FOLIO 002 – Various Artists/Jon Wozencroft “Touch Movements”

76pp full colour book + CD
33 tracks – 78:59
Limited edition of 1000

Release date: 11th December 2017

Track listing:

Into the Open
Mika Vainio – Behind the Radiators
AER – Just Before Dawn
Bethan Kellough – Twelve
Wire – A Year A Second [For BCG]
London in a Week
Carl Michael Von Hausswolff – Sine Missing One
Chris Watson – Deepcar
Jana Winderen – Bronx Tunnel
The Magical Land of the North
Claire M Singer – Storr
Hildur Gudnadottir – Death 200AD
Three 20 – Four Twelve
Philip Jeck – Deed of Gift
Walking on Water
Simon Scott – Storm of the Fens
Eleh – Overt One
The Love Train
Russell Haswell – Demons
Heitor Alvelos – Expectant
I’m a Schoolteacher on Holiday
Johann Johannsson – Mingyun
Mark Van Hoen – Prescient
Fennesz – Paint It Black (remastered)
Sohrab – JV Dream
It’s Enough to Make You Weep
Strafe FR – Virgin
Before The Sea @ Falasarna
Jim O’Rourke – Despite The Water Supply
Situation Stabilised / BJ Nilsen – Atom Mother
Peter Rehberg – Cinecom
Gateway to the Garden
Oren Ambarchi – Testify
The Sound of Eleven

In a 24/7 world there is no greater challenge than “to be in command of one’s own time”. Is it true that the ability to download anything, at any moment, constitutes freedom? Has the ‘value’ of music, art and design been stripped bare? “I Google, therefore I am”…

Touch MOVEMENTS has been compiled over the course of 3 years. It is a response to many requests for Touch to publish a fuller account of Jon Wozencroft’s photography for the cover art of the project. The book follows the music, which was compiled step-by-step, like a jigsaw – there was not an “open call” to the artists, rather a sequential development which gives the CD a special narrative quality. And since our last Touch 30 compilation in 2012, the accuracy of the music has grown and rises to the challenge of what sound can do to transform perceptions about the immediate emotion of musical work and its more difficult, longer term evolution.

Following Touch Folio 001 in 2015, this series is a dedication to finding new ways of audiovisual publishing, somewhere between the twin peaks of a jewel-cased CD and a lavish box-set. The two elements of sound and the visual work in parallel to create the idea of an “Ear-book”, whose interdependency reveals itself over time, and allows the richest of listening and viewing experiences. The music and the photography is fully annotated, alongside a rarely-seen manifesto by the Surrealist film-maker Jan Švankmajer which celebrates the spirit of the creative act.

TO:103 – Carl Michael von Hausswolff “Still Life – Requiem”

Vinyl LP – 2 tracks – 44:24
Limited edition of 500

Track listing:

1. Still Life – Requiem l
2. Still Life – Requiem ll

Written & recorded by Carl Michael von Hausswolff
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft & Carl Michael von Hausswolff
Mastered by Jason at Transition

Conceptualised (2010–2013), composed and produced (2014–2017) by Carl Michael von Hausswolff in Palma (Majorca) and Stockholm. This musical piece consists only of sounds emitted and extracted from physical matter using emission spectroscopy as the sole basic technology. Acknowledgements to Linköping University (IFM), Sweden.

‘Still Life – Requiem’ consists of one piece with the same title and is divided up into two to fit the LP format. The piece is, as the title suggests, a requiem and it’s contents are solely composed by sounds captured from a specific physical solid state material. The composer has used a technique called ’emission spectroscopy’ whereby the frequencies generated from the material was analysed and transferred into, for humans, a listenable pitch (between 15 and 14000Hz). This captured organic sound material has been stretched, looped, equalised and composed to produce the recording.

A requiem is a piece of music dedicated to certain sole or several restless souls that wander our worlds looking for a place to call home. A requiem radiates calm, peace and perhaps comfort for tormented spiritual beings – it’s a piece dedicated to promote and insert tranquility and transcendence.

This requiem also provides the listener with a certain feeling of connection – perhaps a connection with the unknown and with the energy field clusters and mental abilities of post-mortem life forms that would be the incorporeal essence of a living being.

CMvH (born 1956 in Linköping , Sweden) has a long history within the communities of contemporary music and visual art. His first records was released in early 80s while the most recent saw the light just a few years ago (‘Squared’ [CD – Auf Abwegen, 2015]). In recent years he has been collaborating with Leslie Winer (‘1’ [LP – Monotype 2016]) and Hans-Joachim Roedelius (‘Nordlicht’ [LP – Curious Music, 2017]).

He has also instigated and curated the collective sound-installation ‘freq_out’ during 2003 – 2017, which includes artists such as Jana Winderen, JG Thirlwell, Finnbogi Petursson, Christine Ödlund and others.


Chain D.L.K.:

Solely using data from emission spectroscopy on physical objects, pitch-shifted into human hearing range, “Stll Life – Requiem” is one single thirty-one minute piece that’s been divided into two purely because of the limitations of the vinyl target format.

The result is a slowly undulating and very gently glitchy analogue hum and drone that feels like it owes as much to the variations in the electric innards of the recording equipment or the power supply than to the objects being analysed, though I’m sure scientifically this may be unfair. The most intriguing thing about this is how there are some higher-pitched elements that seem to have very short patterns that border on melody.

There’s a lot of ebb and flow here- louder, more harsh-edged parts at times, barely audible near-flat waveforms at others (including near the beginning of the first part, where you begin to wonder whether you’ve accidentally paused the playback as you haven’t heard anything for a while).

Putting aside the science, it’s a very well-formed and interestingly textured undulating drone piece that’s really rather relaxing. The purity of the concept is to its credit and it’s a very enjoyable listen that becomes quite mesmeric when it has your attention.

ArtNoir (Germany):

Hört mal, ich spür etwas. Was früher in leicht anders formulierter Version in Kultfilmen für Lacher sorgte, das gilt auch heute noch für experimentelle Klangkunst. Der Schwedische Künstler und Musiktüftler Carl Michael von Hausswolff beweist dies im Extrem auf seinem neusten Album “Still Life – Requiem” – ein Werk, dass vom Hörer körperlich und psychisch alles verlangt. Dabei ist die Tonwelt in diesen zwei langen Stücken mehr als zurückhaltend, versinkt sogar oft neben die Bereiche des Gewohnten und Hörbaren.

Aber genau dieses Experiment der Wahrnehmung hat Carl Michael von Hausswolff (dessen Tochter Anna von Hausswolff einigen von euch eher ein Begriff ist) mit dieser neuen Platte auch bezweckt. Die Grundsteine, welche für die lange Komposition “Still Life – Requiem” gelegt wurden, basieren auf hörbar gemachten und veränderten Aufnahmen von konstanten Schwingungen fester Materialen. Das liest sich nicht nur abstrakt, es hört sich auch so an. Wie der verzettelter Drone eines Bienenschwarms in Verbindung mit verlorenen Geigenspielern, steigern sich schier unhörbare Frequenzen zu einem Muster.

“Sill Life – Requiem” ist keine einfache Platte, es ist ein Album, das man mit extremer Hingebung anhören muss und keine Angst vor kleinen Lautstärken haben darf. Denn Carl Michael von Hausswolff hat sich bei seinen Feldaufnahmen nicht beirren lassen und viele Stellen von dieser Komposition im Unmöglichen gelassen. Somit muss man wie ein Forscher in die Klüfte hinuntersteigen und Schicht um Schicht zwischen Umgebungsrauschen und Tinnitus freigelegen – kommt dabei aber einer Erlösung näher als sonst jemals. [Michael Bohli]

Tone 59 – Claire M Singer “Fairge”

Claire M Singer – Fairge [Touch # Tone 59]
CDEP – 1 track – 20:55
Limited edition in CD wallet

Written & performed by Claire M Singer
Mastered by Denis Blackham @ Skye
Photography & design by Jon Wozencroft

Recorded by Clare Gallagher at Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, 12th June 2017 on the transept organ built by Ahrend & Brunzema (1965). ‘Fairge’ was commissioned by Oude Kerk for ‘Silence’, a concert series curated by Jacob Lekkerkerker.

Following 16 months after Scottish artist Claire M Singer’s debut album comes the release of the beautiful and intriguing ‘Fairge’, meaning ‘the ocean’ or ‘the sea’ in Scottish Gaelic. ‘Fairge’ is a single 21-minute piece for organ, cello and electronics, composed, performed and produced by Claire and is very much a companion work to the title track on her debut album ‘Solas’ (Touch, 2016).

Commissioned by Amsterdam’s oldest building and parish church Oude Kerk, ‘Fairge’ premiered at the church in February 2017. Claire M Singer’s performance on the Ahrend and Bunzema organ, cello and electronics is truly captivating. The work very much encapsulates her signature style of expansive soundscapes full of intricate textures, rich overtones and powerful swells, emotionally resonating from beginning to end.

‘Fairge’ was written specifically for the Ahered and Bunzema organ and explores the precise control of wind through the pipes using mechanical stop action. This creates a lush harmonic backdrop against the harmonics and melody of the haunting cello.

“Oude Kerk were very generous in letting me have time to explore and really get to know the instrument. The work was developed over many visits sitting in the church until the very wee hours over the winter months, which was incredibly magical and inspiring. When working with mechanical stops and precisely controlling the amount of air that passes through the pipes it requires a lot of practice and exploration to learn each incremental sound the organ can make and what the quirks of the instrument can be. As every organ is unique, the piece will differ on other organs but that’s what makes writing and working with the organ so fascinating. The tuning is mean-tone temperament, which I have not worked with previously. With ‘Fairge’ I really wanted to show how special this relatively small organ is and the beautiful pallet of sound it can produce.” [Claire M Singer, September 2017]

Claire M Singer’s performance is truly captivating, with her signature style of intricate textures, rich overtones and powerful swells, emotionally resonating throughout.

She is playing two special dates supporting the band Low at Union Chapel, London on the 14th October and at Westerkerk in Amsterdam on the 16th October.

The work of Claire M Singer has been widely commissioned, exhibited and performed throughout Europe and North America. This includes acoustic and electronic composition, fixed media, multi-media, installations and live electronics.

Performances and commissions include Tate Modern London; Glasgow Cathedral; Chez Poulet Gallery San Francisco; XMV New York City; Fylkingen Institute Stockholm; Ceremony Hall Austin; Kunst-Station Sankt Peter Cologne; Muziekgebouw Aan’ t ij Amsterdam and the Barbican supporting Stars of the Lid.

Claire is also Music Director of the organ at Union Chapel and Artistic Director of the Organ Reframed festival.

In June 2017 she was a recipient of the inaugural Oram Awards from the PRS Foundation and New BBC Radiophonic Workshop for her innovation in sound and music.


ATTN:Magacine (UK)

Claire M Singer reveals that the ocean is present within Fairge. The title comes from the Scottish Gaelic word for “the sea” or “the ocean”. Water ripples across the album cover. And with that, I am swept into thoughts of the water as her music gathers from layers of cello, organ and electronics. Those held organ chords trace the horizon line, shimmering as moonlight skates across it. Overtones bulge and recede like those tiny, transient waves that bring the entire surface into motion, fleeting to the point of illusory. And then, less materially, I feel the optimism of peering into the void, facing away from the frank and firm surfaces of terrestrial concern, absorbing a view whose flux is a rich, ever-renewing state of possibility, mesmeric for its absence of endings and limits. Fairge is, after all, seemingly edgeless. Stereo space is not the breadth to which sound must abide but the mere brink of what my ears can perceive, and I imagine these drones to stretch far beyond what can be fathomed by the context of recorded audio.

And so as Fairge rouses itself unevenly – upon wavering, almost discordant clouds of breath and shrill whistle – I take it that it is me, the listener, who is the cause of this bleary beginning, my hearing still soft and distant as I awake. The chords deepen. The detail starts to crystallise. Pitches begin to stabilise. Fairge becomes less a cluster of unsympathetic hums, and more a single organism surging back and forth as a coherent whole as my mind starts to perceive it as such: the surface bristling with small cyclical movements, the low frequency depths surging between greater tidal changes. The longer I listen, the more I start to imagine the presence of voices within the flow, peripheral perception teased by those little quivers of water. And while the piece might technically be a mere 20 minutes long, it ultimately rolls out across eternity. Like a stretched out pop song, each chord is pitched as a heartfelt beckoning of the next, gifted movement from the interplay between longing and fulfilment. Again, the conclusion of Fairge is rather a symbol of my departure. The ocean melts as my senses slip toward slumber; still present, but silent. It will still be there when I return.

Ondarock (Italy):

Con i suoi trentacinque anni di storia, Touch è sempre stato e ancora rimane uno dei principali avamposti per la scoperta di nuovi talenti della musica sperimentale e della sound art. Solo nel 2016 l’etichetta londinese ha dato alle stampe gli esordi su disco di due giovani compositrici emergenti della scena britannica: Bethan Kellough (“Aven”, Tone 54) e Claire M Singer (“Solas”, TO:101), entrambe interessate a favorire un dialogo spontaneo tra ambient/drone e neoclassicismo.

Il nuovo live in edizione limitata di quest’ultima, capitolo afferente alla serie Tone, è stato commissionato e registrato presso la chiesa parrocchiale Oude Kerk, ad Amsterdam, nel febbraio del 2017. “Fairge”, termine del gaelico scozzese che indica il mare o l’oceano, è un breve quanto efficace studio sul rapporto tra tono continuo e composizione melodica.
Diversi autori contemporanei si sono dedicati al disvelamento del potenziale poetico di elementi essenziali come bordoni e onde corte, da Matthew Earle al radicalismo di Michael Pisaro, sino alla recente e affascinante raccolta di Chiyoko Szlavnics su Another Timbre (“During A Lifetime”, 2017).

Prima ancora che l’interazione tra le due dimensioni sonore, Singer mette a frutto il loro contrasto netto: a tre minuti occupati da un lievissimo accumulo di linee statiche e convergenti, d’organo e di violoncello, segue una graduale moltiplicazione che sposta idealmente l’asse acustico centrale e lo propaga in ulteriori direzioni. Si genera così un equilibrio armonico tanto solido quanto aggraziato, un bilanciamento la cui esattezza risale agli albori della musica sacra, in cui l’intonazione di antifone e salmi già poggiava su un basso continuo, ma che si ricollega al presente in una distinta consonanza con le tessiture ambient degli Hammock e le sezioni d’archi dei Sigur Rós più estatici.

