To survive for 40 years as an independent music project is the ability to bear witness to the massive changes in cultural production – and to hold a candle for artistic freedom and sonic invention. Touch.40 Café Oto is a home-based lighthouse in Dalston, London, and likewise AB in Brussels (in September), where longstanding friends and supporters have asked us back. We invite you to these celebrations of past, present and future. As everything gets more atomised in terms of inner and outer worlds, we intend this as a beacon of our collective commitment to joy, pleasure, life, the challenge of being human in these uncertain times.
[We are sorry to inform you that owing to unforeseen circumstances, Jana Winderen & Budhaditya Chattopadhyay will not be able to perform. But we are delighted that Jacaszek can headline at such short notice]
+ A Short Film by People Like Us
Artwork and photography by Jon Wozencroft
CD – 6 tracks – 72:21
1. First Sleep
2. Of Endless Light
5. Blue Drift
6. Walking Field
Photography & design by Jon Wozencroft
Mastered by Denis Blackham
Recorded by Jeremy Lemos
CLEARED is the longstanding project of Steven Hess and Michael Vallera, based in Chicago, Illinois. Of Endless Light was recorded by Jeremy Lemos at Electrical Audio in Chicago and mastered by Denis Blackham. The six tracks complete the longest release to date by the duo, who were resolute in utilizing the maximum time available on the compact disc format. CLEARED has produced a series of critically recognized recordings since its self-titled debut in 2011. Working with the Touch label on The Key (recorded in spring 2019, released in October 2020) was a leap forward, prompting remixed tracks by Philp Jeck, Fennesz, Bethan Kellough, and Olivia Block.
Of Endless Light is noctambulant, a walk through formal sonic spaces and colors beginning with the cascading, bell-like tones of the opening track, “First Sleep.” The husks of a city’s industrial past are summoned: warehouses hollowed out for condominiums, dust-covered factory floors, a distant grind of machining, clouds of metallic particles, and the persistent background hum of traffic. These remnants contrast with hints of the sterile present of a city no less cruel than its industrial past. “Dawn” opens with a grey drone and scattered electronic rhythms as wiring, and extended guitar lines suggest the opening of another cycle of the day into evening. “Pulse” offers a hypnotic pattern that suggests the movement of people through the city’s core, slowly overlain with cymbals evoking the shimmer of sunlight cleaving off the windows of distant buildings. The album appropriately concludes with “Walking Field,” methodically moving forward via a cloud of meditative clicks and looping melodies.
Of Endless Light is a patient listen, distilled into a sonic environment specific to Hess and Vallera’s lens. Cleared created its crepuscular moods using the core methodology of their previous records while expanding their music’s range, artistry, and subtlety. Deploying careful instrumentation, sampling, and mixing to experiment with tone and atmosphere, Of Endless Light breathes and drifts through layers of sound that veil, reveal, and intrigue. The result gives a listener much to discover, examine, experience, and consider – as well as the incentive to return again and again. [Bruce Adams, 2022]
Youmna Saba (Beirut, 1984) is a musician and musicologist whose current research focuses on the musical dimension(s) of the Arabic language, as a tool to generate new methods of working with electronics.
She released 4 albums to this day and collaborated with musicians of different backgrounds, like Kamilya Jubran (PL), Mike Cooper (GB), Jean Marc Montera (FR), Floy Krouchi (FR), Kyungso Park (SK), among others.
She took part in international programs and residencies (Hwaeom Residency, South Korea 2017, Sound Development City, 2016, Gyeonggi Creation Center, South Korea 2013…) and is a 3-time laureate of the music residency program at La Cité Internationale des Arts, in Paris (2020-2021).
Youmna holds a master’s degree in Musicology, focusing mainly on the parallels between classical Arabic music and Arabic visual art.
To survive for 40 years as an independent music project is the ability to bear witness to the massive changes in cultural production – and to hold a candle for artistic freedom and sonic invention.
Touch.40 Iklectik is a home-based lighthouse in the centre of London and we invite you to this celebration of past present and future.
As everything gets more atomised in terms of inner and outer worlds, we intend this as a beacon of our collective commitment to joy, pleasure, life, the challenge of being human in these uncertain times.
