Monthly Archives: May 2010

TD01 – Biosphere & Jon Wozencroft “Substrata 2.1”

A3 archival print edition + exclusive digital download (MP3 or FLAC)

Image printed on 225gsm Somerset Photo Satin – this has the feel of watercolour paper, but captures the colour and detail extremely well. Hand numbered and signed (by Jon Wozencroft), limited to 100 copies.

A3 archival print | Jon Wozencroft “The Planet is Blue”

The picture was taken from a vantage point in Taormina, Sicily, in April 2001. 1000s of people must have taken a photograph from this spot, so it surprises me that many people single this out as one of their favourite Touch covers and I don’t disagree – how can one take heed of the other versions that will never be seen?

There were no postcards on sale. So instead of playing on the idea of “the photographic moment”, possibly this is a place that conjures up “the photographic universal”.
Giardini Naxos, a railway hub beneath Mount Etna, as seen from Taormina which has amazing food, a Roman amphitheatre and a film festival. I liked the idea of people swimming next to a railway station.

I was overjoyed to get the chance to do a cover for “Substrata”. It is one of my favourite recordings of its time (the progressive year, 1997) and I’d observed how it had such a climatic effect… I’d listened to it, amazed, on holiday in Crete that summer, it became a hot record for me, whilst supposedly being from a cold environment.

Maybe Biosphere was the answer to dub reggae, especially the music of Augustus Pablo. One of the best compliments I was ever paid, came from a friend when she said the Newcastle concert on the 2001 tour was mixed like a Pablo version… Now I’m glad that these versions bear this out, vividly. King Tubby Meets the Rockers in a Coldhouse?

Instinctively, I shot this on 35mm tungsten film which gives it a blue cast, which was an attempt to get a “Day for Night” ambience, (referring to the film by Truffaut). What I didn’t realise was how difficult this would be to print. We scanned it as RGB to get the detail and colour saturation, then we had to work out how to satisfy the CMYK format. There was hardly anything in the black channel.

Taormina features a lot in the film “Le Grand Bleu” (The Big Blue) by Luc Besson. It’s about deep sea diving. It seemed to me an interesting counterpoint to Geir’s love of the mountains, to think of the equivalent below the waterline. [Jon Wozencroft, May 2010]

Audio | Biosphere “Substrata 2.1”

1. Double Exposure 6:38
2. Infinium 7:07
3. The Things I Tell You 8:06

Track Notes:

Double Exposure
File saved: 16.May 2000, 14:08, Lunheim, Tromsdalen
A rebuild of an old track with none of the original elements left.

File saved: 8. June 1995, 18:17, Varden, Tromsø
A track that later split into “Hyperborea” and a remix for James.
The Things I Tell You v.4

File saved: 13. September 1995, 21:04, Alarmveien, Tromsdalen
Almost there. Version 5 ended up on the Substrata album.

Jana Winderen | Energy Field Feature & Review

It’s not often we highlight a feature and review, but this one is spot on and worth bringing to your attention. Jana Winderen‘s extraordinary album, ‘Energy Field’, received this review… she has just been in Istanbul with The Morning Line and is now working on her ten-year installation for the Hamsun Centre in northern Norway…

Tokafi (Germany):

Icy audio sculptures: Plunges you into the depths of Arctic waters.
For her new album Energy Field, sound artist Jana Winderen crafted icy audio sculptures from field recordings taken in Greenland, Norway, and the Barents Sea north of Greenland and Russia. Using a portable recording setup, the Norwegian artist and curator collected glacier, fjord, and ocean sounds ranging from ambient wind textures to cracking ice, lulling rhythms of lapping waves, and the low-end frequencies of ominous thunder. She then layered and edited those sounds into three compositions that collectively constitute nearly an hour of surprisingly musical sound art. Constantly churning textures, hypnotic long-tone oscillations, and a powerful sense of compositional arc make Energy Field a captivating and highly listenable experience that plunges you into the haunting depths of Arctic waters.

In her artist statement, Winderen writes that “in the depths of the oceans there are invisible but audible soundscapes, about which we are largely ignorant, even though oceans cover 70% of our planet.” This certainly is apparent on Energy Field, which documents an alien world of sounds that could as easily be generated from dated synthesizers as from the natural sounds of the ocean. It’s amazing just how evocative some of these sounds are. In the final minutes of the album, the high-pitched mating calls of fish weave over sustained dissonances constructed from a combination of wind and underwater hum. The result is a spine-chilling amalgamation at least as strange as anything conjurable by modern electronic music. In “Isolation Measurement,” creaking and cracking glaciers create a fizzing stereo effect from which one seemingly perceives moments of rhythmic regularity. As underlying bass currents seep beneath the texture and the sounds of birds and crashing waves become increasingly apparent, the composition hints at a climax before disintegrating into quiet gurgling.