Ultimato in seguito a numerose visite in loco, oltre a rappresentare un lodevole esercizio di sintesi “Fairge” ispira la lieve commozione di una luce pura che riveste una parete altrimenti spoglia – suggestione che può addirittura prescindere dalla specificità della sede cultuale, tanta è la sua immediatezza. [Michele Palozzo]

Exclaim (Canada):

Scottish contemporary composer Claire M Singer follows the patient beauty of her debut album, Solas, with this epic, nearly 21-minute single-track EP conceptualized around the Scottish Gaelic word for “ocean.”

Fairge continues Singer’s fascination with carefully textured drones and the gradual mutation and intensification of repetitive parts. With gripping deliberation, she thickens the organ-driven frequency spectrum with layers of electronics and cello over the piece’s majestic, undulating and swelling runtime. When a simple note-diving hook enters around the 11-minute mark, the sound has congealed so much that it’s hard to tell which instrument or combination is causing it, but the effect makes a most effective and chilling climax to the piece.

After this subtly roiled sonic ocean churns up those delicate whitecaps, the quelling comedown is long, soothing and rife with the attentively nurtured minute timbral warbles that make Singer’s music important to listen to on high end speakers. A compelling continuation of the instrumental conversation she started on Solas, Fairge is ample evidence that this compelling new voice in minimalist modern classical composition has a lot more to say.

Chain D.L.K. (USA):

Described as a companion piece to the title track from her debut album “Solas”, “Fairge” is one twenty-minute work commissioned and written primarily for the relatively small Ahered and Brunzema organ in Oude Kerk, Amsterdam’s oldest building. Long, sustained and mesmerising organ chords are decorated by the addition of modest and sympathetic cello and electronic layers to create a deceptively simple sonic carpet.

Occasional chord changes and a gradual sense of tonal shift that at times feels like a Shepard tone effect result in something that seems static at first, but which under the surface, is never standing still. A two-note pattern slowly reveals itself in the upper register that over time transforms into a plaintive unanswered call.

Seventeen minutes in, a gradual cessation begins in which the purest organ tones are slowly left alone in their own space, a fade which continues beyond our hearing into a final minute which is essentially silence.

Fairge is Gaelic for the ocean, and if this is an evocation of the sea, it’s a very calm, sedate and empty moonlit plateau.

It’s a bold and beautiful work that, on first listen, made me sign up to Singer’s mailing list with immediate effect, and want to check out “Solas” at the first opportunity.

Artnoir (Germany):

Und jetzt zu etwas komplett Anderem: Eine 20-minütige Komposition für Orgel und Cello, ein kontinuierliches Anschwellen an Klangschichten, ein hypnotisches Stück Musik zwischen Experiment und Ambient. Was die schottische Künstlerin Claire M Singer mit “Fairge” vorlegt, ist genauso träumerisch und unwirklich wie geerdet und emotional. Knapp ein Jahr nach ihre Debütalbum “Solas” wird der Kosmos dieses jungen Talents gefühlvoll erweitert und ist nicht nur für Denker interessant.

“Fairge” ist als Lied wie als Konzept eine Reise und beginnt in kompletter Stille. Ganz sachte lässt Claire M Singer die Instrumente in das Bewusstsein des Hörers treten und verfeinert die Töne mit Elektronik. Was zuerst wie etwas unheimliche Field Recordings wirkt, bläht sich mit jeder Minute zu einem grösseren Klangkörper auf und man bemerkt: Dies sind Orgelnoten, welche schier pausenlos gehalten werden. Schwermütig, aber immer zaubervoll vom Cello umgarnt, steigt man zusammen mit der sich steigernden Lautstärke in die Höhe. Und spätestens ab der Hälfte des Liedes findet die Katharsis statt.

Claire M Singer scheut sich nicht, meist eher veraltet anmutende Instrumente in experimentelle Formen zu bringen und mit wenigen Veränderungen in der Komposition extreme Wirkungen zu erzielen. “Fairge” ist somit eine ergreifende Erfahrung und sowohl für Leute perfekt, denen Anna Von Hausswolff immer etwas zu bedrohlich erschien, für die die Orgel im Soundtrack zu “Interstellar” dann aber doch zu selten aufspielen durfte. Und wenn am Ende die Musik langsam wieder aus unserer Wahrnehmung verschwindet, so bleibt das Gefühl der Vollkommenheit. [Michael Bohli]

Westzeit (Germany):

Rockerilla (Italy):

La poetica della meccanica, un suono unico davanti al quale si abbassa il capo chiudendo gli occhi nel rispetto della bellezza. Claire M Singer suona l’organo, un particolare modello di organo fabbricato artigianalmente da Ahrend e Brunzema. Uno strumento che si trova, nella versione con 17 registri, anche nella prestigiosa Oude Kerk di Amsterdam, lì dove a Febbraio la musicista ha presentato per la prima volta questo lavoro dal vivo. Solamente una traccia, venti minuti che si espandono per una durata indefnita, travolgendo l’ascoltatore con immense ondate schiumanti commozione, la stessa che si prova guardando lo spazio sconfnato dell’Oceano, Fairge in lingua gaelica. MAGICO. [Mirco Salvador]

Fairge (meaning ‘ocean’ or ‘sea’ in Scottish Gaelic) is a 21 minute composition for organ, cello and electronics written and performed by Claire M. Singer.

The piece is commissioned by the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam (the city’s oldest building, now a museum), and was written especially for its remarkable Ahrend and Brunzema organ. “As every organ is unique, the piece will differ on other organs but that’s what makes writing and working with the organ so fascinating.”

Fairge builds up slowly, starting from the sounds of the breathing organ pipes, then introducing an almost shy cello accompaniment gradually gaining confidence and moving to the foreground. Getting stronger and louder (like ocean waves in a storm) – a massive and impermeable sound dominated by the sound of the church organ – ‘a lush harmonic backdrop against the harmonics and melody of the haunting cello’.
The sound of a church organ in full power can make man feel humble and small, and so does this ‘expansive soundscape full of intricate textures, rich overtones and powerful swells.’

The wind through the pipes of this organ can be precisely controlled using mechanical stop action. When the piece ends – the ocean storm retreats – one can hear the last breaths of air leaving the church pipes: the powerful dominance gone and replaced by a feeling of uncertainty that creeps back in together with the surrounding silence. [Peter van Cooten]

Gonzo Circus (Belgium):

Groove (Germany):

Zum Abschluss der Kolumne und der Jahreszeit angemessen gibt es heuer wieder eine vollendete Schöpfkelle purer Transzendenz. Das Zweitwerk der schottischen Organistin und Komponistin Claire M Singer, Fairge (Touch), ist ein einziger langwelliger, von subtilen elektronischen Echos umflorter Orgeldrone, der in zwanzig Minuten von dunkel glimmendem zu brillant gleißendem Schönklang und wieder zurück führt. Diese erhabene Breitseite von Kraft und Anmut hat zwar enge Verwandte wie Charlemagne Palestines Schlingen Blängen, ist in der durchgehaltenen klanglichen Schönheit und Liebenswürdigkeit aber doch gigantisch.

Pfeiltasten Hoch/Runter benutzen, um die Lautstärke zu regeln.

P.S. Im Winter um die Jahreswende 2017/2018 wird Singer Fairge in verschiedenen europäischen Kirchen aufführen. Nicht verpassen!

Blow UP (Italy):

RNE (Spain):

El Nuevo trabajo de la artista escocesa Claire M. Singer, “Fairge”, llega 16 meses después de su debut.
“Fairge” significa “océano” o “mar” en gaélico escocés y es basta como él, una pieza única de 21 minutos para órgano, cello y electrónica, compuesta, presentada y producida por Claire, en gran parte un trabajo complementario al tema principal de su álbum debut ‘Solas’.
“Fairge” fue encargado por el edificio más antiguo de Ámsterdam y la famosa iglesia parroquial Oude Kerk, en la que se estrenó en febrero de 2017.
“Fairge” encapsula el característico estilo de Claire con sus paisajes sonoros expansivos llenos de texturas intrincadas, ricos matices y potentes oleajes, que resuenan emocionalmente de principio a fin.
‘Fairge’ fue escrito específicamente para el órgano construido por los famosos Jürgen Ahrend y Gerhard Brunzema y explora el control preciso del viento a través de las tuberías mediante acción mecánica. Esto crea un telón de fondo armónico exuberante contra los armónicos y la melodía del violonchelo inquietante.
Además de su carrera como compositora e intérprete, Claire es también directora musical de órgano de la Union Chapel y directora artística del festival Organ Reframed.
En junio de 2017, recibió los Premios Oram de la Fundación británica PRS y el New BBC Radiophonic Workshop por su innovación en sonido y música.

Tone 58 – Philip Jeck “Iklectik”

Released: 22nd September 2017
CD – 1 track – 47:56

Artwork and photography by Jon Wozencroft
Recorded and mastered by Jeff Ardron of St. Austral Sound

Track listing:

1. Iklectik

The 6th in the series of limited edition compact disc live recordings (after Thomas Köner & Jana Winderen, Simon Scott, Bethan Kellough, Yann Novak, Robert Crouch) brings Philip Jeck live at Iklectik, London. Recorded 11th May 2017.

Pre-order Philip Jeck “Iklectik” [CD + Download] in TouchShop on 1st September


Ondarock (Italy):

Philip Jeck è, molto semplicemente, colui che più d’ogni altro ha elevato a forma d’arte sonora la turntable music. Da oltre vent’anni l’etichetta londinese Touch fa tesoro di questa espressione quietamente sublime, tanto negli album in studio quanto in una selezione di registrazioni live. La presente edizione limitata documenta la performance tenutasi lo scorso 11 maggio presso il laboratorio IKLECTIK, nell’ambito di una serie di eventi curati dallo stesso per il progetto internazionale The Engine Room dedicato alla sound art.

La materia prima di Jeck sono frammenti musicali alla stregua di reperti, accumulazioni di objets trouvés in cui tuttavia le diverse sorgenti non soffrono mai di un contrasto violento bensì, secondo il know-how che contraddistingue anche i migliori dj, si distendono mollemente l’una sull’altra e si armonizzano in maniera spontanea, sfumandosi nei loro rispettivi confini.
Dai tratti definiti dell’avvio – sinistro e vibrante come un lounge bar lynchano – il fluire viscoso del suono cede il passo all’onda lunga di ambientazioni generate dal rallentamento del piatto. Sottili fruscii e scricchiolii sono pressoché gli unici, sporadici elementi para-ritmici tra le campiture di un affresco ininterrotto e dai colori sbiaditi, sottratto al dominio della memoria sonora verso una dimensione astratta e impalpabile.

Tuttavia, come e più che nelle sale da ballo spiritate di Caretaker, l’obiettivo ultimo non è la conservazione ma l’oblio, l’abbandono in quell’area cerebrale in cui la percezione non si sedimenta ma subito si disperde e scompare. “Iklectik” è un ennesimo, inebriante stream of (un)consciousness musicale da parte di uno tra i più sensibili decani della sperimentazione contemporanea.

cultureel (Netherlands):

Je kunt de klok erop gelijk zetten. Er zal toch wel weer een nieuwe plaat van Philip Jeck komen dit jaar. En jawel. Daarop doet Jeck wat hij altijd doet. Dat betekent: een beetje wat platen opzetten, daar loops van maken, delay erover heen. Klaar is Philip. Wel zo’n beetje.

Toch trekt nauwelijks iemand zulke ambient textuur op. Jeck grossiert in hoogpolige mistbanken van electro-akoestische raadsels en puzzels. Uitgesmeerd en door elkaar geveegd hoor je niks meer dat herinnert aan de originele bronnen. Precies dat is typisch Jeck. Doe het hem maar na.

Dusted (USA):

Live performances by British sound artist Philip Jeck actually manage the impressive feat of being even more immersive than his studio albums. Maybe it’s the immediacy of hearing the sounds, created using faded and damaged vinyl records, synths and other instruments, as they come to life in front of you, conjured by an unassuming man who stares down at his devices, avoiding the eye. Maybe the unpredictability of using such a fragile tool as old vinyl adds a certain tension. Whatever the case, Iklectik, recorded at the London venue of the same name, is a welcome addition to Touch’s new series of live recordings. Evolving over 45 minutes, the solitary piece that makes up Iklectik develops gradually, from a blissful opening sequence of wobbly drones and warm bass through more unsettling tonal surges not that dissimilar to something you might hear on an industrial record and an all-consuming wall of synth bliss to a crackling final section driven by muted beats that fades into silence. At times, the audience can be heard rustling and crackling, adding to the intimacy of the recording. Where Jeck prefers to divide his studio albums up like suites, the single track flows more organically, following the emotional whims of its creator. Jeck is often compared to the hauntology scene, but in truth his music, especially live, is more introverted and contemplative, making Iklectik a sort of avant-garde sonic poem.

Tone 51 – Thomas Köner & Jana Winderen “Cloître”

CD – 1 track – 44:24

Remastered by Thomas Köner
Photography by Jon Wozencroft

Recorded live from the cloisters at Evreux Cathedral, Normandy, France by Franck Dubois, 14th June 2014, as part of L’Ateliers. With thanks to Denis Boyer.

Track listing:

1. Cloître

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Tone 56 – Robert Crouch “Sublunar”

CD and download – 4 tracks

Release date: 19th May 2017

Written, recorded and performed by Robert Crouch

Mastered by Lawrence English @ 158
Artwork & Photography: Jon Wozencroft

Track listing:

1. Descension
2. Brick by Brick
3. Listen to the sound of the earth turning
4. Coda (Sailing Stones)

You can listen to an extract here

Presented live in Los Angeles. Source material originally developed as part of mas gestos y mas caras, a collaborative performance with Rafa Esparza and Yann Novak, presented at the Hammer Museum on July 8, 2016.

Robert Crouch is an artist and curator whose work encompasses sound, performance, and technology. As an artist, he locates his work with the intersection of post-phenomenological listening practices, conceptual sound art, and contemporary electronic music. At its core, his work can be understood as a conversation between tonality, context, history and subjectivities. Similarly, Crouch’s curatorial work focuses on the overlapping disciplines of sound, technology, movement, and performance.

