t is not only the animals that are poor in the world, but us—for we think them poor. When Jan Jelinek recycles and recontextualises the phrase La Nouvelle Pauvreté, he does so with the intent of referencing the '80s Belgian anti-fashion movement, sampling this prudish reductionism to the excesses of the '80s in an attempt to question the current state of electronic music—a state plagued, according to Jelinek's press release, by the overabundance of both overprocessed sound and overly-conceptual albums. Electronic music has entered an age of poverty. We are close to the era of progressive electronica. This is one side of La Nouvelle Pauvreté, the obvious side. But there is another side to the record.
Electronic music has suffered incommensurable losses. And when Jan Jelinek lays bare his samples, of Sun Ra, Stevie Wonder, Bryan Ferry, and Throbbing Gristle, he uncovers the buried past, scraping dirt from the graves of entombed rhythm. When Jan Jelinek sings, his voice alone on a record of impoverished beats, he unveils not his true impoverished essence but the absolute nature of sampled electronic music—thieved anarchy, or, anarchic thieving. A necessary theft. But it's always grave-robbing.
When Philip Sherburne interviewed Thomas Brinkmann for XLR8R he ended the interview with a few reflections and questions on the appropriation of black music by white people. A delicate subject of creative mourning.
Theft is necessary. All creation begins with theft. Theft is not only either dishonest or honest. It bleeds the rhythm of property. We either recognize the debt and the heritage we have pulled onto our tired bodies, or shun this burden and live with the purest ignorance of ghosts. Jan Jelinek embraces the revenant and the hauntings infuse his sober sampledelia. His is an honest theft. A beautiful theft. A work of anarchy. Scratch this phrase: The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.
From the deep, two memories. James Stinson, of UR's aqua-electro crew Drexicya, died September 3rd, 2002. Mary Hansen of Stereolab, died December 9th, 2002. Two deaths pocket the sonography of electronic music. Their absence leaves a pit of soundlessness. Drexicya's Seven Storms are threatened, and Mary Hansen's voice soars no longer.
Which is why—
We must steal. And Jan Jelinek must lift and click these rhythms of jazz and dub, loop-finding-jazz-records enraptured in cycles of sonicity, clapping over the resounding rawness of untreated textures in their honest sonic simplicity.
Dedicated to Mary Hansen & James Stinson.
'Negative evolution cycle completed. Now in sonic infinitum mode.' - UR
Reviewed by: tobias c. van Veen
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01