Friday doors open 6.30pm
Gavin Bryars – a tribute to Philip Jeck
katt newlon & Franz Kirmann
Jay Glass Dubs
Saturday doors open 5pm
Simon Fisher Turner
Claire M Singer
Carl Michael von Hausswolff
On Saturday there is due to be a train strike. Iklectik isn’t far from Waterloo (also Lambeth North is half a kilometre away), on the underground and can be easily reached by bus. It’s then a 10-15 minute walk to the venue… we suggest you allow extra time for travelling. There’s a good app called Transit which has live local transport times and options.
Photo: Jon Wozencroft
After the Wheel
“You can’t reinvent the wheel” – So goes the saying to describe a futile attempt to improve upon what has gone before. Nevertheless, the last ten years has seen a relentless abstraction of this – in the UK, a deceitful attempt to return to “past glories” alongside a series of fiscal measures that punish the poor for the crime of being poor.
From its genesis during the times of the horse and cart to today’s driverless cars, the wheel keeps on turning, creating massive fortunes for the fortunate few, but the energy needed to drive it is another matter entirely.
Nikola Tesla proposed the principal of free energy a hundred years ago. It could come from wireless networks for nothing, but that was not allowed to happen. Tesla died in his New York hotel in 1943 in relative poverty and apparently with a mere $100 to his name. This may be exaggerated, but clearly Tesla never achieved great wealth despite his numerous inventions, most of all the feat in having developed the means of electrical current distribution.
Elon Musk, meanwhile, is currently the richest man in the world. Notably, his key company appropriated the name Tesla – whose electric cars provide a platform to numerous means of wealth accumulation. Musk made $171bn during the first year of the Covid pandemic and increased Tesla’s market capitalisation 13-fold since the end of 2019*. Next up – Twitter. Musk has bid $44bn to acquire the company. The sum is roughly equivalent to the total budget President Biden’s administration has dedicated to combatting climate change.
Musk has plans for brain implants that connect to the internet, AI initiatives in addition, and if it all goes haywire, there’s always Life on Mars.
Might he be aware of one of Nikola Tesla’s unresolved inventions, “The Thought Machine”, that intended to be able to project an individual’s retinal images onto a screen? Does he take Twitter to be an improvement on this?
After the wheel, the spiked wheel of fortune. After the car, 20th Century symbol of forward freedom , the automated vehicle – 21st Century symbol of living in reverse, bonded behind a screen of algorithmic passivity.
If we can’t reinvent the wheel, we had better reinvent the superhighway, and drive in a different direction.
*Source: “Elon Musk, Twitter and the internet economy”, Will Dunn, The New Statesman,
29 April 2022
Indexical at the Tannery Arts Center, Santa Cruz
1050 River St., #119 Santa Cruz, CA 95062
30 April Performances: Bana Haffar, Patrick Shiroishi
further info and tickets: indexical.org
1 May Touch Conference
Panel discussion with Mike Harding, Bana Haffar & Patrick Shiroishi
Free – further info: indexical.org
Jon and Mike are deeply saddened to tell you that Philip Jeck died peacefully on Friday after a short illness. A remarkable man and a wonderful artist, he has been one of the kingpins of our work for 30 years. But with Philip it was never just the work, more the love, the spirit and the dedication. He touched so many with his wit, his zest for life and his wisdom. We will miss him terribly and our love goes out to Mary and Louis.
To give your full attention to someone or something is an act of generosity and love that is at the heart of dynamic communication. The attention economy, however, is an engine of distraction.
Can it be resisted?