Sublunar continues Crouch’s inquiry into the complex relationships between sound, context, and meaning, first proposed in his 2016 release, A Gradual Accumulation of Ideas Becomes Truth (Line). The four tracks which comprise Sublunar were composed using field recordings from and audio files originally created for mas gestos y mas caras, a collaborative performance with artists Rafa Esparza and Yann Novak. mas gestos y mas caras was a durational performance incorporating sound, breathing, and a series of repetitive actions and gestures, choreographed within an architectural installation of adobe bricks fabricated and designed by Esparza.

Sonically, Sublunar is a radical departure from the originating performance, yet these tracks remain tethered, literally and aesthetically, to the processes and context of their construction: Esparza’s labored breathing, cautious footsteps, a soft cascade of water, dust, soil. The title itself, Sublunar, reinforces an attachment to the Earth and the physical world, and intentionally resists metaphysical interpretation or decontextualization.

It is precisely through this tethering that Crouch seeks to open up a diversity of possible approaches to the work, rather than confine our reading to a primarily or exclusively musical text. The first track, Descension, opens with sounds of breathing, muted movements, and environmental noises, and serves as an acknowledgement of our collective understanding of sound, of these specific sounds, as physical phenomenon. By extension we are allowed to consider this particular organization of sound itself as a kind of sculpture, architecture, and choreography. The body becomes the primary oscillator and architect, delineating boundaries and defining the work as a space within which we might inhabit.


Brainwashed (USA):

Crouch’s last release, A Gradual Accumulation of Ideas Becomes Truth (Line), was a heavily conceptual work touching on location and memory that, even divorced from its intellectual underpinning, was an excellent piece of sound art. Sublunar may not be as steeped in concept, but again the audio (a live performance mixing existing material and field recordings) is the most important facet, and again he excels in creating a disorienting piece of familiar and unfamiliar sounds that blur together wonderfully.

Sublunar is the result of a live performance utilizing source material from fellow artists Rafa Esparza and Yann Novak as part of mas gestos y mas caras, a multimedia performance including sculpture and performance art. His reworking of the material is drastic, resulting in a performance split into four pieces of a very different sound and sense. A light static ambience enshrouds “Descension,” capturing a variety of found sounds, like an insistent beeping sound that could be almost anything. Crouch works the various layers of sound together, coming together at times lush and rich, and at others thin and harsher in nature. This constant unending flow makes for a complex, captivating piece of sound.

“Brick by Brick” continues with the delicate water sounds from the previous piece, but at first Crouch keeps the mix sparse. What he does leave in the mix helps to build that sense of space and distance, like the architectural structures of his previous album. The emptiness soon becomes crowded however, as Crouch adds a droning, engine like noise that becomes denser and denser, engulfing the mix before letting it collapse.

The following “Listen to the Sound of the Earth Turning” has a more hushed, meditative sensibility to it fitting the title. With the static hum and detuned radio noise that define the opening of the piece, Crouch conjures the sense of hovering in air, off of the earth but not quite in space. This is only strengthened by the blowing winds that surge throughout, not cold or frigid in nature, but giving the feeling of hovering in open space.

The final part of the performance, “Coda (Sailing Stones)” continues the sense of space from before, but Crouch slowly brings the work back down to earth. The openness is mixed with field recordings of an unspecific nature; environmental sounds that could be recorded anywhere or nowhere. With this he adds some gorgeous tones and synth-like buzzing, shaped into a melodic progression before pleasantly fading away.

Separated from the source material, Sublunar may not have the same conceptual nature of his previous work, but his knack for mixing familiar sounds with unfamiliar ones is still strongly present. Here he manages to create a space that is both comfortable and alien, where the ambiguity simply adds to the quality of the sound. Given this is a live performance; it just makes this record all the more impressive. [Creaig Dunton]

Bad Press (Canada):

Another new release from the innovative Touch label, this one lands Friday. In addition to issuing a number of fine recordings, Touch sponsors a mentorship program that helps artists with grant applications, business counseling and more. It’s an impressive outfit.

Robert Crouch is a solid addition to the stable. His latest, Sublunar was recorded live in Los Angeles. It’s a subtle, nuanced electronic work that demands – and promptly rewards – a close listen.

Crouch pulled its source material from “mas gestos y mas caras,” a July 2016 collaboration with Rafa Esparza and Yann Novak. (Google tells me that translates to “More gestures and more faces.”)

His process is part of the story. Crouch’s interests lie in “the complex relationships between sound, context and meaning” according to a write-up accompanying the new disc. By lifting pieces of a previous recording and breathing new life into them, he’s done exactly what he set out to do.

The album’s first piece “Descension,” begins appropriately enough with a recording of Esparza breathing. It’s not immediately recognizable, in part because it’s set within an intricate mix of ambient sounds. Two minutes in, it’s clear we’re in for an intense, detailed listen.

But it’s a quiet intensity. The most striking thing about the album is its ability to go in multiple directions and at the same time maintain an even keel. It surprises without jarring. It is intricate and at the same time expertly polished.

Touch has produced 500 CD copies of Sublunar. It will also be available as a download. [Kevin Press]

Chain D.L.K. (USA):

“Sublunar” has its origins in a collaborative live performance mixing sound, technology and movement, but the original sonic material has been reworked and repurposed into something which is ultimately much more static. The result is a collection of drones, found hums and atmospheres that almost extol the virtues of non-movement.

Opening track “Descension” is warm, with a reassuringly cosy hum. The breathing patterns continue into second track “Brick By Brick” but the tone becomes coldier, emptier, more windswept.

The misleadingly titled “Listen to the sound of the earth turning” is even more lightweight, a repeated single robotic note triggering in an evolving rhythm, an exercise in how a sound might be alarming and soporific at the same time. Halfway through, the repeating note fades and warmer hum-chords similar to the opening track return. To complete the arrangement, “Coda (Sailing Stones)” blows cold again, with sporadic noises like water droplets falling in an underground cave, and the slow arrival of a faintly synth-organ-like melodic loop as a crescendo of sorts.

Despite its complex and multidisciplinary origins, “Sublunar” as an audio product is stark and simple. It’s so mellow that it could easily find itself on a sleep playlist, and might serve well as an environmental setting, but it lacks distinctive features or ideas that would make it shine in its own right.

Blow Up (Italy):

Tone 57 – UnicaZürn “Transpandorem”

Vinyl LP and download – 2 tracks

Release date: 27th January 2017

Written, recorded and produced by David Knight & Stephen Thrower
Additional production assistance: Ivan Pavlov
Cut by Jason @ Transition
Artwork & Photography: Jon Wozencroft

Track listing:

1. Breathe the Snake
2. Pale Salt Seam

UnicaZürn (David Knight and Stephen Thrower).

UnicaZürn build their long, ceaselessly evolving musical compositions through a process of improvisation followed by careful editing and processing. Their music, drawn from subconscious associations while recording, is frequently aquatic or oceanic in overall mood and texture. Knight has spent most of his life living on the banks of the Thames while Thrower resides on the East Sussex coast, and their musical flights of imagination tend toward rolling river dynamics and the open seas of synthesised sound.

For UnicaZürn, tidal imagery, oceanic forms and the slow rhythms of coastal water are a recurring structural presence, with strong associations of rootlessness, of being far away from home, a stranger in a strange land. The inability of human lungs to breathe water endows rivers and seas with a special poetics: a boundary between two different but inter-related states. On the one hand, solidity, clarity, definition; on the other, fluidity, uncertainty, dissolution. The sense of a threshold between opposites gives rise to an elusive otherness, suggesting a portal through which the everyday world can be escaped. Death under the water, the survivors of a lost kingdom clinging to the rocks of an unfamiliar island, a coastal boat ride into deepest abstraction, a deserted beach expressing a world outside reality.

A sexual frisson too: a hovering at the brink, poised at the turbulent edge of pleasure, swept away into oblivion. Do we head toward the sea when we want to escape? And at the coastline, do we walk to the edge because we want to jump, or be swept away by an unexpected wave? There’s a darkness in the sea, even if illuminated by the most dazzling sunshine. Open horizons shows the clutter of our lives to be transient, and as we look to the sea we feel a dizzying sense of the eternal. Aquatic sensibility, oceanic timescales: the action of the salt sea beating on the shore. Each grain of sand a rock smashed to dust. Beaches are cosmic, elemental. They are images of time.

UnicaZürn’s core instrumentation blends analogue synthesiser, mellotron and electric piano with electric guitar and clarinet. Both Thrower and Knight draw upon their love and wide experience of of electronic music, from the outer shores of Stockhausen to the outer spaceways of Tangerine Dream. In addition, Knight is reknowned for his pioneering multi-textured fretwork with Danielle Dax and his ambient guitar settings for Lydia Lunch, while Thrower’s reed playing provided a distinctive melancholy in Coil and emerged as electro-acoustic texture in Cyclobe.

The title “Pale Salt Seam” is drawn from the poem “Night-Song of the Andalusian Sailors” by Federico García Lorca. Parts of “Pale Salt Seam” were recorded live at the Ironmongers Row Baths on 2nd March 2013.

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TouchLine 9 – Ipek Gorgun – “Aphelion”


Digital Download – 8 audio tracks – 48′ 23″ + mpg + pdf (1.2Gb)
The link to the .zip can be found in your email receipt [also in your account history]

1. Kairos 5:28
2. Fata Morgana 4:42
3. Bloodbenchers 8:54
4. Lethe 2:54
5. Martyrs 8:22
6. Dendrite 4:20
7. Nightingale 9:20
8. Troubling Speech 3:50 [bonus track]

Kairos video: Noetic Works
PDF photo book: Ipek Gorgun
Recording and Mixing: Ipek Gorgun
Mastering: Barkin Engin

“The dictionary describes aphelion as “the point in the path of a celestial body (as a planet) that is farthest from the sun”, which i reckon is a suitable title since it reminded me of the night time, when I recorded and edited the majority of this work.

The night makes me think about openness and gathering. To me, it is a state of togetherness in which things are allowed to keep their own identity, yet they are covered under the veil of darkness. From time to time we may recognise such things as they are, but the night also evokes the so- called luxury of intuition, helping us become aware of their existence without using our sense of sight.

One might feel that the night has a disturbing, chaotic and uncontrollable character. I can relate to that since it becomes harder to see; our ocularcentric modern ways of living are being challenged. Contrary to the sunlight that helps us divide, analyze and govern, the night tends to reveal our most primitive selves, as well as uncovering our deepest thoughts, untold dreams and memories. In addition, in such state of openness, the lack of light provides more space for the activation of other senses.

This is when hearing becomes so acute – as well as touching and smelling. I still think about smell, but hearing can also be associated with touch, since we are literally touched by sound in the form of waves through space, and they become audible in the range between 20Hz. and 20kHz. The night makes this contact even more obvious.

Such communication is the most intimate that two complete strangers (who will probably not meet again) can be. And I’m once again grateful for my own personal aphelion (2:44 AM, GMT+2) at the moment for helping me write this to you, beloved listener.”

Buy & download Ipek Gorgun – “Aphelion” [.wav + pdf] in the TouchShop – The link to the .zip can be found in your email receipt [also in your account history]
You can read more about TOUCHLINE here

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Tone 55 – Yann Novak “Ornamentation”

Compact disc in wallet – 1 track – 49:00

Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft
Release date: 11th November 2016

Track listing:

1. Ornamentation

Presented live in Los Angeles. Source material includes field recordings captured throughout the United States and Canada from 2006–2016 and modular synthesizer recordings, all digitally altered.

Yann Novak is a multidisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles. Ornamentation is Novak’s first physical release on Touch and continues his investigations of presence, stillness and mindfulness through the construction of immersive spaces, both literal and figurative. On Ornamentation Novak resists modernism’s problematic relationship to race, class and labour, and attempts to decouple contemporary minimalist sound work from this historical precedent. The title refers to Adolf Loos’s notorious 1913 manifesto, ‘Ornament and Crime,’ in which the author argues that the desire to adorn architecture, the body, objects, etc., is a primitive impulse, and the proper and moral evolution of Western culture depends in part upon the removal of ornamentation from daily life. Loos devalued the labor traditionally associated with aesthetics and beauty, and equated ornamentation with the degenerate. In this context, one could consider ornamentation as a way of viewing decay. His examples as such (tattoos, fashion, style, painting, et al.) predictably fell along divisions of race and class, coding modernity as the next outward manifestation of white, capitalist patriarchy. Throughout the process of creating Ornamentation, Novak attempts to sidestep some of Loos’s modernist intolerances by focusing on the labor of composition itself, rather than particular processes or structures. Novak began by incorporating specific field recordings from his archive, deliberately selected for their poor quality; awkward interruptions, low fidelity smartphone recordings, problematic frequencies. The selection of these difficult sounds, processed alongside recordings of his modular synthesizer, created a unique set of challenges for Novak where the familiar, reductive approaches would fail to be useful and ultimately abandoned in favor of more dynamic, additive, and laborious process. Unlike minimalism with its roots in modernism, or “sound art” with its conceptual biases, Novak creates a work that acknowledges these conventions, yet stands apart as a meditation on beauty, labour, and aesthetics; Ornamentation as an adornment of time itself.

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TouchLine 8 – Gravitas – “a frequency crescendo in 11 movements”

Gravitas – a frequency crescendo in 11 movements


Now available

Digital Download – 1 audio track – 27′ 34″

1. Gravitas – a frequency crescendo in 11 movements

Heitor Alvelos, digital frequencies
Anselmo Canha, bass, field recordings
Anabela Duarte, treated voice
José Maria Lopes, guitar
Jaime Munárriz, guitar, trumpet, electronics
Jono Podmore, theremin
André Rocha, arduino-activated lemon tree (concert)

“Gravitas” is a studio re-construction and re-consideration of a sound performance that took place at the futureplaces medialab on October 24, 2015, in Porto, Portugal.

