TO:117 | Jacaszek “Gardenia”

Available on Bandcamp to pre-order
Release date: 30th October 2020

CD + DL – 9 tracks – 48:29

Track listing:

1. Waterhole 05:50
2. Mmabolela 06:19
3. Riverbed 03:20
4. Red Dust 04:30
5. Dawn 06:14
6. Bones 05:23
7. Nidus 05:55
8. Nebula 05:35
9. Ruins 05:23

GARDENIA is an existing land located at the Limpopo province of South Africa, right at the border with Botswana. The place’s real name is Mmabolela and it’s a private nature reserve covering 6500ha of subtropical savanna and part of Limpopo River.

In November 2019 I had a chance to visit the location and participate in an annual residency for composers and sound artists called ‘Sonic Mmabolela’, initiated and curated by Francisco López.

We lived in an isolated property in the middle of savanna having a unique opportunity to exist in undisturbed touch with the African wilderness.

All the natural sounds later used to create Gardenia were captured there — during longtime recording sessions over the virgin interior of Mmabolela Reserve.

The album’s field recording content was selected from several hours of birdsong, calls of frogs, insect noises, sounds of trees, bushes, grass as well as non-living natural elements like stones or shells.

These field recordings were later digitally processed and used as part of 9 musical arrangements.

However the recording sources and the location of Gardenia is defined, it was not my intention to document a South African natural soundscape nor create any other kind of strict concept album.

All I do in my work is an affirmation of beauty hidden in various aspects of the Creation. (MJ)

Recorded, composed and produced by Michał Jacaszek
Photography + Design: Jon Wozencroft
Mastered by Francisco López

special thanks: F. López, Ch. Kubisch, B. Ellison, and all Sonic Mmabolela 2019 team and staff

TO:116 | CLEARED “The Key”

Available on Bandcamp to pre-order here
Release date: 30th October 2020

8 tracks – CD + DL – 1:12:24

Track listing:

CLEARED
1. The Key 10:51 – you can hear this track here
2. Bonded 7:11
3. Of Air 12:56
4. Mesa 10:32

5. Philip Jeck – The Key 10:46
6. Fennesz – Bonded 6:28
7. Bethan Kellough – Of Air 6:52
8. Olivia Block – Mesa 6:48

Cleared is the Chicago-based duo of Steven Hess and Michael Vallera, formed in the latter part of 2009 as a project to focus on repetition and patience as central elements of composition. Hess and Vallera have previously worked in various contexts of improvisational, long form and experimental music (Hess contributed to Fennesz’s Seven Stars, released on Touch in 2011). Cleared is an effort to take the knowledge both have gained from these arenas in order to build hypnotic patterns of sound and rhythm.

The Key was recorded in the spring of 2019 at Electrical Audio in Chicago Illinois with engineer Greg Norman. After a silence of several years, Cleared went into the studio with a set of drawings and notes describing the arcs of various systems for the creation of soundscapes and rhythmic patterns. There was no rehearsal, demo recordings or any other preparation besides theses diagrams which were designed by both Hess and Vallera in tandem. The logic behind this strategy was to erase the confines of previous releases and return to the origin of the project, which simply began as an open improvisation between the two musicians, centering a focus on slow, gradual changes and a meditative sensibility.

The recordings were made with a specific attention to sonic detail and fidelity, resulting in hours of material that was arranged and mixed over the next year by Michael Vallera in his home studio.

The resulting four tracks were further investigated and reimagined by Philip Jeck, Christian Fennesz, Bethan Kellough and Olivia Block, adding another form of The Key as a collection of discreet and weighted sonic explorations.

Touch: Displacing

Following Touch: Isolation which covered the first lockdown period in the UK, Touch: Displacing is a new subscription project where the focus falls on longer-form compositions, to be released on a monthly basis over the coming year and featuring artists for whom duration is a key feature of their work.

Twelve new and exclusive tracks recorded by Touch or Touch-affiliated artists for one year’s subscription, with contributions from Oren Ambarchi, Olivia Block, Richard Chartier, Robert Crouch, Ipek Gorgun, Bana Haffar, Philip Jeck, Bethan Kellough, Carl Stone, Chris Watson and others, leading with “Kharabat” by Sohrab (you can listen to an extract here) – all mastered by Denis Blackham, to whom once again grateful thanks are due. Receipts will, as with Touch: Isolation [the collection is still available], be shared amongst the artists. A time to support independent music while it still exists!

