The magic of Christian Fennesz’s work comes in the way he turns the minimal into the maximal, expanding tiny moments into huge sonic environments. When making Agora, his first solo album in five years, the experimental ambient producer was forced to work minimally—after losing his studio space, he was relegated to using headphones in a bedroom—and he translated these restrictions into one of his most oversized works yet. The album’s four tracks are all over 10 minutes in length and unabashedly sweeping, as processed guitar tones and dense computer manipulations generate droning, nearly-orchestral waves. But each mountainous track is also filled with small details, be it a high-pitched squall, a grainy click, or a distant rumble. Like all of Fennesz’s best work, Agora evokes memories and the way they linger and change. But the album never feels faded or nostalgic; all of its enveloping sound is immensely present, pulsing with life. [Marc Masters]
Vinyl + DL – 4 tracks
Release date: 22nd November 2019
A2: Every Day XXL
B1: Shadow Position
B2: Isabella B.
There are 4 tracks, 4 different windows to look out from our studio in Düsseldorf into the street and their different layers of sound.
4 horizons, 4 spy holes in the door, 4 eyes and 4 shopping windows. 4 landscapes.
Witness the electric city and the power house. Strafe F.R. is sitting inside the fuse box. The electric chirp of the night. The socket in which we sleep. The dog comes, in order to devour Strafe F.R. First he eats the rebellion and next he bites the Strafe.
The house and the body, both are earthed and the veins are vibrating. Between the 3rd and the 4th hour of the morning we enter the realm of insomnia. You fly by not using an airplane.
An old woman is cleaning the door bells with her own spittle. The old man is distilling schnaps in his back garden. The swimmers are gliding through the day on top of a greasy film. The reception is a flare into seconds until it fades away into noise again. The kettle drum gives the rhythm of breathing, the bass determines the time. You stumble forward, forward into the next day.
From our window we see a public building where there exists a toilet, its porcelain shows the most beautiful craquele fissures. There is an historic poster of Lenin. It is fixed on a garden fence in the landscape and the stinging nettles grow over it softly swinging in the wind.
There are shadows but there is also brightness, this means there are complementary colours and contrasts, movements and reflection until there is stillness. We see the back-breeding of cattle in the Neanderthal age and at the same time we look into the large heating room of an art museum, where we observe tubes and their upstream pressure regulators.
All sounds and music instruments recorded by Strafe F.R. – Bernd Kastner, Siegfried M. Syniuga. “Shadow Position” was mixed by Rasmus Zschoch. “Nachtmaschine”, “Every Day XXL” and “Isabella B.” were mixed by Strafe F.R. at Strafe studio in 2019 / Düsseldorf. Thanks to Detlef Klepsch for additional technical support. Female vocal by Anna Nettra.
Book + CD – 100pp linen cover with foil blocking
69 photos and a portrait of Mika Vainio by Joséphine Michel, and an introductory essay by Jeremy Millar
CD Track listing:
1. Mika Vainio – Live at Contra Pop, Ramsgate 56:38
Release date: 1st November 2019
We are delighted to welcome Jana Winderen to Pomona College (Nov 5 & 6) and Fulcrum Arts, Pasadena (Nov 9)
Pomona College – free to members of the public
Nov 5th 4:15pm – Rose Hills Theatre, Smith Campus Center: Presentation of her work “Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone”
Nov 8th 2pm – Long Wave on Dublab, presented by Mike Harding with Gabi Strong & Ian Wellman. Tune in to Mike Harding’s monthly show on Los Angeles-based experimental radio station, Dublab. Jana Winderen will discuss her latest work and also the challenges confronting artists in the modern era, with professional field recordist Ian Wellman and artist and musician Gabi Strong.
Nov 9th – Fulcrum Arts – Free Radicals: On the Provocations of Awe – free with RSVP
Fulcrum Arts, the Williamson Gallery at ArtCenter, and Pitzer College Art Galleries will present the symposium, Free Radicals: On the Provocations of Awe, a program of Fulcrum Arts’ AxS (art + science) initiative.
Theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin will deliver the keynote presentation, and the symposium will also include presentations by Rana Adhikari, Bill Anthes, I.R. Bach, Nancy Baker Cahill, Beatriz Cortez, Ciara Ennis, Tom Hall, Ian Ingram, Karen Lofgren, Kyle McDonald, Rebeca Mendez, Chris Parks, Archie Prakash, Brittany Ransom, Christopher Richmond, Sasha Simochina, Jana Winderen, The World in a Cell, and Jenny Yurshansky.
