Jan St. Werner

Miscontinuum Album (Fiepblatter Catalogue #3)

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The third volume in a series cataloging Jan St. Werner's more experimental output, Miscontinuum Album is a more ambitious and fleshed-out work than the other Fiepblatter releases. However, it's just as challenging in its own way: previously performed as an opera and a radio play, it uses its 85-minute scope to explore the gaps and loops in how we make memories and perceive time. Its lofty goals feel all the more cerebral compared to the previous album with which St. Werner was involved, the mischievous Mouse on Mars commemorative collection 21 Again. Some of this playfulness surfaces in the way that St. Werner juxtaposes slow-motion and lightning-fast in Miscontinuum Album's fractured yet hypnotic tracks. The frantic percolation of "Molono" puts the focus on each fleeting moment, while "Cervo"'s spacious drones seem to erase time completely. Considering these stark contrasts, it's no surprise that drone master Dylan Carlson is one of St. Werner's collaborators, along with Oval's Markus Popp. Also of note is vocalist Kathy Alberici, whose spectral soprano floats throughout the album, suggesting something beyond any human concept of time on the aptly named invocation "Demonos," the Philip Glass-like "Schwazade," and the cosmic 25-minute finale "Amazonas." Miscontinuum Album's spoken word interludes give St. Werner's concepts more form without pinning them down too much, with musings like "intrinsic ticking...I am a grandfather clock" commingling natural and unnatural rhythms of time and time-keeping. As with the other Fiepblatter releases, Miscontinuum Album may not be for more casual fans of St. Werner's work, but those willing to dive into the sounds and ideas he leaves on the fringes of his more widely released music should enjoy this journey.

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