Today, 11th March, is the official 40th anniversary of the founding of Touch in 1982…
First contact with New Order after their concert at the Newcastle Mayfair on 11th March 1982…
Friday 11th March
CM von Hausswolff, IHVH, SPS, Dr. Katja Seltmann (Irene Moon) & Touch
Saturday 12th March
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Travelogue, Rotary ECT, Robert Crouch, Jim Haynes, Geneva Skeen, Jasmin Blasco, Yann Novak, Pauline Lay, Gabie Strong + Peter Kolovos
Cage+Cunningham performance – “Instances of Silence/Trails” featuring dancers Jmy James Kidd + Jillian Stein
Sound Installation: Charlie Campagna & Ian Wellman
+ Special world premiere of Philip Jeck’s film “Waiting Rooms”
Sunday 13th March
Faith Coloccia, Byron Westbrook, Bana Haffar, Ian Wellman, Mark Van Hoen, Bethan Kellough, Zachary Paul, Dr. Yewande Pearse, Chandra Shukla and Richard Chartier
Music for Film panel conversation with Allison Anders, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Jonathan Thomas Miller, + Brooke Wentz
Sound Installation: Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe
+ Special film screenings
More info – https://linktr.ee/touchactivities
Jasmin Blasco, Charlie Campagna + Ian Wellman, Richard Chartier, Faith Coloccia, Robert Takahashi Crouch, Robert R. Gaines, Bana Haffar, Jim Haynes, Bethan Kellough, Jmy James Kidd + Jillian Stein, Pauline Lay, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Yann Novak, Zachary Paul, Dr. Yewande Pearse, Rotary ECT, SPS, Dr. Katja Seltmann/Irene Moon, Chandra Shukla, Geneva Skeen, Gabie Strong + Peter Kolovos, Travelogue, Mark Van Hoen, CM von Hausswolff, Byron Westbrook + demos, presentations, keynotes, panel, talks…
Oren Ambarchi & crys Cole
The Uncertainty Principle
Uncertainty has become a dominant emotion in these Covid–Brexit times, to an extent that it can be paralysing – nothing seems to change, everybody (well, everybody with an instinct to take care of themselves and their surroundings) is on their guard, and there is a thin line between uncertainty and basic fear. And fear, as venal politicians exploit on a daily basis, is a tried and tested recipe for suffocating change.
However, seen through the prism of sound and music, uncertainty is an essential element for growth and development, the catalyst of the unexpected. Obviously, improvised music could not exist without such a precondition, but in more general terms the life of every artist and musician who seeks to create something new, has to walk the line between the familiar and the unforeseen.
Werner Heisenberg established ‘The Uncertainty Principle’ in Copenhagen in the 1920s, in essence, proving that it is impossible to determine accurately both the position and the speed of a particle at the same instant. The discovery was significant because it proved that uncertainty was a fundamental property of quantum mechanics, thereby superseding the so-called ‘observer effect’ which had previously explained why measurements could not be made without affecting and changing the system that was under scientific observation.
The distance between a composition, its recording and its distribution… The perils of the manufacturing process… How will the audience react? Will the music hold up over time? Such things can never be known for sure and it can work both ways. Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook both hated Joy Division’s debut LP “Unknown Pleasures” when they first heard it, but four decades later it’s a different story.
So the first sound seminar of 2022 is not about science, but the ways and means by which this scientific paradigm, developed 100 years ago by Heisenberg, has come to characterise everyday communications and perception, and how we can embrace it as a vital element of a brighter future, by learning better how to take risks.
The photograph shows Eve, one of the two Longstones at Beckhampton, near the Avebury complex in Wiltshire. Dated to 2500-2700 B.C. the Avebury stones predate Stonehenge. Adam sits in the same field, out of the picture, a taller, thinner stone. Adam in fact fell in 1911 and had to be levered back into an upright position.
‘Society and its Sculpture’ is an inquiry into the concept and ecology of permanence. Monuments, statues, icons are said to be “set in stone”. However, recent events and protests have shown that nothing is immutable. Authoritarian power and past injustices need to be challenged – the removal of the sculptures that celebrate such hegemony is part of this process.
At the Thaddaeus Ropac gallery in London, Ron Mueck is currently showing ‘25 Years of Sculpture’ which includes a recent work (2013/2015) “Couple Under an Umbrella”. At twice life-size, it shows an elderly couple in repose under a beach umbrella, their expressions quite ambiguous, the message of the piece oblique. The sculpture, described by the artist as ‘mixed media’, is close to photography and has been described as “hyperreal”.
The act of sculpting is not restricted to the use of materials like marble and stone. Many forms of composition and their documentation can be seen in this light, notably the act of recording music. Sculpture is a slow process. Not only does it take time, it needs time, making it an uncertain undertaking in the fast moving digital world we inhabit.
This sound seminar will explore how the act of sculpture relates to the sculpting of sound, in shaping the space around us – what it shows, what it leaves out, and the gap between reality and unknowable futures.