CD + DL – 5 tracks – 64 mins
Vinyl for fetishists to follow in the new year…
CD format (mastered by Denis Blackham) is how the artist wants it to sound…
Release date: 11th October 2019
1. Living Space
2. Lo, Fr Ega
3. Collect Yourself/Well Arranged
4. Overt Too
5. Lighter Touch
Following ‘Slow Fade for Hard Sync’ (2009) and Location Momentum (2010), Living Space is Eleh’s third physical release for Touch. Seven years in the making, this new release consolidates the artist’s parallel narrative between a series of vinyl and CD releases for Important Records – where the emphasis is on a minimalist aesthetic – to a visual counterpoint that hints at the cinematic and painterly qualities of the music.
Sound, as a healing force, is an idea as old as the medium itself. Inspired by the legacy and above all the spirit of John Coltrane, Living Space features 5 new compositions that seek to express the beauty of slow change, not only through the microtonal shifts in sound that Eleh navigates but moving with the atmospheric and shape–shifting conditions that the music creates as it interacts with the listening space, whether bedroom or concert hall, each one of them unique.
If the ambition of Living Space is to reflect both personal and collective growth cycles, the experience of its audition has the effect of stopping time. Melodic and harmonic progressions are implied and not stated obviously, to enable listeners to apply their own emotions and feelings to the music.
Using modular and analogue synthesisers, piano, organ, bass and symphonic chimes, Living Space stresses the promise of the CD’s final track – ‘Lighter Touch’ – forsaking the forceful hand for an approach that mirrors the slower and softer exposures of plant life and leaf formations, slow moving waters, not flash floods nor forest fires.
In counterpoint to the music, the 60 minute CD is presented with a 6-panel digifile with Jon Wozencroft’s water photography extending the meditational pull of these new compositions. The Touch bandcamp page, which will be up later in the month, presents a fuller documentation of this photo–shoot (from Crete, 2018), with a 20pp PDF free for download.
For those for whom Eleh needs no introduction, see if you agree. Anyone who has yet to experience the artist’s sonic alchemy, Living Space is the perfect starting point.
Philip Jeck studied visual arts at Dartington College of Arts in the 1970’s and has been creating sound with record-players since the early 80’s. He has worked with many dance and theatre companies and played with musicians/composers such as Jah Wobble, Steve Lacy, Gavin Bryars, Jaki Liebezeit, David Sylvian, Sidsel Endresen and Bernhard Lang.
Bill Thompson is a video and sound artist living in the UK. He is a self-described throwback to the 60s and enjoys breaking things to hear what they sound like.
Mark Van Hoen (born 1966, London, England) is an electronic music composer and producer.. He has released seminal and influential recordings under his own name as
well as Locust, in additional to a multitude of collaborations with other artists. Pitchfork said, “Musically, Van Hoen belongs to a distinguished family tree. Originally influenced by the likes of Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream, and later presaging both Autechre’s glitch and Boards of Canada’s pastoral IDM.” His relationship with Touch stretches back over 25 years and his recent release “Invisible Threads” has been universally praised, and shows a new approach in a spectral, submersive, almost neo-Classical composition style.
Jana Winderen is an artist educated in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London
with a background in mathematics, chemistry and fish ecology from the University of Oslo. Jana focuses her work around audio environments and ecosystems which are hard
for humans to access, both physically and aurally.