Each of the releases will be mirrored by a cover/counterpoint by Jon Wozencroft – not fixed to one location, as they were with Touch: Isolation.

Touch: Displacing is necessarily a global action. Everybody knows of the water crisis facing the planet. Few may be aware that we are running out of sand, with equally dire consequences, owing to the demand for concrete…

In the current state of the world, the process of displacement has been accelerated by politicians whose techniques of disinformation, U-turning and barefaced lies scramble any attempt to form a perspective on the events taking place. In the physical realm, the fracture of once stable glaciers, the erosion of coastlines and the constant stream of migration from one state of upheaval to another consolidates the force of digital systems to amplify a maelstrom of change – but not change as we know it, rather the consolidation of power and vested interests that have seized this opportunity to raze the roof on previous systems of protection and stability.

The advent of the personal computer in the late 1980s was mirrored by the promotion of a new way of coming to terms with the scale of the world as we knew it, though chaos theory, fractal geometry and the idea that the most delicate of actions could have massive consequences – the saying went, that a butterfly flapping its wings in Japan could create a storm front across the Midwest of the USA.

Chaos theory is now chaos practice, with the caveat that initial actions are no longer born of delicacy nor collective expansion but the non-stop displacing of any position of longer term vision.

Displacement theory has its roots in psychology to denote the process of shifting one state of perception to another, in an unconscious and generally automatic form of behaviour – shifting the blame, “taking it out on someone” and on a greater scale, highlighted by the rise of nationalism and the growing intolerance of detail.

“The devil is in the detail”. The “Beauty of Fractals” made it clear that the smallest element was intrinsic to the harmony of the whole*. Instead, the world seems to have finessed the promotion of disharmony as a form of entertainment, at the very time when artistic, musical, cultural challenges to the perceived “fait accompli” are needed more than ever. To counter the policies of rapid confusion, the forward/reverse procedure, we shall endeavour to slow down the pace, turn things up and respond.

The subscription costs £33 for twelve tracks – please support the artists by investing in the Touch: Displacing project, and expect surprises – good ones for a change.

* “The Beauty of Fractals”, Heinz-Otto Peitgen and Peter Richter, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg 1986

Spire 7.1 | The Eternal Chord “Mutatis Mutandis”

Released 4th September 2020

12 tracks – DL + .pdf – 1:42:06

Now available on Bandcamp

Track listing:

1. Olivia Block – Flue 09:17
2. Marta De Pascalis – Alexandria 08:30
3. Richard Chartier – State 08:32
4. Faith Coloccia – Voice 1 Grapheme 07:55
5. Daniel Menche – Minimal 11:09
6. Jiyeon Kim – Organ Tapes 1 05:48
7. Philip Jeck – 75 bus 07:24
8. Dahra – Abadan (Perpetuum) 11:00
9. Orphax – Aeternus 12:54
10. Jiyeon Kim – Organ Tapes 2 06:40
11. Fennesz – Crystal Canyons 04:44
12. Faith Coloccia – Artifacts (bonus)

This album was released on Bandcamp Day; Touch will pay all receipts to the artists; any donations above that will go to support the label

Source: The Eternal Chord – Semper Liber [Touch # Spire 7] | Further Spire & The Eternal Chord recordings from 2004 are available here

Fennesz, Faith Coloccia (inc. bonus track), Richard Chartier, Philip Jeck, Orphax, Olivia Block, Jiyeon Kim, Dahra, Daniel Menche & Marta de Pascalis [UK, USA, Senegal, South Korea, Italy, Netherlands, Austria]

Liminal organ

Immersive and compelling, Mutatis Mutandis expands the organ repertoire into new territory, with influences from Senegalese traditional folk music, modern composition, classical organ, pop and electronic music.

The 4 colour plates by the art historian and author Sydney Russell show cave art from 4 to 6 thousand years ago. Taken in Brazil on one of several expeditions she made around the world, these highly emotional works reveal the sophistication and ageless quality of the imagination of the peoples who were expressing themselves at this time; they have been slow to reveal their beauty to us, having survived all weathers; their acoustic soundtrack unfolds slowly, submersive and involving.

