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.
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.
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 – 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
Today, 11th March, is the official 37th anniversary of the founding of Touch in 1982…
First contact with New Order after their concert at the Newcastle Mayfair on 11th March 1982…
CD, Cassette & Download – 8 tracks (or 2 x cassette mix) – 67 minutes
Cassette strictly limited to 100 copies
Now available for pre-order – see below for pre-order links
Release date: 22nd February 2019
The cassette version features an extended 60 minute version of the album remastered by Scott
All tracks composed by Simon Scott
Strings played by Charlie Campagna & Zachary Paul
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft
Mastered by Denis Blackham
9. Live at The Jazz Café (bonus track not on CD or cassette)
Soundings, his debut studio album for Touch (he previously released the live album ‘Floodlines’ in 2016 and re-issued “Below Sea Level” in 2017), finds Simon Scott, the composer and sound ecologist, using field recordings from various cities around the globe; modular synthesizer treatments; live strings and laptop electronics to create an album of transition and shifting time zones. The recordings were edited and composed in hotels rooms across the world as Scott was constantly on tour as the drummer for Slowdive, who successfully reformed in 2014.
Hodos, the album opener, begins with 85 mph Storm Barney recordings, ending with the fading sounds of bellbirds and cicadas recorded in Brisbane 2018. “I took a home recording I made of Storm Barney in Cambridge, listening to it on repeat when I was flying from continent to continent. I wanted this to be the starting point of the process of musically documenting how much travelling I was doing”. This album was created from the US to Asia, South America to Europe and the Arctic Circle back to the UK via California. “Working in hotel rooms and on flights, listening to and editing the recordings I’d made from all of these distant cities formed the basis of the album. It’s the soundtrack to four years of my life in flux with constant change, jet lag, excitement and the seeming perpetual motion of travelling”.
Download only – 10 tracks – 67 minutes
03. Synthi AKS waves
06. A chime of psalters
08. The psaltery sea
09. A likely outcome
10. Arithmetic in the dark
I like to imagine a time and place where arithmetic is done in a natural way by simply experiencing the unique possibility offered by sound, that of distinguishing simultaneous differences; the non-displacing waves of either AND both. Despite the observations of cool cats like Bill Sethares on the subjective nature of the octave´s perception, one fact remains unfailingly true. An octave is a doubling of frequency – the higher octave has exactly twice the number of vibrations per second than the lower. I am imagining a planet without the invention of writing, even of symbols and scratchings in the sand where, on hearing the sound of a child and an adult singing together, a listener is doing a multiplication by two in a mathematics without signs; arithmetic in the dark.
The album consists of a set of 10 works which focus on repetition and change. The pieces evolve mostly through the active perception of the listener. Saccades and oto-acoustic emissions are evidence that perception is far from passive reception. The transmitting ear determines much about what it takes in. [Anthony Moore, Arles, November 2018]
Vinyl LP – 4 tracks – 32:59
+ 6 bonus tracks
1. Threip 11:53
2. The Black Path 5:21
3. Talkin Tarn 8:23
4. Moat 7:22
5. Cloven Stone
6. Dungeon Ghyll
7. Aira Force
9. Carling Knott
[The Present Continuous]
Profile: Modern Trends In Tape Music and Contemporary Artists in The Field
In December 2017, Howlround (Robin the Fog) was invited to perform at “The Winter Solstice Soundscapes” event for the recently opened record store “Vinyl Café” in his home town of Carlisle, Cumbria. Inspired by the reception to his first ever performance in the great border city, he covered his parent’s dining room table with the same equipment, stretched loops of tape around his mum’s seasonal candlesticks when she wasn’t looking… and this LP is the result. The only equipment used on the album is two 1/4” reel-to-reel tape machines and one microphone. The sounds created are entirely at the discretion of the machines (much of them derived from ‘closed-input’ recordings) and all tracks were produced in a single take. There are no edits, no overdubs and no additional effects.
This marks a new, heavier direction for Howlround, a project better known for more ambient work. Described as ‘Tapeloop Techno’, thick knotty tangles of dense, pulsating bass are an echo of Robin’s early days making bad dance music, while the abrasive snarls of feedback swirling around these tracks point to his more recent embrace of indeterminacy and chance composition. Previous vinyl releases on Psyché Tropes, The Wormhole, A Year in the Country and Front & Follow as well as his own label The Fog Signals have shown a deep understanding of the possibilities of tape manipulation. On The Debatable Lands Howlround eschews the usual field recordings in favour of exploring the interior world of the machines themselves.
CD + booklet – 3 tracks – 77:49
1. Interview with Carlos Duarte 5:48
2. Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone – Headphones mix 37:00
3. Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone – Speakers mix 35:00
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft
Booklet photography by Philipp Assmy
Mastered by Denis Blackham, Skye
The marginal ice zone is the dynamic border between the open sea and the sea ice, which is ecologically extremely vulnerable. The phytoplankton present in the sea produces half of the oxygen on the planet. During spring, this zone is the most important CO2 sink in our biosphere. In Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone the sounds of the living creatures become a voice in the current political debate concerning the official definition of the location of the ice edge.
