Lithops is the solo disguise of Jan St. Werner known for his work in Mouse on Mars, Microstoria and his most recent collaboration with Mark E Smith and Andi Toma as Von Sudenfed. With “YE VIOLS!”, Lithops presents a selection of installation soundtracks assembled from several recent exhibitions. “YE VIOLS!” can be seen as background noise for a visual utopia: a recombined industrial iconography of spatial adventures, futuristic collages and phantasmagoric scenes.
“Graf” accompanied a slide show of architectural sketches about neo-modernist city scapes that was shown in Amsterdam. The masking of identities and deconstruction of the ego was the theme of “Bacchus”, a series of drawings and photo collages by Illui Nonobac. The cover artwork and enclosed poster supplement of “YE VIOLS!” are taken from that series. Nonobac’s images are collages of hybrid creatures: animals, plants, and humans that have been further modified by additional drawings. A three-channel version of “Bacchus” was continuously played during the show. “Handed” premiered in the sound bowl of the Project Arts Centre in Dublin as an accompaniment to an exhibition by Rosa Barba and David Maljkovic. “Decay objects. Incredibly fast moving objects. Invisible objects.” is a speaker installation for which parts of the track “In Nitro” were used. “Apps 1 & 2” is derived from another soundtrack for a 35mm film installation by Rosa Barba. Lastly, “Inductech” was used for a dance performance by young Korean choreographer Lee Yaung. Although the works were created for these installations, their dense and layered sounds and creative structures manifested by Werner allows the pieces to stand alone as musical works whose details continue to reveal themselves with each listen. The album is released in a limited edition CD with hand printed cover using recycled paper and vegetable inks as well as a numbered edition of 500 LPs.
Jan St. Werner recently curated the sound project “Noise Room” which was shown at Cubitt Gallery in London from August through September 2008. A CD documentation of “Noise Room” was released on Werner’s “Sonig” label. More of his musical adventures can be heard in Rosa Barba’s recent online piece “Vertiginous Mapping” commissioned by the DIA Arts Foundation New York: (www.diaart.org/barba/intro.html). Jan is currently working on new music for another collaboration with Croation artist David Maljcovic to be shown in Geneva in 2009.
In an era of increasingly short attention spans and viral digital distribution, “YE VIOLS!” complexity: textural density and layered detail reward those who stop and actively listen. The hand printed case made in a very limited edition is a nod to the very site specific and limited audience inherent in installation artwork. Werner who is known for his playful and inventive dance music has created a work of quiet beauty, a work of art presented as such. Ye Viols! is reward for the adventurous ear.