Sydney Russell writes: “These photographs were taken in 1976 in Brazil. We eventually obtained minimum radio carbon datings for levels covering the paintings from approximately 3750-2500 BCE. They originate from the rock shelter sites of Sucupira, (Lagoa Santa) and Lapa do Cipo (Santana do Riacho), near Minas Gerais and Quadrillas (Montalvania), Bahia.”

Tone 76 | Budhaditya Chattopadhyay “The Well-tempered City Book l”

Released 3rd July 2020

1 track – DL only – 19:01

Now available on Bandcamp

The sound work has been conceived using transduction as the methodology to represent citizen-generated vibration contents at the architectural surfaces of contemporary cities. These surfaces serve as physical interfaces for citizens’ sonic interaction with their personified everyday urban structure and objects, such as walking, resting, touching, tapping or hitting on the structural surfaces of the city, including the streets or walls.The vibrations that are generated through such physical interactions, citizens’ participation and intervention are transduced into sounds audible to the human perception using customised accelerometers. These subtle recordings are later treated as sense data of the sonic experience in a computed and composed form. The project facilitate in-depth listening to the architectural and built spaces of today’s cities as living organisms or manmade urban nature, currently resonating with a sense of post-apocalyptic doom due to pandemics, climate catastrophe, global warming, mass migration, and racial differences. How do city-dwellers emotively intervene in and engage with the city in
these contexts? In this work, the city acts as an instrument that produces its own hyper-real and digitally enhanced sounds where surfaces of the evolving buildings are used as strings tempered by human intervention in terms of embodied interaction, thereby citizens becoming part of the work in the mimetic process. The work holds the reflections of the citizen’s immediate emotional situations and affective context in today’s cities.

All sounds recorded, composed and mixed by Budhaditya Chattopadhyay
Recorded on Sound Devices 702 using customized accelerometers.

Budhaditya Chattopadhyay is a Media Artist and Scholar based in Denmark

Tone 70 | Simon Scott “Migrations”

Released 26th June 2020

Vinyl – 2 tracks + DL – 2 tracks

Track listing:

Side A
1. Red Square

Side AA
1. Murmurations

Bonus tracks (digital only):

3. The Borderlands
4. Fen(ce)

Vinyl in an edition of 300 copies plus digital – with two digital bonus tracks when purchasing from our Bandcamp. Vinyl mastered at SPS Mastering. Cut by Jason @ Transition. Digital mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri at Black Knoll Studio (NY). Photography and design by Jon Wozencroft.

You can pre-order now on Bandcamp.

Full track notes:

A. Red Square 14’ 14”

Field recordings captured during a day under Moscow’s Red Square in the underground metro in 2015. It has a narrative of motion as my microphones move with me through a vast sounding environment. The space reveals the aural diversity of the people moving beneath the Russian city of Moscow, the complex acoustics, and complex rhythms mixed together in a subterranean space. These communitive sonic events transformed my perception of space and time as reverberant boundaries led my ear into unknown acoustic destinations.

AA. Murmurations 18’ 53”

Recorded in March 2018 at RSPB Strumpshaw Fen in, Norfolk, UK using DPA 4061 microphones. I was showing Australian sound artist Lawrence English around the Fens of East Anglia, when he requested we head to Buckenham to find a flock of crows roosting. I recorded the spectacular murmurations of thousands of crows, rooks and jackdaws, as the spring sun slowly set at dusk, and deer ran across the marshes. The field recordings are accompanied by a gradually shifting modular synth tone, that musically represents the slow change colours, until the light fell off the horizon.

Download only: The Borderlands 6’ 30” and Fen(ce) 7’ 06”

Both compositions were recorded in Holme Fen nature reserve, Cambridgeshire, with two JrF contact microphones on 22nd to 25thMay 2020. The long lines of wires and wooden posts stretched across the sunken landscape of the Fens follow the man-made drainage canals and rivers for hundreds of miles. Bowed, plucked and struck by natural phenomena (strong winds caused by climate change) and indigenous flora, reveals dynamic sonic intra-events and hidden acoustic ecologies.