DL – 1 track – 26:01
Release date: 26th August 2019
Recorded by Daniel Menche as part of Touch presents… live at iklectik, London on 22nd June 2019, which also featured People Like Us
CD + DL – 1 track – 32:45
+ bonus track, ‘zone vi’
Release date: 26th July 2019
Recorded by Mike Harding, 3rd May 2019 at AB Salon, Brussels
Mastered by Simon Scott @ SPS Mastering
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft
Eurorack modular: Make Noise René 2, Make Noise Tempi, Make Noise WoggleBug, Make Noise Morphagene, Make Noise QMMG, Make Noise tELHARMONIC, Make Noise Maths, Serge Resonant EQ, Mutable Instruments Shades, Mutable Instrument Clouds
Non-modular: Field recordings made using a Zoom H6 and LOM mikroUsi microphones, GE 35383 Micro Cassette Recorder
A lifelong expatriate, Bana Haffar was born in Saudi Arabia in 1987 and spent much of her childhood in the GCC. Through her switch from 10 years of electric bass, preceded by classical violin, to modular synthesizers in 2014, Bana is attempting to dismantle years of institutional conditioning in traditional systems of music theory and performance. She is interested in exploring sonic disintegration and coalescence into new forms and synthesized experiences. Bana lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
Bana Haffar – Bird’s Eye (bonus track)
Vinyl + DL only – 15 tracks
Limited edition of 300 – white sleeve + sticker – white labels
Release date: 12th July 2019
Artwork by Jon Wozencroft
Mastered & cut by Jason @ Transition
For track listing and further information, please visit the release page here
Download only – 3 tracks – 61:36
Now available to pre-order from Bandcamp
Release date: 12th July 2019
1. Simon Scott – Live at The Battery, San Francisco [19:09]
Desk recording – 15th May 2019 by Mike Harding. Mastered by SPS Mastering.
2. Zachary Paul – Live at Land and Sea, Oakland [14:24]
Desk recording – 16th May 2019 by Mike Harding. Mastered (mono) by Stephan Mathieu.
3. Geneva Skeen – Live at Zebulon, Los Angeles [28:03]
Room recording – 14th May 2019 by Guy at Third Eye Memories. With thanks to Yann Novak.
Recorded live on Touch’s tour of California in May 2019, with dates at Zebulon, Los Angeles, The Battery, San Francisco and Land and Sea, Oakland.
With thanks to Jen & Charles Belleville, Chris Duncan, Kevin Corcoran, Stacy Horne, Colleen Curlin, Lara dela Cruz, Guy at Third Eye Memories & Joce Soubiran and everyone who had a hand in making these events happen.
Download only – 1 track – 5:28
Now available on Bandcamp
Release date: 1st July 2019
Photo by Chris Watson
1. Glastonbury Ocean Soundscape 5:28
Ocean Soundscape, as played on the main stage at The Glastonbury Festival on 30th June 2019 immediately prior to Sir David Attenborough’s address, describes a journey from the Antarctic to the Arctic…
Songs of marine mammals, including bearded and weddell seals, recorded and composed by Chris Watson.
A rare UK performance from Daniel Menche and a a new audiovisual immersive cinema performance “The Mirror” by People Like Us;
The Mirror is a live a/v performance which splices together movie snippets with unique sample-based music exploring the masks that we wear represented through the lens, using parallel narratives across the screen to depict an ever-changing stream, rather than a singular, fixed being, narrative or moment in time.
“A feat of research and craft, this new work is a spellbinding inquiry into editing and juxtaposition; a collage one can unthread allowing the viewer to discover hidden stories through familiar images. The soundtrack is performed live, made up from hundreds of preexisting songs, as well as particular sounds from the original film clips.” — Flatpack Film Festival
Photo: Joe Derhardt
Daniel Menche is an abstract sound artist from Portland, Oregon. He says of his music that its “…intent is to destroy all rationalized thought processes to make room for the emotional and sensual impulses to take over… The greater the intent, the greater the intensity, and intensity is based upon the blood rising in speed and heat through our bodies.”
Bana Haffar joins us from the USA, making her Belgian debut. Having trained as a professional bass player, she has now embraced electronic music fully, exploring live modular synthesizer performance. She is an enthusiastic proponent of the latest Moog and eurorack technology and has a growing discography of releases (VENT, Make Noise Records) in the last couple of years that highlight a unique melodic direction. Through synthesis, Bana is attempting to dismantle years of institutional ‘conditioning’ in traditional systems of music theory. She is interested in the disintegration and coalescence of sound into new forms and synthesized experiences.
Bana Haffar – live
Conversation between Mike Harding and Bana Haffar
Mark Van Hoen
*Film: Stargazers Assistant – Resurgam II (An Audio Visual work by The Stargazer’s Assistant and Maurice Burns). Taken from the 2018 LP Resurgam I, Resurgam II by The Stargazer’s Assistant. Duration: 19mins 52sec
The Stargazer’s Assistant is:
David J. Smith
David J. Knight
Michael J. York
CD & Download – 3 tracks – 55:50
Release date: 12th April 2019
Limited edition of 500 CD in full colour jacket; artwork and photography by Jon Wozencroft
Zachary Paul: Violin & Electronics
1. Premonition (3:30PM Lake Perris) [31:50]
i Rays ii Clouds
2. Slow Ascent (9:30PM Downtown) [12:06]
3. A Person with Feelings (Original score) [10:24]
Premonition was recorded live at Desert Daze, Oct 12th 2018. With thanks to Cris Cichocki.