Iklectik, 11th November 2021 730PM
IRL, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Zachary Paul & Tristan Kasten Krause – Journeys into the Bright World
Explorations of inner space and outer resonance. Zachary Paul (violin) and Tristan Kasten Krause (double bass) will engage in instrumental dialogue & improvisation, probing the geography of the mind, and the potentialities of the cybernetic stringed instrument. Eye masks will be provided.
7PM – Doors
7:30PM – Zachary Paul (solo)
8PM – Tristan Kasten-Krause (solo)
8:30PM – Paul / Kasten-Krause duo
Unfortunately this show has been postponed
Thursday 16 September 2021 | 7:30pm (7 doors)
The pause button first appeared on reel-to-reel tape recorders in the early 1960s, on Ampex machines. Thanks to financial help from Bing Crosby, Ampex had developed reel-to-reel magnetic tape and tape recorders in the late 1940s, so Bing could play golf and not have to do live radio broadcasts on a Saturday. Reel-to-reel tape technology had been invented by BASF in Germany during WW2, eventually discovered by U.S. Army Signal Corps in a studio at Radio Frankfurt at the end of the war.
Compact cassette recorders were developed by the Dutch company Philips not in the Netherlands but in Hasselt, Belgium, by Lou Ottens and his team in 1963, but the format took a few years to hit the home recording market. Seven-inch singles, jukeboxes and portable radios ruled at the time.
VCRs had developed in parallel but VHS did not become a big thing until the 1970s. One could argue that pause buttons had been there years earlier, in the form of stop frame film cameras like the Bolex (1935) or even the on/off switch of a wireless.
No-one thought to pause a vinyl record until turntables and slip-mats let DJ’s reinvent their functionality. In digital/electronic contexts, the pause button is an essential feature, from soundcloud sites to washing machines. Pause for thought, or a vital tool to offset frequent interruptions?
The button itself – “In musical notation, caesura is the term used for a pause of decent size. The same word is used for the part of a poem when you take a breath.” A caesura is indicated in poetry by the symbol || and in music by the symbol //.”
The root meaning of the word is specific, it comes from the Greek ‘pausis’, to halt, or to stop. Could a pause be an opportunity to take stock, to think twice and maybe change your mind – or simply a delaying tactic, a respite from the endless now?
Artwork and photography by Jon Wozencroft
11 tracks – 51:56
Now available on vinyl for the first time, to be released 15th October 2021
Pre-order from Kudos Records (UK) or Forced Exposure (North America) – link to follow, or check in here. The digital edition is still available here.
This release features a duet between Christian Fennesz [guitar/lapop] and Ryuichi Sakamoto [piano/laptop] – a continuing collaboration between two highly regarded composers. Their first, ‘Sala Santa Cecilia’, was a 19 minute overture from their live performance in Rome in November 2004 [Touch # Tone 22, 2005]. Bill Meyer in Magnet (US) wrote: “Cross-generational encounters are never a sure thing, but this one strikes sparks” and Max Scaefer in Cyclic Defrost (USA): ” a moment of much beauty, not to mention anticipation for the promised full-length effort to come.” Tom Sekowski adds in Gaz-eta (USA): “We can only hope this astonishing collaboration will turn into something more tangible, more permanent.”
So then followed we have ‘Cendre’… Cendre was recorded between 2004 and 2006 in New York City by Ryuichi Sakamoto and in Vienna by Christian Fennesz. They came together for the mix in New York City in February of that year. Fennesz would send Sakamoto a guitar or electronic track and Sakamoto would compose his piano piece. This process was also reversed – Sakamoto initiating the track with a piano composition and Fennesz responding. Meanwhile they met for live shows, or communicated via digital means to compare notes, swop ideas and develop themes… And the cyclical process continued right up until the final mix.
Ryuichi Sakamoto and Christian Fennesz blend the unstructured and imaginative qualities of improvisation with the satisfying sculpture of composition. Sakamoto’s piano, his style reminiscent of Debussy and Satie, perfectly complements Fennesz with his powerful blend of shimmering guitar and passionate electronics.
Together they have combined to create 11 tracks of satisfying and challenging possibilities…