Need More Nature? Listen to 12 Essential Field Recordings

New York Times, June 3rd 2020

Albums featuring chattering animals and roaring weather systems have blurred the boundaries of music and chance, new age and noise.

by Christopher R. Weingarten

www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/arts/music/field-recordings.html

featuring:

Chris Watson – Outside the Circle of Fire
Jana Winderen – Energy Field
Chris Watson – El Tren Fantasma
Jacob Kirkegaard – Eldfjall

Strafe F.R. – Friss

Strafe F.R. present a new recording and video, ‘Friss’, completed after their most recent release “Shadow Position” (Touch Tone 68)

youtu.be/mLSxoRwPbwI

Touch: Isolation

28 new and exclusive tracks recorded by Touch artists, with the final track delivered on 25th May 2020. A photographic counterpoint, the view from Hampstead Heath during the London lockdown. Touch: Isolation is a subscription project that evolved over April and May 2020. Click here to subscribe.

A time to support independent music while it still exists!

For the last two months we have published new pieces twice weekly each Monday and Thursday… We trust you will see this as a whole work; it’s never too late to catch up. We view it as a narrative hoping that ecology and the future of this earth is going to win through against the dreadful political and mediated mendacity that can only worsen the situation.

The subscription will remain open for the foreseeable future, so there is still time to support independent music, its artists and its fragile support systems. Thank you to everyone who has taken the plunge.

“Please keep your distance, the trail leads from here…”

The cancellation of gigs and festivals has already severely impacted our artists creatively and financially. In addition it has denied you, our audience, the opportunity to see them play and support them. The notion of ‘independent music’ might, in effect, be pushed deeper into the self-isolation mode it is already struggling to break free from. We don’t need studios to the same extent, but we do need a stage, a physical reference and if not, a mental space with which to question the drive to online existence.

We set out to respond to these challenging times in a creative and helpful way. The idea is to present Touch: Isolation whereby a new exclusive track from one of our artists, each with a bespoke photograph/cover image, is presented on a regular basis over the coming weeks. All the income received is collected from your subscriptions and put in a kitty, the proceeds of which are then divided up between the contributing artists.

These new and exclusive interventions include works by Heitor Alvelos, Oren Ambarchi, Charlie Campagna, Richard Chartier, ELEH, farmersmanual, Fennesz, fennesz sakamoto, Bana Haffar, Howlround, Philip Jeck, Bethan Kellough, Daniel Menche, Anthony Moore, Yann Novak, OZMOTIC, Rosy Parlane, Zachary Paul, Simon Scott, Claire M Singer, Geneva Skeen, Sohrab, Strafe F.R., UnicaZürn, Mark Van Hoen, CM von Hausswolff, Chris Watson and Jana Winderen – all expertly mastered by Denis Blackham.

We invite you to take this unique opportunity to support the artists, without whom there would be no alternative to corporate art… support the industries which realise the artists’ creation – the uncredited producers, designers, software developers, distributors, vinyl cutters, mastering engineers, friends and family etc., who all symbiotically depend on the other to bring their works to fruition…

———

The subscription costs £20 for 20 (or more) tracks – please support the artists by investing in the Touch: Isolation project, and expect surprises – good ones for a change.

———

Social distancing. Actual space. If you can get out, you have to get out. Escape velocity – from Brexit, then somehow prevent institutional meltdown? The UK shows the way, in a method that beggars belief.

The photographs were taken on Hampstead Heath during the UK/London lockdown between March and May 2020, primarily in West Heath and the area around Golders Hill whose open space minimises the problems of social distancing. The weather, being superb after weeks of high winds and heavy rain, seemed a metaphor for regeneration and recovery, with the trees coming into bloom – in defiance of the scene we witnessed 33 years earlier after the Great Storm of October 1987 when, in the days that followed, the Heath looked like an arboreal graveyard.

The objective is to find a sense of quiet celebration, to look at the balance between the detail and the scaling force of open spaces. Let’s hope they can remain open.

To make 20 (or more) record covers in a short period for sound and music we had yet to hear, and to then match the photography to each artist’s contribution… If this seems somewhat in the style of the children’s game, ‘Pin the tail on the donkey’, then perhaps that’s more apt than pretending we know how everything fits together at this juncture.