Woven and edited by Heitor Alvelos, Oporto, August – September 2016
Mastered by Jono Podmore, Köln, September 2016

The words that bookend the piece belong to Bernadette Martou (1962-2015)

TO:102 – Lustmord “Dark Matter”

Compact disc in digifile – 3 tracks – 70:38
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft
Release date: 30th September 2016

Conceived and Produced by B.Lustmord
Recorded in Los Angeles October-December 2015
Artwork & Photography by Jon Wozencroft

Track listing:

1. Subspace
2. Astronomicom
3. Black Static

Derived from an audio library of cosmological activity collected between 1993 and 2003. It was gathered from various sources including NASA (Cape Canaveral, Ames, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Arecibo), The Very Large Array, The National Radio Astronomy Observatory and various educational institutions and private contributors throughout the USA

Lustmord writes: “The Universe we inhabit is a vast expanse far larger than we are able to comprehend. As we attempt to understand its underlying structure and as we gain new insight into the nature of matter, new questions arise and further gaps in our understanding are revealed.

Behind the world that we experience lies a veil of darkness and much is hidden between, beyond and unseen.

We are limited by our inability to truly grasp the infinite breadth of the Universe, the time scales involved in its measure and our insignificant position within.

Some things will always be unknowable, and existence does not begin or end with man’s conception.

Everything that has ever been observed by man, even with our most sophisticated instruments, amounts to less than five percent of the Universe.

Approximately sixty-eight percent of the Universe is unseen dark energy and approximately twenty-seven percent is unseen dark matter. We have yet to discover what dark matter is, and only know the things it is not. Although it has not been directly observed, its existence and properties are inferred from its effects on visible matter, its influence on the Universe’s large-scale structure, and its effects in the cosmic microwave background.

The universe began of darkness, not of light.

While space is a virtual vacuum, it does not mean there is no sound in space. It exists in space as naturally occurring electromagnetic vibrations, many well within the range of human hearing while others exist at different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum and these can be adjusted with software to bring them within our audio range.

The recordings of these interactions in space come from several different environments including radio, ultra violet, microwave and X-ray data and within these spectra a wide range of sources including interstellar plasma and molecules, radio galaxies, pulsars masers and quasars, charged particle interactions and emissions, radiation, exotic astrophysical objects, cosmic jets and flares from magnetars.”

About Lustmord:

Widely credited as the originator of the “Dark Ambient” genre. Credits on over forty motion pictures including The Crow and Underworld. One of the two composers for the Turtle Rock/2K game Evolve. Worked with John Balance, Chris & Cosey, Clock DVA, Current 93, Paul Haslinger, Maynard James Keenan, Melvins, Nurse With Wound, Tool and Wes Borland amongst others.


Norman Records (UK):


This stalwart of the Dark Ambient scene with, an immersive back catalogue of work stretching over 3 decades, returns with a new release on the highly respected ‘Touch’ label; and what a cracker it is. Ten years worth of compiled sound sources were used in the production of this latest output; as cosmological audio spread over three distinctive slabs of pitch black, cavernous dark matter. With a vast amount of his past releases re-issued on Germany’s Ant Zen label in recent times; this, along with those quality uncompromising pieces of work, cement a legacy of master-ship within this chosen genre.

The Quietus (UK):

Heard on lightweight headphones Dark Matter could be musicians working with recordings of the wind. They admirably foreground the dance of air – wisps slowly whipping up a foreboding gale – their instruments remain restrained, providing background colour but never taking the lead, as their gentle tones get swept then smothered by the elements. On this level, it reminded me of the soundtrack to The Revenant, but not so much the superb music composed for the film by Ryuichi Sakamoto and alva.noto, but the rich environmental sound design of the wind in the trees that played equal part in imparting the strong sense of a bleak but magical wilderness.

But upscale the playback to an amp and decent speakers and, while the bleak, magical wilderness still rings true, it is no longer of this earth. Dark Matter, the latest in a long line of epic scale soundworks from Brian Williams AKA Lustmord, uses ‘electromagnetic vibrations’ captured from various cosmological phenomena such as interstellar plasma, pulsars and flares. These recordings, sometimes not within our perceptible audio range, were then sculpted by Lustmord’s highly experienced hands to arrive at a suite of three twenty-minute parts. Given the right playback equipment they impart a terrifying sense of scale that belittle the listener regardless of having prior knowledge of the sound sources.

But as well as this novel, if terrifying, feeling of insignificance and awe, Dark Matter has a strong and moody musical undertow throughout. Ghostly choral residues and long, sluggish streaks of low end, like the exhaust trails of the deep space freighters of the Terran Trade Authority, emerge from the nebulous drift. This positions it far from a documentary on the sounds of space and instead artfully arrives at a sonic ritual or devotional hymn to the universe. [Russell Cuzner]

Bleep (UK):

Dark ambient visionary Lustmord teams up with prolific UK experimental label Touch to present Dark Matter. Following 2013’s The Word as Power on Blackest Ever Black, the studio album was 15 years in the making and thus feels thoroughly well-conceived. It comprises of material the Welsh producer, real name Brian Williams, gathered from 1993 till 2003: NASA and various astronomy observatories across the US are amongst the sources of his audio library.

Centred around the idea that the universe mainly consists of dark energy, Dark Matter sounds the unknown beyond our imagination. Taking naturally occurring electromagnetic vibrations as a starting point, Williams used software to bring them into our range of audibility – the result is an unsettling galaxy of sonic interferences: crumbling avalanches of cosmic jets, interstellar plasma and molecules, crushing drones of radiation and flares from magnetars.

Black Audio (UK):

Lustmord can comfortably sit with the legendary status he has attained within Dark Ambient circles; with a catalogue that stretches back as far as the early 80’s. Recently he has had a number of albums re-issued by German label Ant-Zen, so it is a surprise to see his latest output on the well-respected Touch label.

Built upon ten years worth of cosmological sounds compiled in an audio library; there is no doubt as to the concept surrounding this latest piece of work, spread over three long tracks and housed in a nice oversized ekopack wallet.

The songs themselves are suitably bleak. Rich, throbbing low-end bass pads out cavernous dense air as ghostly apparitions of high-end musicality reach out into the vast unknown corners of space. Lustmord tries his hand at grasping an unseen and unkown quantity, that of dark matter and its influence on the universe.

Overall, this is a quality piece of work end to end. Densely layered and mysterious with many a nook and cranny to become enveloped within and providing everything a Dark Ambient release should. There is really nothing to compare Lustmord to as he has created his own mythos and received well-deserved acclaim; this latest opus just adds to that. 9.5/10

Core (Italy):

“The Universe we inhabit is a vast expanse far larger that we are able to comprehend. As we attempt to understand its underlying structure and as we gain new insight into the nature of matter, new questions arise and further gasps in our understanding are revealed.” Con questa frase il musicista gallese apre un disco che rappresenta un sunto di attività cosmologica che inizia nel 1993 e perdura per circa un decennio. Materiale conversato, riletto ed interpretato, di cui l’artista aveva anticipato l’esistenza in alcune interviste. Accompagnato dal mirabile artwork di Jon Wozencroft e registrato a Los Angeles, dove ormai risiede da tempo, tra ottobre e dicembre dell’anno passato, ‘Dark Matter’ è un dolce vagare nello spazio. E quando uso il termine dolce non lo faccio perché le ambientazioni che mi ritrovo a descrivere sono colorate, divertenti o piacevoli da visitare. Al contrario uso questo aggettivo perché quello che ci aspetta è decisamente peggiore. Un incubo, la fine del mondo, l’apocalisse terrena o semplicemente un viaggio in chissà quale dimensione. Per anni Lustmord è stato considerato un eretico e un solitario ma dopo l’avvincente ‘Stockholm’ è venuto il momento di esplorare di nuovo la galassia e farci tornare con i piedi per terra appena sopraggiunto il silenzio. Dei tre movimenti proposti il primo, ‘Subspace’, è senza dubbio il più spettrale e coinvolgente ma l’intera opera, pur non essendo di semplice assimilazione, è di gran lunga superiore a quanto di sperimentale e avanguardistico esce in ambito drone, ambient e vagamente elettronico ai giorni nostri. [Lorenzo Becciani]

The New Noise (Italy):

Brian ‘Lustmord’ Williams è un artista molto più eclettico di quello che si crede. È normalmente considerato il papà del dark ambient (Heresy, 1990), ma nei dischi usciti negli ultimi dieci anni, che possono piacere come non piacere, ha collaborato con i Melvins, con Maynard James Keenan e Adam Jones (Tool), poi con Aaron Turner (Isis), Jarboe… e ha remixato in chiave dub dei pezzi dei Puscifer, per restare nell’ambito della famiglia Tool.

Oggi torna su Touch, da solo e in qualche modo più vicino al sound grazie al quale s’è affermato. Non penso che lo faccia per battere cassa andando sul sicuro (come capita a certe band che giocano la carta del cambiamento, non fanno soldi e si ri-presentano dai vecchi fan con qualcosa che li accontenti), perché Dark Matter è un’idea di cui ha parlato per un sacco di tempo nelle interviste e alla quale solo ora è riuscito a dare seguito concreto, dopo anni in cui ha raccolto il materiale scarso di cui si compone il disco. Williams, infatti, si è creato un archivio di “suoni” spaziali fornitigli dalla NASA e da vari osservatori: vibrazioni elettromagnetiche che viaggiano nel vuoto, alcune al di fuori della capacità percettiva del nostro orecchio, ma portate nel nostro campo uditivo da dei software (un procedimento simile a quello di Pietro Riparbelli con le onde corte, per restare nel genere). Così facendo, Lustmord, ripulendo molto la materia grezza e rumorosa di partenza e adattandola alla sua estetica, ci ha restituito l’attività di stelle, pianeti e galassie. A differenza che in certi suoi primi dischi, che ci davano una sensazione di pericolo, qui sembra di ascoltare il respiro di creature eterne e indifferenti alla nostra esistenza, adagiate da qualche parte in un’immensità a tratti affascinante, a tratti in grado di gettare nello sconforto più assoluto. Un Lustmord puro ed essenziale, dunque, che non rinuncia però a bassi spaccapavimenti e a qualche suono alieno che ghiaccia il sangue nelle vene. “Nello Spazio nessuno può sentirti urlare”, dice la tagline di un vecchio capolavoro, ma – aggiungo io – se noi potessimo sentire nello Spazio forse ne moriremmo. [Fabrizio Garau]


Tartine de Contrabasse (France):

Tout amateur de dark ambient a forcément croisé ce nom sur sa route : Lustmord, ou le gars à qui on attribue peut-être à tort la création du genre, mais dont on ne pourra jamais nier le rôle crucial dans sa démocratisation entre la fin des années 80 et le début de 90 ; Heresy se place ici en pierre angulaire du personnage et de ce style de musique en 1990, avec ses captations cryptiques et volcaniques à glacer le sang. Comme je n’aime pas faire comme tout le monde, je lui préférerai The Place Where the Black Stars Hang, dont le déroulement en territoires spatiaux photorépulsifs fait naître des sentiments d’isolation et d’impuissance face aux éléments que seul un Thomas Köner peut prétendre atteindre. Transition parfaite pour nous mener à la dernière production aux inspirations cosmiques de Brian Williams qui paraît sur le totémique Touch, excellent toit pour musiques minimalistes tangentes s’il en est. Après une décade de collecte d’échantillons sonores dans les plus grands centres d’études spatiales et chez les plus petits contributeurs privés puis 15 autres hivers de gestation, Dark Matter voit le jour. Façon de parler.

Là où The Place Where the Black Stars Hang faisait découvrir et explorer les espaces inaccessibles à notre petite humanité confortable, Dark Matter semble y poursuivre l’aventure d’une manière encore plus lovecraftienne, presque nihiliste. L’Homme n’est rien dans cette immensité qu’il pense connaître, mais dont il ne voit même pas la pointe de l’iceberg. Tant de choses ont déjà été conjecturées, vérifiées puis admises dans ce dernier siècle de science, et pourtant, encore plus de questions et d’incertitudes se sont soulevées en réponse. Nous croyons savoir, mais sommes des ignorants qui s’ignorent. Des affirmations sur notre vanité et notre incapacité à considérer les infinités qui nous soutiennent et nous surplombent, que l’artiste a condensées en trois morceaux marathoniens sur 70 minutes. Ouais ma gueule.

Entre réminiscences mélodiques éparses et ressac de basses polies comme seul un Lustmord sait le faire, l’album nous submerge très vite sous ses vagues sub-hertziennes impitoyables où les seules balises lumineuses sont des astres piégés dans le champ gravitationnel d’une singularité, brûlant d’autant plus fort qu’ils s’approchent inexorablement de l’horizon des évènements. Les pulsations vaines des étoiles agonisantes se diluent progressivement dans l’éther vrombissant, tandis qu’elles accélèrent leur course effrénée vers une mort certaine dans la bouche de l’ogre insatiable à leurs pieds. Décrire l’expérience comme intimidante ne lui rend presque pas justice, tant les sentiments de désolation et de fatalité sont exacerbés : lancer Dark Matter, c’est comme écouter un trou noir supermassif respirer. Aucun espoir, aucune échappatoire, juste le droit d’être témoins de l’inconcevable au travers des cris de terreur électromagnétiques de soleils déchus, et d’attendre l’oblitération subatomique par le laminage transversal des fréquences à moins de trois chiffres avant la virgule. Un album de contemplation donc, mais d’un genre qui aurait certainement plu à ce cher Howard Phillips ; de ces contemplations dans les abysses sans fond qui nous invitent à y plonger sans jamais se retourner, de ces plongées dans l’inconnu reconnu qui n’offrent que l’issue inévitable mais salutaire de l’oubli absolu, de cette réalisation de l’insignifiance originelle qui recalibre l’âme sur les vibrations universelles qui nous dépassent complètement, pour enfin prétendre à surpasser sa condition. Ici, la lumière n’a sa place que parce qu’elle met plus en valeur les ténèbres qui s’en nourrissent : en témoigne particulièrement le second morceau Astronomicon, requiem à 4bpm pour particules au destin tragique, dont les lentes et puissantes inhalations ôtent tout oxygène à l’environnement immédiat, et qui bénéficie d’une construction progressive de ses strates atonales absolument monstrueuse.

Pour moi suite magistrale de son excellent The Place Where the Black Stars Hang, Dark Matter poursuit le voyage vers la noirceur au bout du tunnel initié alors, questionnant avec recul ce qu’on pense de notre place dans l’univers et ce qu’elle est en réalité, avec un sound design toujours d’actualité après les décennies d’activité de son créateur. L’art du dark ambient par Lustmord, c’est toujours sans aucun compromis, c’est toujours aussi démentiel, et je n’hésiterai pas à placer sa dernière galette parmi ses toutes meilleures.