Slow Ascent was recorded by Mike Harding at Touch presents… Live at Human Resources, Feb 23rd 2018. Remastered by Simon Scott.
A Person with Feelings; a short film by Tanner Smith.
On Zachary Paul’s debut album for Touch, “A Meditation on Discord” compiles two live recordings from 2018 and a short film score, showcasing his expressive range and unique playing style. Both live recordings — “Premonition” and “Slow Ascent” — were fully improvised on his violin (“The Duke,” 1878), a minimal assortment of pedals (Earthquaker Afterneath, Diamond Memory Lane Jr, and Boss RC-30) and looped vocals.
“Premonition” (October 12, 2018) was recorded on the first day of Desert Daze music festival. For this performance I tuned my violin in open G (G-D-G-D) for the very first time. The afternoon was warm and bright, but storm clouds, yet to be seen at the time of this recording, loomed on the horizon.* My improvisation began in the present moment, reflecting the vibrations of the sun. Once locked in with these higher frequencies, the instrument took control and painted the evening. This performance was both a premonition of night and an astral projection towards the clouds crawling towards the festival grounds, catalyzed by an instrument resonating with the frequencies of the earth.
“Slow Ascent” (February 23, 2018) was recorded at Human Resources, Los Angeles, for an event celebrating the release of Yann Novak’s second solo album for Touch. This performance was an inverted guided group meditation. In front of my biggest audience to date, I was extremely anxious. Rather than letting my nerves lead the way,** I fed off of the energies of the audience, letting their patience, calm and warmth guide the instrument.
“A Person With Feelings” is a score for a short abstract film to be released in 2019. A modern trance film, the piece follows a young actor’s internal journey. The soundscape reflects the arc of the film and showcases the textural range of my instrument.
* Later that night, the headline act was forced to leave the stage and the festival was shut down after intense lightning and rain storms.
** My anxiety, manifesting as physical tremors in my arm, can be heard in the jagged bow stroke that opens the piece.
Bad Alchemy (Germany):
CD & Download – 4 tracks – 47:04
Release date: 29th March 2019
Recorded at Kaiserstudios, Vienna, August, September 2018
Rainfall: Vocals Katharina Caecilia Fennesz
Agora: Field recordings Manfred Neuwirth, vocals Mira Waldmann
Mastered by Denis Blackham @ Skye
Photography & design by Jon Wozencroft
1. In My Room (12:28)
2. Rainfall (11:58)
3. Agora (12:09)
4. We Trigger the Sun (10:29)
Agora is Christian Fennesz’s first solo album since ‘Mahler Remixed’ [Touch, 2014] and ‘Bécs’ [Editions Mego, 2014]. Fennesz writes: “Its a simple story. i had temporarily lost a proper studio workspace and had to move all my gear back to a small bedroom in my flat where I recorded this album. It was all done on headphones, which was rather a frustrating situation at first but later on it felt like back in the day when I produced my first records in the 1990s. In the end it was inspiring. I used very minimal equipment; I didn’t even have the courage to plug in all the gear and instruments which were at my disposal. I just used what was to hand.”
* a work usually consisting of multiple distinct sections or movements, often four.
Fennesz uses guitar and computer to create shimmering, swirling electronic sound of enormous range and complex musicality. “Imagine the electric guitar severed from cliché and all of its physical limitations, shaping a bold new musical language.” – (City Newspaper, USA). His lush and luminant compositions are anything but sterile computer experiments. They resemble sensitive, telescopic recordings of rainforest insect life or natural atmospheric occurrences, an inherent naturalism permeating each piece. He lives and works in Vienna.
In its ninth year, Borderline, the most adventurous music festival in Athens, returns more timely than ever. The Onassis Stegi, in collaboration with the Irtijal Festival of experimental music in Beirut, brings us the most contemporary and avant-garde sounds of the international musical stage, in concerts, dj sets, screenings, and talks.
German Evangelical Church, Sina 66, Athens