This might also be seen an opportunity to give an early documentation to the mental state of 2020, remembering the year 2000 and the threat of the ‘millennium bug’, this may well become known as the year when x melted into y, to avoid z.

Roughly a dozen years ago, life went broadband. Today we see our reliance on digital systems like never before.

———

‘As a dwindling member of the generation that lived through and served in the Second World War I think in some ways this is much worse. It was possible to live in a country area and apart from rationing see little of the war. Bombing was spasmodic and haphazard, and our defences were really good. After a year, there was very little chance of an invasion and much of life – sport, theatres and radio, continued as before. Restaurants and hotels remained largely open, rationed according to turnover.’ David John Harding, b. 1925.

Further reading:

furtherdot blog
igloo magazine
ambient blog
Broadcasting House, BBC Radio 4
Xenographica
The New Lofi
The Times Literary Supplement
Map Magazine
a closer listen
Another Green Kitchen

TO:6D | Strafe Für Rebellion “Santa Maria”

“Santa Maria” by Strafe Für Rebellion was one of the very early artist-only releases
on Touch, dating back to 1986. It has never been available on CD. This bandcamp
release has been sourced from the original quarter-inch master tapes, transferred
by Bernd Kastner and S.M. Syniuga. The original artwork marks the first time we
were able to afford photo-typesetting for the whole project.

DL – 2 tracks – 44:29

Release date: 3rd April 2020

Track listing:

1: Santa Maria A
2: Santa Maria B

Available from Bandcamp

Touch is 38 Today

Today, 11th March, is the official 38th anniversary of the founding of Touch in 1982…

First contact with New Order after their concert at the Newcastle Mayfair on 11th March 1982…

You can follow our progress year by year here…

Jon Wozencroft Sound Seminar | London, 5th March 2020

Touch presents… Live Shows February 2020

and we are pleased to announce that Special Guest will be joining us for the AB Salon and Iklectic shows…

Hildur Guðnadóttir Wins Academy Award [OSCAR] for Best Original Score

Hildur Guðnadóttir has won the Academy Award for Best Original Score for ‘Joker’ [2019]. She also won an EMMY and a GRAMMY (for Chernobyl [HBO, 2019]) and a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for Joker, this claiming a unique clean sweep or ‘BEGGO’.

We are so proud to have been part of this journey with such a talented and generous artist. Many congratulations

Hildur Gudnadottir

Another Word for Dive Is Sound by Mandy-Suzanne Wong

1. The Hydrophonist

Looks barely human. Heavy boots fitted with claws. Limbs and trunk squared off by layers of thermal waterproofing. Something like a spacesuit with miles of cable hanging off it. She’s got no face. She’s all nylon. Orange helmet. Windproof goggles… [Permafrost Magazine]

Continue reading…

www.janawinderen.com

V33.30 | Fennesz/Rosy Parlane “Live 2000”

DL – 2 tracks

Release date: 1st February 2020

Track listing:

1: Live 2000 1
2: Live 2000 2

Available from Bandcamp

Recorded live in Melbourne, Australia 20 years ago on the release date… originally released on mini CD by Australian label, Synaesthesia. With thanks to Mark Harwood.

Mastered by Simon Scott at SPS Mastering
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft

V33.20 | Simon Scott “Emergency Exit”

DL – 2 tracks

Released 26th December 2019

Now available from Bandcamp

‘Emergency Exit’ was composed by Simon Scott from field recordings of flood water and burning embers captured during 2019 in the Fens near Cambridge, where he is based. They are a microcosm of a much bigger global crisis – ‘Climate Change’.

Fennesz – Agora Album in Top Ten Pitchfork 2019 List

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]

Available on our Bandcamp site, of course

pitchfork.com/features/lists-and-guides/best-albums-2019/

Tone 68 | Strafe F.R. “Shadow Position”

Vinyl + DL – 4 tracks

Now available to order from Bandcamp

Release date: 22nd November 2019

Track listing:

A1: Nachtmaschine
A2: Every Day XXL
B1: Shadow Position
B2: Isabella B.

Videos available on our youtube channel

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.

CODEX 2 | Joséphine Michel & Mika Vainio “The Heat Equation”

Book + CD – 100pp linen cover with foil blocking

Book contents:
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

Now available to order from Bandcamp

Release date: 1st November 2019

The Heat Equation