CD ou digital, on peut trouver le nécessaire directement chez Touch, comme plein d’autres bonnes choses.

NONPOP (Germany):

Sieht man von zwei Live-Alben ab, so ist das vorliegende, brandaktuelle LUSTMORD-Opus “Dark Matter” die erste wirklich neue Veröffentlichung seit dem 2014er-Album “The Word As Power” – auf diesem trieb BRIAN WILLIAMS jene Lust an Innovation und Experiment, die sich auf den Alben der letzten Jahre kontinuierlich mal mehr, mal weniger subtil niederschlug, bekanntlich auf ihre einsame, unerhörte Spitze und machte zum ersten Mal in seiner langen Laufbahn von Vocals – wenn auch primär instrumental fungierend – Gebrauch. Insbesondere für die fundamentalistischen, ultra-orthodoxen Verehrer des Wahl-Kaliforniers mit walisischem Migrationshintergrund, der das Genre Dark Ambient im Grunde genommen “erfunden” hat und insofern als eine Art halbtranszendenter Gottvater der Sparte gelten darf, kam dieser Schritt einem mittelschweren Sakrileg (ob Gottvater überhaupt ein Sakrileg begehen kann, sei an dieser Stelle als spitzfindige Off-topic-Frage für Hobbytheologen hinterlegt) gleich, war indes aus nachvollziehbaren Gründen dem Konzept des Albums geschuldet und insofern durchaus gerechtfertigt, zumal das Ergebnis absolut zu überzeugen wusste, wie der Rezensent vor drei Jahren an dieser Stelle jubilierend vermeldete. – Nun, mit Innovation und Experiment (relativ zu jenem speziellen Sound, der für LUSTMORD konstitutiv ist) ist jetzt entschieden Schluss: WILLIAMS legt mit “Dark Matter” ein LUSTMORD-Album vor, wie es exemplarischer und klassischer kaum sein könnte, durch & durch gesättigt mit stockfinsteren, zappendusteren Klanglandschaften aus den entlegensten, abgrundtiefsten Tiefen des Raums. Mit “Dark Matter” besinnt sich WILLIAMS auf die Essenz seiner Musik und entfaltet über eine Gesamtspielzeit von 70 Minuten jene paradigmatisch kalte, luftleere und isolationistische Atmosphäre, welche das Album mühe- und umstandslos in eine Reihe mit Klassikern wie “Heresy”, “The Monstrous Soul”,”The Place Where The Black Stars Hang”, “Carbon/Core” oder “[Other]” einpasst.

Bezeichnender- und ironischerweise ist “Dark Matter” der erste LUSTMORD-Tonträger, der auf dem, für seine dezidiert experimentelle Programmatik und die Affinität zu elektronikbasiertem Frickelsound unterschiedlichster Provenienz hinlänglich bekannten, TOUCH-Label erschienen ist. Aus diesem Umstand vermag der kundige Rezipient immerhin eins schon mal ziemlich zweifelsfrei abzuleiten, dass nämlich kaum mit eingängiger Unterhaltungsmusik im weiteren – oder gar engeren – Sinne zu rechnen sein dürfte. Und in der Tat: auf der CD finden sich drei Stücke von jeweils 20, 23 und 27 Minuten Länge, die ernsthafter – und insofern freilich auch LUSTMORD-typischer – kaum sein könnten: Es gibt ultratieffrequentes Brummen, Dröhnen und Summen satt auf die Löffel, angereichert und verwoben mit diversen Field Recordings intergalaktischer Tonsignale, die, von NASA und ähnlichen Institutionen freundlichst zur Verfügung gestellt, dem Ganzen in der Gesamtschau jene ebenso beklemmend-unirdische wie irrlichternd-atmosphärische Wirkung verleihen, die wir vom Oevre des Mr. WILLIAMS so gut kennen und so sehr an ihm lieben. Selbstredend wäre LUSTMORD auch nicht LUSTMORD, gehörten jene extraterrestrischen Abgründe, in die “Dark Matter” den Hörer manövriert, nicht einer 100%ig humorfreien Zone an. Doch auch, wenn an diesem Punkt das statistische Risiko unfreiwilliger Komik eigentlich am höchsten ist, gelingt BRIAN WILLIAMS ganz souverän einmal mehr das Kunststück, ein tutti completo totenbierernstes Werk abzuliefern, ohne dabei auch nur im Ansatz prätentiös, abgeschmackt oder gar albern zu wirken. Das Werk steht da wie der Monolith in Kubricks “2001”, und der Mann, der hat’s nach wie vor drauf – oder besser: mehr denn je.

Wie der Titel bereits nahelegt, beschäftigt sich das Album thematisch mit dem Phänomen der Dunklen Materie, die, wiewohl nicht direkt sichtbar, in der Kosmologie postuliert wird, um die Bewegung der sichtbaren Materie im kosmologischen Standardmodell erklärbar zu machen. Die Existenz Dunkler Materie ist bislang nicht bewiesen und lediglich theoretisch bzw. anhand ihrer Wechselwirkungen mit Gravitationswellen aufzeigbar, ihr eigentliches Wesen ist jedoch weitestgehend ungeklärt. In diesem Sinne illustriert BRIAN WILLIAMS im Promotext den konzeptuellen Hintergrund des Albums: “Approximately sixty-eight percent of the Universe is unseen dark energy and approximately twenty-seven percent is unseen dark matter. […] The universe began of darkness, not of light. While space is a virtual vacuum, it does not mean there is no sound in space. It exists in space as naturally occurring electromagnetic vibrations, many well within the range of human hearing while others exist at different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum and these can be adjusted with software to bring them within our audio range.” Und eben dieses: eigentlich nicht Wahrnehmbares auf raffinierte Weise doch vernehmbar zu machen, das gelingt dem Godfather of Dark Ambient mit dem vorliegenden Album ganz vortrefflich: nicht eines der drei Stücke verfehlt seine Wirkung auch nur ansatzweise, auch wenn – oder doch: gerade weil? – das Album nüchtern und rein stilistisch betrachtet auf Innovationen und/oder Experimente, die aus dem LUSTMORD-genuinen Klanguniversum ausscherten, beinahe vollständig verzichtet. “Dark Matter” beeindruckt durch eine beispiellos dichte, stockfinstere Atmosphäre, wie man sie in dieser Perfektion insbesondere von den Alben der 1990er-Jahre kennt. Und auch heute erweist sich BRIAN WILLIAMS, der sympathische kleine Vollbarträger, der sich übrigens keineswegs zu irgendwelchen obskuren chthonischen Kulten, sondern zu einem nüchternen Atheismus bekennt, als ein – um nicht zu sagen: als der Großmeister nachtschwarzer Tiefenvibrationen schlechthin.

Der langen Rede kurzer Sinn: “Dark Matter” ist ein LUSTMORD-Album geworden, wie es im Buche steht, und für Eingeweihte wie Novizen auf dem Gebiete interstellarer Psychoakustik gleichermaßen empfehlenswert. Selten war eine CD einerseits so vorhersehbar und andererseits doch so uneingeschränkt faszinierend, packend und von der ersten bis zur letzten Sekunde alle Sinne fesselnd wie die vorliegende. – Um abschließend noch einmal den Großmeister höchstselbst zu zitieren: “Behind the world that we experience lies a veil of darkness and much is hidden between, beyond and unseen.” Schön, denkt man da doch, dass es Zeitgenossen wie ihn gibt, die uns mit akustischen Psychedelika wie “Dark Matter” dabei helfen, den Schleier wenigstens für einen kurzen Moment zu lüften, um einen flüchtigen, zappendusteren Eindruck zu erhaschen.

African Paper (Germany):

Das Weltall hat im Werk von Brian Williams schon oft eine zentrale (nicht nur metaphorische) Rolle gespielt, so etwa auf dem noch immer als Dark Ambient-Referenzwerk geltenden „The Place Where The Black Stars Hang“, auf dem im Booklet zu lesen war: „There is a place /where the black stars hang/and the strangest eons call /that amorphous mass /unknown, immense /ambivalent to all“. Immer war das All (auch) ein Signum für die Begrenztheit menschlicher Erkenntnis, für die Insignifikanz des Homo Sapiens in einem Kosmos, dessen Grenzen kaum fassbar sind; Gedanken, die sich u.a. bei Pascal, Lovecraft oder etwa Robinson Jeffers finden. “Guard yourself from the terrible empty light of space, the bottomless/Pool of the stars”, heißt es in Jeffers’ “Quia Absurdum”. In den Linernotes des neuen Albums schreibt Williams: „The universe we inhabit is a vast expense far larger than we are able to comprehend“.

Auf “Dark Matter” verwendet Williams ausschließlich zwischen 1993 und 2003 zusammengetragene Aufnahmen kosmologischer Aktivitäten (Strahlung, Quasare etc.) als Ausgangsmaterial. Schon auf dem Album „Trans Plutonian Transmissions“, das unter dem Projektnamen Arecibo 1994 veröffentlicht worden war, wurde auf solche Aufnahmen zurückgegriffen. Verglichen mit jenem Album ist „Dark Matter“ – ein Album, das schon lange geplant war – allerdings wesentlich reduzierter, minimal(istisch)er. In einem 2001 veröffentlichten Interview sprach Williams davon, er plane “a long-delayed very minimal Lustmord ambient album to be called “Dark Matter”, which will only utilize recordings of deep space and interstellar activity that I’ve collected over the years” zu veröffentlichen.

Williams hatte in den letzten Jahren immer wieder das Klangspektrum erweitert, ob etwa durch den Einsatz von Keyboards auf „Metavoid“ (die dazu beitrugen, dass sich das Album partiell Filmmusik annäherte), die Verwendung von Gitarren auf „Other“ oder aber dadurch, dass er Stimme(n) auf dem 2013 veröffentlichten „The Word As Power“ ins Zentrum rückte. Die auf „Other“ basierenden sehr reduzierten Alben „[Beyond]“ und „[The Dark Places of the Earth]“ mit „extended ambient remixes“ wirkten dagegen fast wie eine kleine Korrektur, denn auch wenn man eine allzu puristische Herangehensweise vielleicht ablehnt (da Hybride oftmals spannender sind bzw. sein können), so waren die fast schon außerweltlich klingenden tiefen Bassfrequenzen, die das Werk des gebürtigen Walisers prägen, wesentlich besser geeignet, Musik zu erzeugen, die den Hörer in einen Raum außerhalb unserer Erde beförderte, wohingegen konventionelle(re) Instrumente den Klang letztlich doch (manchmal allzu sehr) auf dem Boden der Welt verankerten.

„Dark Matter“ besteht aus drei langen Tracks: „Subspace“ beginnt mit einem melodischen Ton, bevor die typischen tiefen Basssounds einsetzen. Auf „Astronomicon“ scheint Wind zu wehen, der an Stärke zunimmt und auch „Black Static“ wird von einem dunklen Brummen dominiert, ganz so, als solle die im Booklet als Umkehrung des biblischen Schöpfungsmythos abgedruckte Behauptung „The Universe began of darkness, not of light“ unterstrichen werden. Nach 70 Minuten tiefster Schwärzer ist der Hörer sicherlich soweit, das zu glauben. [MG]

Polyphonia (Poland):

Brian Williams nagrywa pod szyldem Lustmord od przeszło trzydziestu lat. Właśnie powraca z nową dark ambientową płytą.

Williamsa uznaje się za jednego z pionierów dark ambientu. Jego mroczne dźwięki znamy także z wielu ścieżek filmowych ( „The Crow”, „Underworld”), reklam czy gier komputerowych. Brytyjczyk rejestrował swoje nagrania w tak osobliwych miejscach jak katakumby, groty, jaskinie, schrony i kopalnie. Od jego poprzedniego wydawnictwa „The Word As Power” minęły już trzy lata. Tegoroczny krążek Lustmorda nosi nazwę „Dark Matter” i dostarcza nam trzy kompozycje.

Te długie, bo ponad dwudziestominutowe utwory przenoszą nas w otchłań wszechświata, ponieważ kosmos jest motywem przewodnim tego krążka. – „Wszechświat rozpoczął się od ciemności, a nie od światła” – pisze Williams, co też dobitnie słychać w „Astronomicon”. Lustmord utkał swoją opowieść bazując na fragmentach wyszperanych z dźwiękowych zasobów (pochodzących z lat 1993 – 2003) różnych miejsc (biblioteka, radio), takich jak NASA (Cape Canaveral, Ames, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Arecibo), The Very Large Array czy The National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Poza tym wszystkim, źródło dźwięku zostało wydobyte także z kwazarów, egzotycznych obiektów astrofizycznych, kosmicznych dysz, magnetarów i nie tylko.

Twórca przekazuje nam też sporo swoich przemyśleń związanych z kosmosem: Około sześćdziesięciu ośmiu procent wszechświata jest niewidzialną ciemną energią i około dwudziestu siedem procent to niewidzialna ciemna materia. Opowiada również między innymi o drganiach elektromagnetycznych we wszechświecie, które są nieodłącznym elementem przestrzeni kosmosu.

Na „Dark Matter” w moim mniemaniu najciekawsze rzeczy dzieją się w utworze „Subspace”, gdzie w tych z pozoru statycznych i niespeszeni toczących się dronach skryły się drobinki dźwiękowe, które z jednej strony chronią nas przed wrażeniem nudy i banału, a z drugiej wzmacniają siłę wyrazu tego kosmicznego wyziewu. Warto wsiąść w kapsułę Lustmorda, ale tą z napisem „Subspace”. [ŁUKASZ KOMŁA]

Le Son du Grisli (France):

Le sujet – la matière noire – aurait pu inspirer Lustmord bien avant Dark Matter, dernière référence en date de la discographie que Brian Williams inaugura sous ce nom en duo avec John Murphy. Serait-ce alors un pas vers l’ultra-noir que ferait ici, en trois temps, l’une des grandes figures de l’ambient ombreuse ?

Il faudra tenir les claustrophobes éloignés de ces nappes soufflant le froid et de ces sirènes qui, sur deux notes, balisent un paysage lugubre qui ne peut que faire effet sur le voyageur derrière lequel se sont refermées de grandes et lourdes portes de métal. Pour cette sorte de descente aux Enfers qu’il lui a promise, Lustmord oblige en plus son invité à un transport aussi lent que le sien.

