Jan St Werner: Transcendental Animal Numbers – album review

Jan St Werner – Transcendental Animal Numbers (Thrill Jockey)

Cassette / DL

Out Now


With one full-length release already under his belt in 2013, Mouse On Mars co-pilot Jan St Werner releases a second. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.

I suspect you’ll either love this album, hate it or have no idea what to think at all.

When the album Blaze Colour Burn was released by Jan St Werner earlier this year it certainly met with Louder Than War’s approval and was compared to Scott Walker’s highly praised Bish Bosch album. This latest release consisting of two twenty minute tracks (therefore ideal for cassette release), again attempts to break down musical barriers and give us a little alternative listening material.

The two tracks Transcendental Animal Music and Parrodisia are described as being sounds obtained from computer algorithms and extreme panoramic shifts of sonic scales. No, me neither. What I did find though was something so original that it had me hooked from beginning to end.

Initially, I assumed that Transcendental Animal Music was animal sounds and calls which had been fed through synthesizers and emulated, but apparently not. The sounds here have been fed through a mathematical system to create scattered sounds. It all sounds very ‘Tomorrows World’ to me and I’m sure that Professor Brian Cox would almost orgasm over the whys and wherefores of how it was created.

In layman’s terms (ie, me), it’s intriguing to say the least. It’s something you will never have heard the likes of before, and to be honest, may not do so again. Whether it is music or just a series’ of sounds is open to debate. What it is, however, is someone daring to be different in a world of predictability and completely throwaway soundtracks to our alleged lives.

Whatever, give it a listen, or at least a part listen, just to say that you have done. Apparently Werner describes the album to the Schrodinger cat theory that proves that particles can exist in various states. No, me neither. Again.

Will I listen to Transcendental Animal Numbers again? Probably not. Am I glad that I have done once? Yes, I am.


More on Jan St Werner here. Follow him on Tumblr here.

All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.

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