This review from the old website was preserved on the web at: http://www.audioh.com/releases/inthelasthour.html , a page on Janek's own website covering the CD release of this concert on Room 40. I bought a copy at Amoeba Records in L.A.just after getting married and I still listen to it regularly. It was very odd - New Year's Day in America and I was buying an Australian CD of a concert I'd been to in my birthplace in England. I took it home and the music completed it's global circuit. My only regret is that I ended this review with an exclamation mark. Still, I was only thirty years old at the time.
JANEK SCHAEFER - HUDDERSFIELD TOWN HALL - 20th November 2005
I go running up the stairs inside the town hall to the auditorium. I've been here many times before, so I feel comfortable in the safe knowledge that I know what awaits me upstairs. I burst into the main room and instead of an usher asking me to take my seat, I'm asked to take a matt. It seems that tonight, is that little bit different to what I'm used to. Facing me is the town hall that I know, only there's no seats in it, everyone is laid down on their backs. Janek is not sat on the stage but instead sits cross legged on a little box in front of the stage. I'm so surprised, I forget to take a matt and end up using my coat and jumper instead.
Then the lights go out. The hall is lit only by the fire exit signs, the spotlights around the organ and a little torch Janek uses to see his instruments. As I lay there on my back, I suddenly noticed the cable stretched across the balcony above my head. The speakers for tonight's performance were suspended above us. I feel suitably chastened for presuming I was off to a typical gig.
Janek normally improvises but for this evening he had prepared a special piece. A huge, epic soundscape washed over us. As I lay there on my back, gazing up at the roof of this impressive building and adrift on the extraordinary waves of sound, it felt as far away from a conventional gig as possible. The music at times sounded akin to the analogue electronics of Cluster, at other times when he was using pre-recorded samples of the Town Hall's mighty organ, it sounded akin to Phillip Glass. The continuous music evolved through many phrases and kept me entranced throughout. Sometimes, a soft red light gently illuminated the ceiling, most of the time we were in the dark.
Then it ended. The lights came softly on and Janek stood up and thanked everybody. People sat up blinking and bewildered but gave a huge applause.
Slowly, the crowd gathered around Janek to peer at his instruments and try to work out what they'd been listening to, prompting Janek to say "I see a lot of questioning faces but hear no questions".
We really were all left quite speechless!