Prendre, alors, garde aux bruits sourds que vobulent les résonances et les vents contraires : confinée à un environnement hostile mais ravissant aussi, l’écoute s’empare d’un paquet de rumeurs auxquelles elle attachera presque autant de fantasmes noirs. Si la dernière piste est moins impressionnante – allongeant l’expérience d’une distance de trop – est-ce parce qu’elle accompagne le lent retour à la surface du musicien et de son invité ? [Guillaume Belhomme]

Touching Extremes (net):

How many times has the name “Lustmord” been uttered or typed, when it comes to music impassively conveying the darkness of abyssal cavities, or a hypothetical illustration of atemporal void?

Now, seeing a Brian Williams release on Touch is one of those natural events that for a reason or another had not happened, but was meant to. Dark Matter is the obvious culmination of a process destined to engender a classic; and boy, is this record a classic – with the capital C. Consisting of three extended tracks, it’s perhaps the most profound cycle of quasi-standstills and stupefactive climates ever conceived by the California-resident Welshman.

Born from elements of cosmological activity, the electroacoustic lattice conjures up imponderable ubiquities, foggy prospects and heartrending remote calls. Not a surprise, of course. Prohibitively low ranges represent the predominant factor in the mix; a severe immensity derived from layers of immeasurable sub-pulses and altered tones. Prior to reading explanations, I was hearing whales in there. The mind, you know.

Contrarily to the myths surrounding the deus ex machina, we’re quite distant from the evocation of malign spirits, and never for a second we perceived a “rich soundtrack for black hole tripping” smell. Instead, Williams is a master of confluences, diverse sonic currents uniting in a huge tidal wave of brain-nourishing frequencies. These atmospheres appear more submarine than lunar to these ears, though; one is sure that there are dangers lurking, but is equally convinced that it would be preferable to push the existence through this lucid numbness rather than come back to hear squalid everyday characters polluting silence.

Imitators, dissolve yourselves in a pool of tears: in this playground, Lustmord remains untouchable.

Against the Silence (Greece):

Οι δυνατότητες μας είναι περιορισμένες, οι αισθήσεις μας ατελείς και η φαντασία μας δεν μπορεί να καταλήξει στο τι μπορεί να συμβαίνει στην κάθε μακρινή “γωνία” του σύμπαντος. Ο Brian Williams, γνωστός ως Lustmord, υπόσχεται να μας μεταφέρει στην απύθμενη μεγάλη περιοχή πέρα από τον γαλαξία της Ανδρομέδας, βγάζοντας από το μυαλό μας κάθε έννοια του χώρου, του χρόνου, της απόστασης, της φοράς. Dark Matter το όνομα του άλμπουμ που θα κυκλοφορήσει από την Touch στις 30 Σεπτέμβρη. Τρία εξαιρετικά μελετημένα κομμάτια-αποσπάσματα που βρίσκονται υπό κύηση από το 2001. Η συλλογή των ήχων έγινε από το Cosmological Activity της NASA, The Very Large Array, The National Astronomy Observatory και διάφορες άλλες πηγές.

Με επίκεντρο γύρω από την ιδέα ότι το σύμπαν αποτελείται κυρίως από σκοτεινή ενέργεια, το Dark Matter μας πετάει ομαλά στο άγνωστο, πέρα από κάθε φαντασία, ανάμεσα σε γαλαξιακές ηχητικές παρεμβολές, διαστρικά πλάσματα και μόρια, ακτινοβολίες από συνθλίψεις κηφήνων και χιονοστιβάδες από κοσμικούς πίδακες.

Ondarock (Italy):

La lunga gestazione di un’opera d’arte può dipendere non soltanto da un’ispirazione intermittente o dalla necessità di rivedere insistentemente ogni dettaglio, inseguendo una propria idea di “perfezione” e compiutezza. A volte quel che manca è un’adeguata materia prima, elementi di base senza i quali certe suggestioni possono risultare falsate, al loro fautore più che a coloro che ne fruiranno in seguito.
Per un maestro di lunga data della dark-ambient come Brian “Lustmord” Williams, elaborare una rappresentazione dell’immenso vuoto cosmico non poteva prescindere dalle seppur minime tracce sonore rilevate e catalogate presso gli istituti astronomici, che hanno così aggiunto un prezioso corpus documentario al patrimonio scientifico dell’umanità.

Gli strumenti della Nasa e di altri importanti osservatorii hanno reso percepibili diversi fenomeni cosmologici che altrimenti non potremmo udire nel loro contesto d’origine, dove ogni equipaggiamento risulta essenziale per isolare il corpo dall’energia distruttiva delle particelle subatomiche. Le registrazioni custodite nei rispettivi archivi sono state effettuate tra il 1993 e il 2003: Williams ha atteso diversi anni prima di poterle ascoltare e solo un anno fa vi ha messo mano per creare “Dark Matter”, tra le uscite di punta della Touch per il 2016.

Se in molti casi l’obiettivo ultimo della musica ambient è quello di stabilire un contatto empatico con chi ascolta, ricercando più o meno direttamente certe sensazioni distensive o estatiche, la corrente dark ottiene il proprio effetto perturbante con la negazione del suono armonico, dando paradossalmente voce a un vuoto pneumatico che muova in direzione di un prosciugamento totale, di senso come di tratti estetici.
È l’assenza di legami con la realtà percepita a generare l’orrore atavico e pervasivo di questi tre atti unici. E per dire la verità, se non ne conoscessimo la fonte, sarebbe difficile indovinare la provenienza di questi suoni, foggiati alla stessa maniera dei primi esperimenti glaciali di Thomas Köner come anche della torbida “Blood Music” di Yen Pox, di segno opposto all’origine ma con approdi convergenti nella stessa inumana desolazione.

Il soundscape circoscritto da Lustmord è solo una possibile sintesi di ciò che intende rappresentare, ma è comunque sufficiente a farci immaginare una vastità in minima parte occupata da corpi solidi, talmente sproporzionata da sfuggire alla parola e annullare i termini di confronto con l’esperienza limitata del nostro mondo.
Ogni elemento di un siffatto scenario sembra suggerire che l’avventura si sia spinta oltre un limite invalicabile, troppo al di là della nostra comprensione: in “Subspace” risuonano i lamenti di radar dispersi, fioche spie luminose che galleggiano nel nulla più profondo; “Astronomicon” (forse dal lovecraftiano “Necronomicon”?) ne è l’epicentro impossibile, il crocevia di scie cosmiche che si intersecano esercitando attriti sinistri nella loro mancata collisione.

“Black Static” è un soffio continuo e opprimente che sembra trascinare con sé l’ombra di una forma di vita inconoscibile, un’immagine la cui statura abnorme è offuscata dagli anni luce che ce ne separano. La nostra ricerca è ancora agli inizi, e non sembra esistere un terrore abbastanza sovrastante da scoraggiarla.
Prendete una bella boccata d’ossigeno prima di affrontare questa lunga traversata, sapendo che il ritorno potrebbe non essere un’opzione. [Michele Palozzo]

Bad Alchemy (Germany):


Musik an Sich (Germany):

Lustmord ist eines der wohl bekanntesten Dark-Ambient-Projekte. Bereits seit 1981 veröffentlicht Brian Williams unter diesem Namen Alben. Inzwischen sind es über 25. Dabei und auch daneben arbeitete er mit einigen bekannten Namen, unter anderem Jon Ballance, Chris & Cosey, Clock DVA, Current 93, Melvins, Nurse with Wound und sogar Musikern von Tool zusammen und komponierte Filmscores für Filme wie “The Crow”.

Für sein neues Album Dark Matter verarbeitete er Fieldrecordings aus den Jahren 1993 – 2003, die er unter anderem auf verschiedenen NASA-Arealen wie z.B. Cape Canaveral und Arecibo aufgenommen hat. Der Hintergrund des Albums ist die Dunkelheit des Alls, am besten beschrieben in der Aussage des Künstlers: „The Universe began with darkness, not with light“.

Diese Aussage spiegelt dann auch wie der Albumtitel ziemlich genau wieder, was den Hörer erwartet. Die drei Tracks des Albums, zwischen 20 und knapp 28 Minuten lang, sind oberflächlich gehört drei überlange, dunkle Drones. Doch diese haben es wirklich in sich. Denn Lustmord gelingt es, sehr viel Tiefe in diesen Sound zu bringen. So beginnt das erste Stück mit etwas helleren Keyboardsounds. Unter diesen beginnen dunkle Sounds zu rumoren und es breiten sich langsam Sounds und Geräusche aus. Lustmord gelingt es über die komplette Spielzeit, durch das langsame Einbringen neuer Sounds, das leichte Verschieben der Klänge, minimale Veränderungen von Tempo und Sound, eine unglaubliche Tiefe zu erschaffen.

Dass daraus nicht 70 fröhliche Tanmusikminuten entstehen, sollte jedem klar sein. Nein, die teilweise durchaus auch mal beängstigenden Sounds führen den Hörer mit einem gelungenem Spannungsbogen durch diesen dunklen Soundtrack. Gehört über Kopfhörer kann man in diesen Sounds eine tiefe Entspannung finden, oder einen Albtraum erleiden, sollte man beim Genuss der Scheibe einschlafen.

Dark Matter gehört sicherlich zu dem Besten, was die Dark Ambient- / Drone-Szene bieten kann. [Wolfgang Kabsch]

Resident Adviser (USA):

Brian Williams first made reference to Dark Matter back in 2001, and even then it was “long-delayed.” The album’s concept is still promising 15 years later: music made from recordings of deep space and cosmic activity between 1993 and 2003, collected from a variety of sources, including NASA. What does deep space sound like? It’s foreboding and impossibly huge, enveloping and empty all at once. In other words, it sounds like a Lustmord record, albeit a near-impenetrable one that makes his previous albums sound like a walk in the park.

“Dark matter” refers to an unknown material estimated to make up about 27% of the universe, and this album is similarly implacable. It’s droning and all-encompassing, coating any environment it enters with a sense of dread and wonder. If outer space is thought of as a vacuum with no life or sound, then Dark Matter paints a more fanciful picture. Here, deep space is a never-ending vista of the unknowable, saturated with the humming and buzzing of the universe.

From the first moment of “Subspace” you’re suspended in Williams’ severe world, a stage-setting that dwarfs and immerses the listener. Trying to pick out details in the audio is like squinting to see shapes in a pitch-black room. As your ears adjust, you notice things: pockets of static, a high whooshing that’s somewhere between whale cries and sonar pings. The latter sound repeats irregularly throughout Dark Matter, disappearing during the formidable rumble of “Astronomicon” and then surfacing again later. It’s one of the only recognizable motifs on a record that otherwise feels like a wall of atmospheric noise.

Though the mood is no different from previous Lustmord records, Dark Matter is more opaque. Williams is largely credited with inventing dark ambient, but Dark Matter toes a line between that genre and regular ambient music. A Lustmord classic like Heresy made use of guitar and other instruments in a way typically associated with rock music, while his last album, The Word As Power, prominently featured vocals. They had unnerving melodies and progressions, tension and release. Dark Matter has no such window dressing. It’s just the lonely sound of outer space, manipulated into formless, 20-plus-minute compositions.

Dark Matter is an oppressive record in Williams’ already challenging discography. It sounds totally out of time and place, fitting for a project that took almost two decades of working with otherworldly source material. It’s no surprise that Williams found inspiration in a lifeless, blackened realm that few have fully explored—that’s basically what he’s been doing from the start. [Andrew Ryce]

Trust (Germany):

Musique Machine (UK):

Dark Matter sees this industrial legend & dark ambient pioneer returning to one of his favourite subjects/ themes- deep dark space, and it’s often eerier vast-ness. This CD release from late summer 2016 offers up three lengthy works, and it’s fair to say it’s some of the most compelling & haunting dark ambience I’ve heard in a good few years.
The three twenty-to-twenty seven minute tracks are built around a blend of manipulated recordings of deep space sounds and cosmic activity from between the years 1993 and 2003- taking in recordings from various sources, including NASA. These recordings are skilfully stretched, layered, and built together to create these vast & slowly shifting sound-worlds, which take in the vastness, mystery, and wholly compelling atmospheric darkness of deep space. Each track is both eventful, yet considered in it’s unfold- with Lustmord very carefully treading the line between worthy compositionally progression and atmosphere. Also there is a fairly varied blend of different types of texturally settings, as well as often memorable & haunting harmonic drifts running through all three of the tracks lifetimes.

From the very start to the last minute one is total captured by the albums slowly shifting sonic landscapes- like all great ambient work this has to taken as a whole journey, and one long 70 minute ride. You have to let yourself become one with the slow ebb & flow of the sonic landscapes; as you both ponder the seemingly uncharted vastness of space, and mankind’s small-ness with in the universe.

Simply put Dark Matter is a dark ambient masterpiece- which I can see myself returning to again & again, for both it’s skilful unfold, cleverly layered detail, and haunting yet highly compelling vast-ness.

Spectrum Culture (USA):

What does space sound like? A lot like a Lustmord album. On its new album Dark Matter, made in part from the sampled sounds of space, it’s hard to tell what’s what.

If you know anything about outer space, it’s easy to tell which sounds couldn’t possibly come from there: the wet, fuzzy sea of static that threatens to subdue “Astronomicon,” for instance, or the dubby pings near the beginning of the same song. The drones on “Black Static” fade about halfway through into what sounds like a singing bowl, that staple of dark ambient. The opening high notes of “Subspace” form too neat a melody to have arisen naturally.

Lustmord and whatever being or force of nature created the cosmos like a lot of the same sounds: deep bass rumbles, subsonic drones. What might sound like outer space to anyone who’s tuned into NASA’s library of cosmic field recordings – or heard any other recording made with space sounds, like Biosphere’s Autourd de la Lune or Terry Riley’s Sun Rings – might as easily be generated by Lustmord’s electronics.

Welsh industrial musician Brian Williams has recorded under the Lustmord name since 1980, and has released dozens of albums since then. He has made recordings from sources that are disparate and unusual, from slaughterhouses to Tibetan horns. Most of the sounds here could be found on any one of his previous albums. If the new album doesn’t offer many surprises, fans should like it just fine. It delivers more of what Williams has always dished out: deep, bassy, dark, amelodic ambient music. Some may be disappointed Lustmord didn’t do a bit more with the space sounds; this doesn’t make quite as flamboyant a show of its source material as The Word As Power, the band’s last studio album, did with its high-profile guest vocalists. Furthermore, Dark Matter is slight at only three tracks, though each carries its weight.

