After studying philosophy and sociology, he increasingly turned to electronic music after moving to Berlin in 1995. His music is largely based on samples, the sources of which, however, are not always readily recognizable due to digital sound processing. Nevertheless, in some cases he refers to his sources and influences with the titles of his CDs. That’s true of Loop Finding Jazz Records and Cosmic Pitch. While the reference to the former is obvious, the latter indirectly refers to Krautrock of the 1970s in the title of both the CD itself and individual tracks.
Jelinek also publishes under the pseudonyms Farben (since 1998) and Gramm. As Farben, based on soul samples, he orients himself more towards dub and electronic dance music. In this way, the music can best be described as an experimental dub. As Gramm he tries to find a compromise between “audible” minimal electronics and “danceable” music. In the music magazine Intro this was described as “additive music in seconds”. In 2000, his audio collages filled the Young Media Pavilion at the EXPO 2000 in Hanover.
In the following years he worked with artists such as Sarah Morris, Christopher Bauder, Dennis Busch and the author Thomas Meinecke, collaborated with the Japanese improvisation ensemble Computer Soup, the Australian jazz trio Triosk, the vibraphonist Masayoshi Fujita and the choreographer Sylvain Émard, wrote and produced various Radio pieces for the SWR2 Ars Acustica and performed audiovisual concerts with the video artist Karl Kliem, which could be seen at the Center Pompidou Paris, among others. In 2007 he founded the free improvisation trio Groupshow with Hanno Leichtmann and Andrew Pekler.
Jelinek’s work can hardly be grasped conceptually, especially if one includes his works under the pseudonyms. It can perhaps best be characterized as a mixture of Clicks & Cuts, Electronica, Intelligent Dance Music, Glitch and Microsound.
In the summer of 2013 he turned to remixing and reworking pieces by James DIN A4, which was released in 2014 as Farben presents James DIN A4. “Remixes are not easy. They should be in the spirit of the original piece, yet one still wants to add their own signature. An ideal remix combines both.”The taz newspaper described the album as a “summit meeting of two oddballs” and came to the conclusion: “With the successful album, Jan Jelinek delivers something that lies in the contradictions of remix art: an independent work of quotations .”