A compositional arc of tension and relief pervades the entire album. And while it’s difficult (and perhaps unimportant) to discern how much of it is intentional versus circumstantial, it makes for a highly musical result that’s far more engaging than your typical “field-recordings as sound art” gallery installations. Sustained oceanic chords with an endless array of overtones ebb and swell over ominous low-end rumblings to generate harmonic movement and stasis. Polyrhythms emerge from the juxtaposition of churning waves and trickling water. And despite constantly changing textures, environmental consistencies of sounds, chords, and rhythms establish thematic unity to create cohesive compositions as opposed to collage-like layerings of field recordings.

‘Energy Field’ is as powerful musically as it is impressive conceptually. Winderen’s unique sonic space of naturally alien sounds and juxtapositions draws you into the depths of an unknown underwater world and holds you there. [Hannis Brown]

You can read an interview with Jana Winderen in Tokafi here (in English). For further information, her website is and you can buy “Energy Field” in the TouchShop.

Paul Williams’s J G Ballard

Mutated Armadillo baked in its own lead shielding (from The Voices of Time, Phoenix, 1997)

Fiona Talkington’s Clare’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Butternut squash is the food of the gods to me and this easy and delicious dish was first made for me by a lovely friend, hence the title.

Chop a buttnernut squash (peeled, de-seeded, all the usual things) into chunks. Drizzle with olive oil and roast along with chopped garlic, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and black pepper.

Meanwhile for the dressing whisk together 4 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp clear honey, 1 tbsp soy sauce and crushed garlic.

In your favourite large bowl put wild rocket. Arrange the roasted squash over the top, add chopped or crumbled goats cheese and chopped walnuts. I added some chopped dried apricots too which give it another texture.

Perfect for a winter lunch, a summer supper with a glass or two of chilled white wine or elderflower and try prosecco jelly for dessert.

If you want a non veggie option, some crisp fried parma ham nestling amongst the rocket is very tasty!

Spire 3 – Daniel Menche “Hover”

320kbps MP3 – 2 tracks – 27:36

2 tracks – 30 piece teenage choir and organ

Track listing:

1. Hover 19:29
2. As Is 8:07

As part of the Spire project, Touch is pleased to announce this download-only release by Daniel Menche.

“I work at a high school library here in Portland, Oregon. Once a week there’s a choir class and occasionally I will poke my head in to hear the fantastic sounds of the kids singing. The singing can be a bit rusty mainly due to the shyness factor in their young voices and the reluctant learning of the music notation from the choir teacher. I really liked hearing that rough-awkward singing from the kids and it remind me of myself being in a choir as a little kid and remembering how much I HATED IT! Mainly because I didn’t understand music notation… nor did I want to and also I was incredibly shy just like these kids.

Well anyways I’m always thinking of ways to get young folks to have fun with sound and such and also I had an idea to use these fine choir students for a recording utilizing their awkward singing sounds. My strategy for the kids was vowels because every kid knows vowels! A-E-I-O-U and just sing those letters as long as possible is what I will instruct the kids to do. I mentioned to the choir teacher that I will be coming in and taking ten minutes of the student’s time to record them for a recorded composition and the teacher approved with this idea but she was also very confused. How can I be a known recording musician and not know about music notation such as ‘flat C or sharp D’ or whatever that jargon is. I told them… “Don’t worry… kids will have fun and it’ll sound fantastic.” And so I barged into the classroom and hit record on my little recorder and began the vowel singing game with the kids. The sheer state of confusion on their young faces was rather beautiful and the singing was fantastic to my ears. I noticed immediately that they couldn’t get the low sounds very well because well… they’re kids and baritone sounds just aren’t in the picture yet for them. So I utilized a Hammond organ for the bass sounds for the final piece of music titled “HOVER”.

Included is the raw unedited “as is” recording document of myself having fun with the kids and getting sounds out of them for this “HOVER” recording. This raw recording has a charm to it of the kids being confused and having some fun. Teenage cathartic-ism to say the least. The look on the choir teacher’s face when I had everyone screaming in different vowels was priceless. I can see her facial expression screaming at me “Music notation blasphemy!!!”… I respond back “Yep, sure is and now look at all the smiles on our kids faces.”

You can preview an extract from this release in the TouchShop.