Non-Lustmord fans should be warned: this stuff requires patience. Each track clocks in at between 20 and 30 minutes, long even by ambient standards. Listeners used to music this formidable will delight in getting lost in its cavernous drones and every minuscule change in texture (really the album is all texture) will take on the significance of a major event. Those who like their ambient shorter, cleaner and prettier might be left wondering why the record’s been going for half an hour and nothing has happened yet. (Try falling asleep to it.)

Dark Matter expertly evokes the vastness of outer space. Though this is dark ambient, there’s little foreboding or dread. Instead, Lustmord creates an eerie, sterile calm, occasionally interrupted by swells of bass that seem impossibly huge but distant – miles, perhaps even light-years, off. Not much happens in space, but it’s still a dangerous, mysterious, frightening place. The same could be said of Dark Matter, an album content to do little more than create a void for the listener to get sucked into. [Daniel Bromfield]

Brainwashed (USA):

Brian Lustmord’s latest opus, allegedly first begun 15 years ago, attempts to evoke the immense void and mystery of space using a host of cosmological recordings from NASA and others as his source material. There are a number of serious hurdles standing in the way of that ambitious and quixotic objective, sadly, but Dark Matter boasts enough flashes of inspiration to make it an interesting and valiant struggle. Though serious Lustmord fans will probably be delighted to hear Brian revisiting similar territory to his classic The Place Where the Black Stars Hang album, his epic vision is hobbled a bit by the limitations of the format.

Dark Matter opens with its strongest and lengthiest piece, the 27-minute “Subspace,” which is centered around a wonderfully eerie, distant, and forlorn-sounding two-note melody. While that “hook” is the most important part of the piece for me, such touches are quite peripheral to Lustmord’s central vision here: Dark Matter is primarily an album of deep throbbing drones, cavernous rumbles, ominous whooshes, volcanic bubbling, and distant crackling. Therein lies the root of my issues with the album, as Lustmord is first and foremost a brilliant and exacting technician fixated on mood and texture, while his interest in being a composer is clearly of secondary concern. To his credit, a lack of attention to melody and harmony makes perfect sense thematically, as space is ostensibly a soundless void. Veracity and thematic purity do not always make for a great listening experience though. On this particular piece, however, Brian strikes an excellent balance between composition and sound design: “Subspace” gradually becomes subsumed by drifting emptiness and mysterious crackles before a second strong theme emerges from the lonely void in the form of something that sounds like a whale song. It is a genuinely satisfying arc. That balance is the exception rather than the rule, however: if the entire album stuck with that precarious and unpredictable ebb and flow between form and formlessness, I would probably like it a lot more than I do.

Aside from “Subspace,” Dark Matter often sounds like it is on dark ambient autopilot. Each piece ultimately boasts a showstopping set piece, but there are a lot of lengthy, frustrating lulls between flashes of actual greatness. For example, “Astronomicon” has a wonderfully haunting final motif, but it takes about 15 minutes to get there. Of course, Brian was not actually on autopilot for this album and that is where things get thorny. Part of the problem is that Lustmord (much to his chagrin) was one of the primary architects of the dark ambient genre, influencing a host of other artists in the ’90s. The resulting glut of lesser, yet very similar, music necessarily made Lustmord feel a lot less special. As a long career in film and videogame and sound design can attest, Brian is head and shoulders above most of his peers in the actual mechanics of his craft–unfortunately, however, an amorphous flow of subterranean rumbles, deep throbs, crackles, buried howls, and whooshes in the hands of a dilettante sounds a hell of a lot like the same thing done by a master on most stereos. Without anything resembling melody or rhythm, the only obvious differences between similar artists in that milieu are largely technical and conceptual.

Naturally, Brian is well aware of his predicament and has noted in the past that his rare live performances are partly done just so people can hear how Lustmord is actually supposed to sound. Consequently, Dark Matter is fundamentally a bit an indulgent and insular release, existing almost as a site-specific work designed solely to be experienced on Brian’s own amazing home stereo system, as he has observed that very few people will be able to properly experience its visceral and seismic low frequencies. Another problem is that sonically trying to evoke the bleak immensity of space is inherently futile (space’s sounds are generally at wavelengths that we cannot hear) and conveying infinity in an absorbing way is also no picnic. Trying to hold my attention for 70 minutes with hollow whooshes, clanging metal, cavernous gurgling, and muted roars is a similarly unpromising endeavor, so it takes a lot of patience, attention, and volume to fully appreciate Dark Matter’s secrets. Having to wait a quarter of an hour for both “Astronomicon” and “Black Static” to fully evolve into something remarkable is far from optimal, but both are great once they finally catch fire.

The more I listen to Dark Matter, the more I find myself conflicted about it. The only things that I am certain of are 1.) an enormous amount of work went into it, and 2.) an album is hopelessly inadequate for conveying the full majesty of Lustmord’s vision. I wanted to love Dark Matter and I lamentably do not, but the reasons for my vague sense of unfulfillment were initially hard to nail down. At first, I thought this was a significant regression from the crazily ambitious and divergent The Word as Power and that Brian’s day job has begun to bleed a bit too much into his art (at normal volume, Dark Matter would provide a perfect atmosphere for a dark sci-fi game or film). Those assessments are not entirely off the mark compositionally, as Dark Matter definitely retreats to Lustmord’s longtime comfort zone, but it is equally true that this album may very well be Brian’s magnum opus, albeit with some asterisks. I am not going to say that Brian was too ambitious, but I do believe that his intent here far outstretched the capabilities of the medium: Dark Matter is an album that begs to be experienced on a grand scale (like an earthquake) rather than just heard. As such, it is a bit underwhelming and easy to ignore for long stretches in its current form, but it is not hard to imagine these three pieces feeling like the voice of God if they were experienced at apocalyptic volume in the right context.

Blow Up (Italy):

Dark Entries (Belgium):

Dark Matter bestaat uit drie lange stukken, elk goed voor minstens 20 minuten, waarop Brian Williams aka Lustmord ons meeneemt op een ruimtereis die nog lang zal nazinderen.
De man die van essentieel belang is wat betreft het dark ambient genre, getuige hiervan een mijlpaal als Heresy (1990), nog steeds een van de meest beangstigende platen uit de muziekgeschiedenis.
‘Subspace’, waar het allemaal begint, leviteert je naar hogere stratosferen alwaar de zeer ijzige soundscapes ervoor zorgen dat een algehele ijlte zich van je meester maakt. Op het punt dat de wetten van de zwaartekracht niet meer van toepassing zijn, zweef je doorheen ‘Astronomicon’, een atmosferische trip doorheen de ruimte met al zijn verborgen geluiden die deze met zich meedraagt.
Eenmaal helemaal in de kern doorgedrongen te zijn, kom je via ‘Black Static’ in een draaikolk terecht, de zuigkracht van deze spiraal is van een dergelijke kracht dat weerstand bieden zinloos is, het statische zwart waarvan sprake klinkt als een muur van atmosferische noise, en Dark Matter als geheel laat zich situeren tussen reguliere en dark ambient. Eentje waarbij je haast een drilboor nodig hebt om je doorheen te werken, vooral door de grootsheid (ook eigen aan de ruimte) ervan. Het is Lustmord dan ook gelukt om een realistisch audio beeld van de ruimte te scheppen, en meteen een garantie voor een van de opmerkelijkste platen die we dit jaar op de draaitafel mochten leggen.
Waarom Lustmord voor Dark Matter de ruimte uitkoos om zich in uit te leven, legt hij graag even zelf uit: “Het universum dat we bewonen is een enorme uitgestrektheid veel groter dan we in staat zijn te begrijpen. Als we proberen om de onderliggende structuur ervan te begrijpen en nieuwe inzichten trachten te verkrijgen in de aard van de materie, rijzen nieuwe vragen op en worden verdere hiaten in ons begrip onthuld.
Achter de wereld die we ervaren ligt er een sluier van duisternis waar nog veel tussen verborgen ligt, voorbij het ongeziene. We zijn beperkt door ons onvermogen om de oneindige breedte van het universum, de betrokken tijdschalen in zijn meetbaarheid en onze onbelangrijke positie hierin, echt te begrijpen. Bepaalde dingen zullen altijd ongekend blijven, dingen waarvan het bestaan niet begint of eindigt met de conceptie van de mens. Alles wat ooit is waargenomen door de mens, zelfs met de meest geavanceerde instrumenten, bedraagt tot minder dan vijf procent van het heelal. Ongeveer 68% van het heelal is onzichtbare donkere energie en ongeveer 27% is donkere materie. We moeten nog ontdekken wat donkere materie is, enkel kennis hieromtrent volstaat niet.
Hoewel het niet direct waargenomen is, kan met het bestaan en de eigenschappen ervan afleiden uit de effecten op de zichtbare materie, de invloed ervan op de grootschalige structuur van het heelal en de gevolgen ervan in de kosmische achtergrondstraling ervan niet ontkennen.
Het universum begon vanuit duisternis, niet uit licht.
Hoewel de ruimte een virtueel vacuüm is, betekent dit niet dat er geen geluid in de ruimte is. Ze bestaan in de ruimte als natuurlijk voorkomende elektromagnetische trillingen waarvan vele binnen het bereik van het menselijk gehoor liggen, terwijl anderen bestaan op verschillende gebieden van het elektromagnetisch spectrum, die aangepast met software, binnen ons audiogebied gebracht kunnen worden.
De opnames van deze interacties in de ruimte komen van verschillende omgevingen, waaronder radio, ultra violet, microgolven en X-ray data en binnen deze spectra is er een breed scala aan bronnen, waaronder instellaire plasma en moleculen, radio melkwegstelsels, pulsar masers en quasars, interacties en emissies van geladen deeltjes, straling, exotische astrofysische objecten, kosmische stralen en vuurpijlen uit magnetars.”
De geluiden die Lustmord verzamelde zijn niet zomaar eigen verzinsels, ze werden afgeleid uit een audio bibliotheek van kosmologische activiteit, verzameld tussen 1993 en 2003. Hiervoor werden verschillende bronnen geraadpleegd waaronder de NASA (Cape Canaveral, Ames, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory en Arecibo), The Very Large Array, The National Radio Astronomy Observatory maar ook verschillende educatieve instellingen en particuliere donateurs in heel Amerika.
Een vette kluif dus voor sciencefiction fanaten, of mensen die bezig zijn met astronomie. Maar ook al heb je niet zo veel met het thema, dan nog kan je er niet omheen dat dit een gitzwarte ambient plaat is. In het verleden dook hij al onder de grond voor een duistere sound (ten tijde van Heresy was dat, grotendeels opgenomen in bunkers, kelders, grotten, etc.), Dark Matter toont dat mijlenver boven de grond de sfeer ook unheimlich en Lustmord-scary is. [Dimi Brands]

freq (UK):

Lustmord has long had an affinity with space, both the sonic space of his heavily dub-inspired soundscapes and the actual physical space of the cosmos. For people of Lustmord’s and my generation, space was our future — where we all expected to be hanging out by the start of this century.Thanks to, in William S Burroughs‘ words, “the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams”, it was not to be.

As is the nature of advance review copies these days, Dark Matter arrived in digital format. After a couple of plays, it was evident that my Mac speakers, adequate for most things, were not up to the full sonic spectrum here… so a bit of re-wiring to link up my PA system then… ah that’s more like it! Despite being pigeon-holed as the founder of “dark ambient”, Lustmord’s music is anything but ambient and demands to be heard at as high a volume as is practical (fortunately my neighbours were away).

constructed from cosmological recordings obtained from NASA, The Very Large Array, The National Radio Astronomy Observatory and various educational institutions and other sources who “wish to remain anonymous”

A precedent to Dark Matter may be Tangerine Dream‘s 1970 masterpiece Zeit — both share an alchemical power to morph time and sound into space — but whereas TD employed cutting edge electronics of their era to evoke the vastness of the universe, Lustmord uses the sound of the universe itself. The three tracks, each over twenty minutes long, are constructed from cosmological recordings obtained from NASA, The Very Large Array, The National Radio Astronomy Observatory and various educational institutions and other sources who “wish to remain anonymous”, and are sewn together to stretch out into infinity… and beyond.

Lustmord’s interest in astrophysics was first evident in 1993’s The Place Where the Black Stars Hang, and Dark Matter does in some ways seem like a sequel. In the intervening twenty-three years, Lustmord has naturally acquired far more experience and Dark Matter subsequently gains a deeper tonal range and more noticeably, a wonderfully expansive yet subtle spacial soundscape.

the human element is entirely absent here, apart from its insignificance in the scheme of things

If you listen to the album at high volume or through headphones, you are guaranteed to float off into space… at a fraction of NASA’s budget. Dark Matter is very different to Lustmord’s previous release The Word as Power, which came up close and intimate to explore the rich textures of the human voice — the human element is entirely absent here, apart from its insignificance in the scheme of things; but hey, who wants the same thing twice?

Apparently some of these sounds are actually generated within the range of human hearing, despite the conception of there being no sound in space, while others have been transformed into our range via software manipulation. According to Mr Lustmord:

The recordings of these interactions in space come from several different environments including radio, ultra violet, microwave and X-ray data and within these spectra a wide range of sources including interstellar plasma and molecules, radio galaxies, pulsars masers and quasars, charged particle interactions and emissions, radiation, exotic astrophysical objects, cosmic jets and flares from magnetars.

Turn out the lights, turn up the volume and bon voyage. [Alan Holmes]

Gonzo Circus (Belgium):


Rockaxis (Spain):

Álbum que se instituye como antagonista físico de las seis partes en que se divide el destacado y subterráneo “Heresy” (1990), disco que se originaba en grabaciones realizadas en cuevas, volcanes, criptas, y en un variado espectro de sonidos emanados desde las profundidades de la tierra. Sin embargo, en este “Dark Matter”, el calvo hombre del hexágono dirige su mirada hacia el oscuro universo: las tres extensas pistas que lo integran se originan en audios de actividad astronómica recogida por diversas instituciones encargadas de desarrollar la compleja tarea de resolver, comprender  y explicar el misterio infinito, aquello sin inicio, sin tiempo ni muerte.

