure dark ambience and Chris Watson’s absorbing harnessing of the sound of nature.

A Closer Listen (USA):

Oslo-based sound artist Jana Winderen made her first splash on the international recording scene with the live album Heated, followed rapidly by Energy Field and the decapod-directed The Noisiest Guys on the Planet. Winderen specializes in micro-music, which is an extension of micro-sound: her always-crisp field recordings are shaped to form the natural world’s equivalent of minor symphonies. The two performances on Debris, eleven and sixteen minutes in length, originated as four-channel installations in Canada and Sweden. The vinyl crackle of the LP blends well with the drips, pops and waves of the source material, which echo like a needle searching for sound in an empty groove. Much of the pleasure of listening derives from the curiosity of sound identification: frog, dock, warble, and perhaps even Winderen’s go-to friend, the brine shrimp. Yet these recordings also venture outside of the aqua into the fern: the green world and the blue, intermingled. [Richard Allen]

The Field Reporter:

I had the opportunity to attend the conference that Jana Winderen gave at the ‘In the field symposium’ in London a few days ago and found her presentation rather technical and taxonomical which is surprising since her compositions present such a fictional and narrative character full of mystery and emotional content, far more sublime and way more poetic than straight-up bioacoustic works. ’Debris’ -her more recent release- was published on 2012 on vinyl and features two pieces ‘Scuttling around in the shallows’ (A-side) and ‘Drying out in the sun’ (B-side).

Jana Winderen is well known for using hydrophones in her recordings and this seems to give to her work a great sense of texture, and ‘Debris’ is a great example of that: here the listener can feel immersed on a tactile and material environmental experience where the small details and background grave sonorities develop a very effective vertical narrative based on layers and depth.

The horizontal timeline narrative in ’Debris’ is strongly engaging and that is probably because it sounds very natural and organic but also reveals an intentionality behind it. To me ‘Debris’ works like some sort of cinematographic piece where the artist explores different sounds in a quest that seems more emotional and narrative than conceptual. We can hear recognizable sounds such as voices, bells and birds, that when combined with other sounds -whose causality is not so clear- build altogether a very effective composition.

In this regard I believe that the intention and purpose of the artist should not be completely visible mostly when his work is influenced by his experience with a natural environment which seems to be the case here. I believe that the artist should serve as a medium between his experience with a certain environment in a certain moment and the experience of the listener with the work; the bigger effort the artist puts on exploring the formal, intellectual and emotional aspects that built his experience, the less he will have to re-create and re-present it since his explored original experience will more or less fluently and naturally manifest itself through the artistic creation. The intentionality of the artist should mimic the lack of ‘artistic’ intention behind the events created by the forces of nature where the incidental, the randomness and the adrift play a very important role.
On ‘Debris’ the overall mood is somber and gloomy and in this regard I believe that Jana Winderen’s experience with the vastness and ruthlessness of nature left an obscure imprint in her artistic creation. Likewise the places that she explores often seem to have a particular extreme character in terms of the climate conditions which explains even further the dark mood present on most of her works and on ‘Debris’ in particular.

‘Debris’ is a fantastic release that immerses the listener in an emotional experience of deep and somber nature where every occurring event, where every layer of sound adds to a very powerful narrative structure that will leave him -the listener- equally astonished and pleased. [David Veléz]