Buy Hover in the TouchShop

Anonymous (from 1659) – Submitted by Daniela Cascella, from a recipe book from 1659, for the new Parliament

An Excellent Recipe to make a Compleat Parliament or (if you please) a New Senate Fitted to the English-Man’s Palate

…one and fifty Anabaptists, blach’t in fair river water, threescore Independents, a quarter of a pound of John Lillburn’s bones beaten into a fine powder and sear’d, the better to unite with the rest; whereunto adde an ounce of Oyle of Saint-John’s-Wort, a drachme of the scrapings of the Divell’s cloven foot; five spoon-fulls of the marrow of old Oliver’s nose; half a Committee man; two Gallons of Aquafortis, seventy Scot’s haslets, together with a Kidderkin-full of Hugh Peter’s sighs and tears, evaporated into water in an Alembiqu’ made of an Organ-pipe..

Chris Watson – Whispering in the Leaves in Kew Gardens | 29th May – 5th September 2010

Chris Watson’s Whispering in the Leaves is an extraordinary sound installation, using recordings and natural history broadcast to transport us to the far-flung, dense rainforests of South and Central America. Throughout the summer festival, Kew Garden’s Palm House will be diffused with the dawn and dusk choruses of the myriad of creatures native to these lush tropical landscapes. A highly sensory experience, Whispering in the Leaves is a remarkable demonstration of the power of sound to evoke inaccessible and captivating locations.

Whispering in the Leaves is a powerful sound work derived from Watson’s extensive archive of wildlife and on location recordings in Central and South America – habitats that host over half of the planet’s wildlife. Diffused through the tropical foliage of Kew Gardens’ iconic building the Palm House, the surround soundtrack of wildlife dawn and dusk choruses will be transmitted at hourly intervals throughout the day for 15-20 minute durations – the approximate time taken in the rainforest for the transitions from darkness into light, and from daylight to dark. The sound pieces feature the calls and voices of thousands of species, including the howls and shrieks of black howler and spider monkeys, the musicality of diverse birdsong and the shimmering and hissing of tree frogs and cicadas.

A highly sensory and captivating experience, Whispering in the Leaves is a remarkable demonstration of the power of sound recordings and natural history broadcast to transport us to far flung, inaccessible and often extraordinary locations.

Chris Watson will perform a live sound mix in which audio recording of a three or four-hour period across late afternoon, sunset and into the night will be compressed into around twenty minutes. Featuring recordings of a tropical thunderstorm and ending with the deep, lush sounds of the nocturnal insect chorus, the performance will create an intense auditory narrative for the audience.

Whispering in the Leaves is co-produced by Sound and Music & Forma. Originally commissioned by AV Festival 08.

Chris Watson & Philip Jeck, Live in London | May 2010

This week sees live appearances from both Chris Watson and Philip Jeck in the capital.
On Tuesday 11th May, Philip Jeck is performing at The Luminaire in Kilburn. He is supporting Grails – an instrumental quartet from Portland, Oregon. For further information and tickets, click here.

At 7pm on Friday 14th at The National Gallery, Chris Watson will discuss the sounds of wildlife and weather in Constable’s “The Cornfield” and the changes in sound pollution since Constable’s time. He will end with a performance of the piece he has written in response to this painting for the new Sounds of the Gallery Tour. Admission free. For further information, visit

Touch Live at SPOR Festival, Aarhus, Denmark | 7th May 2010

SPOR is a festival in Aarhus, Denmark, for contemporary music and sound art. Its mission is to present national and international sound art and contemporary music of high quality. The festival should at the same time engage and stimulate debate by dealing with themes and issues that are crucial to our time.

This year’s festival sees performances by BJNilsen (The Invisible City live) and Jana Winderen (Energy Field live), a new work from Jacob Kirkegaard titled Bandera, and a Touch seminar.

The Touch afternoon seminar on 7th May 2010 sees speakers Mike Harding, Jana Winderen and BJNilsen discuss Touch, field recording, sound art and electronic music with moderators Rasmus Steffensen (Geiger) and Thomas Bjørnsten Kristensen (Aarhus University). Harding will give an historical introduction to the label and present the two artists through interviews and music. The seminar is initiated by SPOR and takes place in collaboration with Aarhus University, Geiger and SNYK

The evening of the 7th May features Touch Live – an “Electronic Night” featuring three of Touch’s Nordic artists. BJNilsen will present a special live version of his latest CD The Invisible City. Using recordings of tape recorders, computer, organ, acoustic guitar and field recordings from Japan, Portugal, Sweden… Jana Winderen will present “Energy Field Live”, a quadrophonic concert based on the recent Energy Field album. 
Jacob Kirkegaard is working with a scientific approach to real sounds, capturing unheard sounds from within a variety of environments. At SPOR he will perform a new piece Bandera (flag in Spanish) that consists of audio recordings of flagstaff masts, installed in front of the building ‘U. S. Interests Section’ in Havana, Cuba.