‘Subspace’ comienza como un despegue, como el brote de un viaje por regiones tonales constantes que parecieran estáticas en su siniestra textura. Un lento avance que se desenvuelve entre pesadas frecuencias amenazadas por ecos tormentosos provenientes de lugares inobservados del ingrávido universo. Una perspectiva que plasma un tenebrismo espacial que persiste en ‘Astronomicon’, pieza que cita al poema cósmico más antiguo que se conoce, y cuya terrorífica sonoridad pareciera cinematográfica, como si relatara terribles enfrentamientos solares o espesas explosiones siderales que interrumpen los minimalistas mantos sonoros que se extienden por amplios minutos.

El debut de Lustmord en el encumbrado sello Touch, propiedad de Jon Wozencroft (creador de la abstracta carátula de éste y muchos otros discos editados por la plataforma), continúa con ‘Black Static’, pieza de una condensada energía que se va liberando entre profundas exhalaciones electrónicas. Un drone etéreo pero, a su vez, orgánico, como de animal vivo y de oscuridad latente que se exalta a través de extendidas radiaciones de timbre microscópico y eléctrico. Un oscilante bucle astral con el que Lustmord habla por un cosmos que pareciera mudo e inasible, acentuando que aun cuando todo lo que es, deje de serlo, igualmente subsistirá el enérgico concierto del universo, el ruido secreto de lo infinito. [Carlos Navarro A.]

Neural (Italy):

Brian Williams, aka Lustmord – a veteran of dark ambient scenes and member of the industrial combo SPK – has for the first time published a solo album under his own name with Touch Music, an old and well-known, experimental British label. The label was founded by Jon Wozencroft, having the aim to emphasize an approach more focused on multimedia and audio-video. This release is a perfect addition to the label’s catalogue: an interesting, detailed and super-vivid cosmogony. The starting inspiration is a creative vacuum, an image that recalls any act of creation, both artistic and physical. “We’ve always tried to pay attention to all of those invisible feelings and ideas about atmosphere and space and presence that are difficult to talk about and need a context in order to be talked about.” This was what Jon Wozencroft said about Touch, long time before this release. The words now make even more sense, following the inspiration of dark matter, a formless substance looking for new models of aggregation, a different and propulsive breath. The sounds played by Williams in this album are field recordings coming from several sources including NASA (Cape Canaveral, Ames, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Arecibo), The Very Large Array, The National Radio Astronomy Observatory and various educational institutions and private supporters all over the USA. These sounds are waves and frequencies traveling over the sidereal space. Some of them are difficult to be recognized by the human ear. According to scientific studies, the sound waves cannot be transmitted in the vacuum of space. If outer space is seen as a vacuum, a dream world where synthetic landscapes and plasticity of visual forms invented by Lustmord correspond to a state of mind, this suspended galaxy, filled by a kind of all-inclusive buzz, goes beyond every infinitesimal singular body. The composition refers to the old-school kosmische musik, suspended between the krautrock and ambient. As a result, this production is at the same time hyper-contemporary while also being classic and vibrant too. [Aurelio Cianciotta]

Tone 54 – Bethan Kellough “Aven”

Compact disc in slip case – 5 tracks – 27:54
Limited edition of 500 copies
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft
Mastered by Denis Blackham
Release date: 26th August 2016

Live at VOLUME, Los Angeles, 30th April 2016 as part of Touch Conference

Track listing:

1. Descent
2. Vision
3. An Opening
4. Canopy
5. Low

The word ‘Aven’ refers to an underground shaft that leads upward from the roof of a cave passage.

Recorded with SoundField SPS200 & JrF C-Series contact microphones, Sennheiser ME64, Sound Devices 788T, Elektron Monomachine, RME Fireface UCX, and Cockos Reaper. Field recordings from Iceland, June 2015 and South Africa, November 2015.
Strings performed by Bethan Kellough.

Bethan Kellough creates sound worlds that weave together instrumental materials, sound design and ambisonic field recordings. Her composition ‘Aven’ is based on a recording made in Iceland in 2015, which features the booming sound of underground geothermal activity escaping to the surface through a small shaft. “Looking down into the darkness, there was a sense that a whole world existed in an unknown space beneath. The sound world of Aven is a journey through such an imagined environment.” The composition is driven by this sonic encounter, but enters the imagined worlds beneath through the instrumental material developed throughout the work. These melodic passages predominantly feature violin, which Bethan has played since childhood exploring traditional Scottish music, rock violin, free improvisation and classical studies. The field recordings used in Aven were made in Iceland during the Wildeye sound recording workshop with Chris Watson and Jez riley French, and in South Africa during the Sonic Mmabolela residency with Francisco Lopez and James Webb. Each of the recordings explore a world of sound beneath a surface, reflecting upon the initial recording environment at the geothermal site. In South Africa, an approaching storm was heralded by wind blowing through bushes in the savanna, underneath which was hidden a Soundfield microphone. A contact microphone on a fence in South Iceland revealed the tones of the wind contained inside the wires, and in an Icelandic nature reserve the wind was also captured by microphones buried underneath a layer of grass – a miniature world sheltered by the strands of dry straw.

Bethan Kellough (formerly Bethan Parkes) is a sound artist and composer. Her work spans across ambisonic composition, field recording, sound design and multichannel sound installation practices, drawing a focus on sonic spatial experience. Her works are designed to open out spaces with sound, exploring spatial aesthetics and the interactions between sonically and visually articulated spaces. The immersive sound-worlds she creates inhabit the boundaries between music and sound design, weaving together instrumental materials, sound design and ambisonic field recordings.

She holds a PhD in Sonic Arts from the University of Glasgow. In 2015 she joined the Touch Mentorship Programme.

Her works have been exhibited and performed internationally, including at Touch Conference, Los Angeles, USA; Gallery of Russian Art and Design, London, UK; Resonant Forms Festival, Los Angeles, USA; Borealis Festival, Bergen, Norway; Jardins Efemeros Festival, Viseu, Portugal; Spazio Bocciofila, Venice, Italy; The Global Composition International Conference, Dieburg, Germany; Symposium on Acoustic Ecology, University of Kent, UK; Sound Thought Festival, Glasgow, UK.

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TO:101 – Claire M Singer “Solas”

Double CD in digifile – 7 tracks – 68:11
+ bonus DL track

Track listing:

1. A Different Place 06:35
2. Ceò 05:39
3. Solas 10:50
4. Dìobaig 04:47
5. Eilean 11:36
6. Wrangham 06:47

1. The Molendinar 25:57
and Aisir (Bonus track) (download only)

All tracks written & performed by Claire M Singer
Mastered by Denis Blackham @ Skye
Photography & design by Jon Wozencroft

Solas, Wrangham & The Molendinar were recorded by Iain Berryman at Union Chapel, London 26-27th February 2016 on the organ built by Henry Willis in 1877
Mixed at Bennachie Studios, Aberdeen and EMS Goldsmiths, London
Violin extract on Eilean from “Land of the Standing Stones” composed and performed by Paul Anderson

Eilean was commissioned by Aberdeenshire Council and The Molendinar by Civic Room, Glasgow and Union Chapel

Solas (‘Light’ in Gaelic) is Claire M Singer’s debut album spanning 14 years of her work in acoustic and electronic composition. In recent years she has focused on writing and performing a mix of organ, cello and electronics with regular performances at Union Chapel where she is Music Director, running a diverse programme of concerts and educational workshops around the Chapel’s Henry Willis 1877 organ.

Other performances include the Roundhouse London by The LCO Soloists; a’ fàs soilleir, an audio-visual work, exhibited at Tate Modern London, XMV New York City and Ceremony Hall Austin TX and she has performed as part of Spire at Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam, Kunst-Station Sankt Peter Cologne and many more.

The Molendinar, which was co-commissioned in 2015 by Civic Room, Glasgow and Union Chapel, London to celebrate Glasgow’s Molendinar Burn Project was performed on the 14th June 2016 at Glasgow Cathedral to conclude the weekend festival.

Track Notes:

A Different Place: Cello – Recorded in Bennachie Studios, Aberdeen in 2009
Ceò: Electronic work derived from recordings of cello, piano and percussion, recorded at EMS Goldsmiths in 2002
Solas: Organ and cello. Written and recorded at Union Chapel in 2015
Dìobaig: Cello. Recorded in Bennachie Studios, Aberdeen in 2009
Eilean: Electronic work derived from recordings of cello, piano, violin.
In 2009 Claire was commissioned by Aberdeenshire Council to write a new work for the Homecoming Scotland referencing “Land of the Standing Stones” composed and performed by Scottish fiddler Paul Anderson. Small extracts of Paul’s work can be heard interweaving throughout.
Wrangham: Organ and electronics. Written and recorded at Union Chapel in 2014
The Molendinar: Solo Organ. Written and recorded at Union Chapel 2015
The Molendinar is a co-commission between new Glasgow art gallery Civic Room and Union Chapel London. The work is part of The Molendinar Burn Project which is a twelve site series of art projects, each individually situated along the exact route of the Molendinar, a hidden burn upon which the city of Glasgow was founded by St Mungo in the sixth century.

The work explores the precise control of wind through the pipes and therefore can be played fully on a mechanical drawstop action organ (Union Chapel) or with the addition of electronics (from the Union Chapel Henry Willis organ) when performed on an electro-pneumatic organ (Glasgow Cathedral).

Aisir (Bonus track): Electronics. Originally an 8 channel work, recorded at EMS Goldsmiths in 2006

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Tone 53 – Simon Scott “Floodlines”

CD + full wav Download [If you buy from the TouchShop] – 1 track
Release date: 17th June 2016

Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft
Mastered by Denis Blackham @ Skye

Track listing:

1. Floodlines

Recorded live at Cafe Oto as part of “Touch presents…” on 31st January 2016

Simon Scott is a sound ecologist and multi-instrumentalist from Cambridge, England. His albums ‘Insomni’ (Ash International) and ‘Below Sea Level’ (12k/TouchLine) are out now (see above). His work explores the creative process of actively listening, the implications of recording the natural world using technology and the manipulation of natural sounds used for musical composition. He plays the drums in Slowdive and has recently collaborated with artists James Blackshaw, Spire, Taylor Deupree (Between), Isan + many more.

This is his first physical release for Touch.

Source material recorded in The Fens, East Anglia.

Simon Scott’s blistering live set from London follows his 2015 album ‘insomni’ but features his field recordings of areas of The Fens in East Anglia that cartographically are below mean sea level. They’re complimented by underwater hydrophone recordings taken on field research trips, making the unheard audible and brings the unseen to the surface. It’s a flat landscape that was devastated by the draining of The Fens in the 17th century. The ecosystem was damaged but these areas have been left to reflood and re-establish it’s vernacular wildlife, replete with its own instrumentation and orchestras. Tapping into these, Scott’s vision encourages us to explore the fertility of the flatlands of England.

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TouchLine 7 – Jez riley French “Portable Music”

Jez Riley French – Portable Music

Now available

Digital Download – 3 audio tracks – 64′ 26″

1. Score for a footbridge 22:00
2. Score for a locale 22:26
3. Score for geothermal ultrasonics 20:00

Photo: Pheobe riley Law

You can listen to an extract here

NB All three pieces on this release have duration as a key element and also explore frequencies that are inaudible on computer speakers. Please take this into account when listening to this extract.

Tone 45.6D – Anna von Hausswolff “Kallan (Prototype)”

Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft
Release date: 26th March 2016

Organ: Anna von Hausswolff. Recorded live at Lincoln Cathedral, 19th October 2013.
Performed at Frequency 13 Lincoln Digital Culture Festival as part of Touch presents…, (which also featured Chris Watson & Hildur Gudnadottir)

Recorded live by Mike Harding using 2 x dpa 4060s onto a Nagra Ares Pll digital recorder
This recording is unedited from the original raw file

Though she now lives in Stockholm, Anna von Hausswolff grew up in the once vibrant, bohemian neighbourhood of Haga in Gothenburg, Sweden, to a family who counted amongst their ancestors Bernhard Reynold von Hausswolff, an 18th Century governor of Falun, Sweden, who helped bring an end to the burning of witches. Although Anna has achieved acclaim with her song-based albums ‘Ceremony’ and Singing from the Grave (both first released on Kning Disk in Sweden), she has always had an ear for the radical approach, and this is the first step in a long-term collaboration with Touch.

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TouchLine 6 – Iain Chambers “Bascule Chamber Concert”

Iain Chambers – Bascule Chamber Concert

Now available

Digital Download – 3 audio tracks – 23’44”

1. Bascule Chambers (2015)
2. Three Poems (2015)
3. Hoketus Prima (2015)

Photo: Steve Stills

You can listen to an extract here

Tone 52V – Fennesz “Mahler Remix”

Double Vinyl + full wav Download [If you buy from the TouchShop] – 4 tracks
Release date: 29th January 2016
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft
Cut by Jason @ Transition

“Mahler Remix” was recorded live at Radiokulturhaus, Vienna by Christoph Amann, in May 2011. This recording is mostly based on samples taken from Gustav Mahler’s symphonies. The performance also includes an early version of ‘liminality’ from the ‘bécs’ album, released in 2014 on Editions Mego. ‘Mahler Remixed’ was a commissioned work performed together with the visual artist Lillevan.

Track listing:

1. Mahler Remix 1
2. Mahler Remix 2
3. Mahler Remix 3
4. Mahler Remix 4

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TouchLine 5 – Aino Tytti “Millennium Mills”

Aino Tytti – Millennium Mills


Digital Download – 8 tracks (FLAC & mp3) – 43:20
17pp PDF booklet of photographs and text

Track listing:

1. Observations from the nightwatch hut, late November
2. These halls which used to breathe and sing
3. England’s last lies ruined
4. Silo D
5. Waxing gibbous shines on the black king’s wharf (for Chrissie)
6. First light, crepuscular loculus
7. All that which was once lost
8. A requiem for Silvertown

You can listen to an extract here

Spire 6 – The Eternal Chord “Orga”

Download – 1 track – 23:49
Recorded by Achim Mohné
Photography by Mike Harding
With thanks to Georg Dietzler
Performed by Claire M Singer & Mike Harding at Sankt-Peter, Köln 6th November 2015

Track listing:

1. Orga