Berliner Jan Jelinek is one artist unashamed of revealing his music's source, most obviously on his influential 'Loop Finding Jazz Records' album, where tiny fragments from sixties Blue Note LPs were looped into increasingly complex yet restrained arrangements. A similar approach dictated the glitch techno he produced as Farben, but it's not the dancefloor that currently excites him. 'Tierbeobachtungen', his latest for ~scape, is his follow up on 'Kosmischer Pitch', on which he treated Krautrock in much the same way as LPFJ did jazz. Here, there is less direct concept and more spontaneity: recorded in transit before moving to a new studio, it thus offers a kind of farewell to an old and familiar system and, we can hope, the beginning of something new.
Translating as 'Animal Observations', 'Tierbeobachtungen' is all exposed, lazily circling loops. Nothing so trite as direct organic references are made - throughout we're in familiar Jelinek territory: warm, hazy pads drift among conflicting higher and lower waves of sound, all governed by a rarely stated 4/4 pulse. There's little of his earlier glitch, rather a finite number of synthetic layers carefully, and pleasantly, combined. Krautrock traces make appearances, but they're further abstracted, as do snippets of guitar and vibraphone. 'A Concert for Television' twirls a wind-chime back and forth around a collection of varied tones, sounding like obsolete warning signals and ghostly automated doors. 'Happening Tone' spins a mildly squealing feedback trail around scattered high pitched waves and subdued rhythmic shudders, all grainy and drained. 'Palmen Aus Leder' opens to a gentle rainstorm before a simple guitar figure spins by, concluding with everything slowly scattering away like reluctant guests leaving a party.
There's also a sense of confused retro-futurism, as Subotnik-like blips and risset-tones dance between Jelinek's standard bleached hues. As a whole, 'Tierbeobachtungen' isn't nostalgic for a forgotten utopia but, oddly, looks both backward and forward, perhaps evoking an abandoned space station left to endlessly repeat its lonely, now useless functions. Initially this might seem short on surprises, but its very subtlety makes this such a welcoming, fulfilling album.