In view of the recent UN Climate Change report, this release is most timely…
The listener experiences the bloom of plankton, the shifting and crackling sea ice in the Barents Sea around Spitsbergen, towards the North Pole, and the underwater sounds made by bearded seals, migrating species such as humpbacks and orcas, and the sound made by hunting saithe, crustaceans and spawning cod, all depending on the spring bloom.
Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone is a Sonic Acts and Dark Ecology commission first shown as a 7 channel installation at the Sonic Acts festival (Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam, 2017). It was supported by Art & Technology – Arts Council Norway, Fond for lyd og bilde, Tono stipendet, ARCEx research cruise on R/V Helmer Hanssen, UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Thanks to Paul Wassmann, Ingrid Wiedmann, Britt Kramvig, Berit Kristoffersen, Hilde Methi, Annette Wolfsberger, North Sailing, Arctic Encounters, Mamont Foundation & TBA21 Academy.
CARLOS M. DUARTE is Professor of Marine Science, Tarek Ahmed Juffali Research Chair in Red Sea Ecology, Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division, and is a world-wide leader in multiple branches of biological oceanography and marine ecology.
PHILIPP ASSMY is a researcher at The Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway. Current activities include species-specific studies of planktonic and sympagic communities and primary productivity in the Arctic Ocean north of Svalbard. He is also studying the impact of changing sea ice conditions and associated effects (e.g. changes in light climate and surface stratification) on phytoplankton and ice algal communities.
Strafe F.R have added 8 videos to Touch’s Youtube channel, a new spin on
‘The Bird Was Stolen’ (Touch TO:110) CD.
All the videos were made and edited by Strafe F.R. with absolutely no use of material available online, and thus there are no credits.
Some remarks about the animals that appear… The spider was caught by a
member of STRAFE F.R. in Romania and was subsequently set free unharmed after filming. The dog ‘eating STRAFE F.R.’ was fed with edible paper. The writing was made with food colouring.
“A surrealist’s playground that reminds us what festivals were like before festivals were Festivals™” (Noisey)
The Sanctuary / FAULTLINE curated by Epicenter Projects and Touch presents Jasmin Blasco, Robert Crouch, Yann Novak, Zachary Paul, Simon Scott, Geneva Skeen & Mark Van Hoen in Moreno Beach, Lake Parris, California
+ special guests and collaborations
Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson is widely known for his film soundtracks, including the acclaimed ‘The Theory of Everything’, for which he won a Golden Globe and was nominated for Oscar, BAFTA and Grammy awards.
His tried and tested combination of classical compositions with electronic music was to be heard on highly-praised albums; his debut ‘Englabörn’ (Touch, 2002), ‘Virðulegu Forsetar’ (Touch, 2004), ‘IBM 1401, A User’s Manual’ (4AD, 2006), ‘Fordlândia’ (4AD, 2008) and more recently ‘Orphée’ (DM, 2016).
Jóhannsson passed away unexpectedly earlier this year, in his apartment in Berlin, at the age of 48.
TRIBUTE: IN REMEMBRANCE OF JÓHANN JÓHANNSSON
Together with Adam Wiltzie (A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Stars of the Lid), a close friend, and under the approving eye of Jóhannsson’s management, great care has been taken in selecting a programme, line-up, location and date. Touch is honoured to have been invited to provide the soundtrack (live) either side of the main event.
THE PROGRAMME: ‘VIRÐULEGU FORSETAR’
On the programme: a complete performance of ‘Virðulegu Forsetar’, Jóhann Jóhannsson’s second album, which was released in 2004 as the successor to his debut ‘Englabörn’. ‘Virðulegu Forsetar’ means as much as ‘eminent presidents’ and also served at the time as soundtrack for an expo about … euh … presidents. ‘Virðulegu Forsetar’ is a stately, minimalistic composition in four parts with a duration of about 60 minutes. The instrumentation consists of 11 brass players, percussion, organ and piano. Until now, the album has only been performed live twice (The first was at Ultima, Oslo and then in the famous Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik, the place where Jóhann’s funeral was held.)
THE LOCATION: THE CHURCH OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST AT THE BÉGUINAGE
For the location of the concert, it was a deliberate choice to opt for a church, and then specifically the Church of Saint John The Baptist at the Béguinage. No coincidence, as Adam Wiltzie fell for the acoustics there after a previous successful concert with his band Stars of the Lid.
Adam Wiltzie (electro/organ) – who is also to be heard on diverse soundtracks by Jóhannsson – put together the line-up with the greatest of care. Although it is still a work in progress, aside from Wiltzie, Skúli Sverrisson (bass/electro) and conductor Guðni Franzson will join the band. Both were to be heard on ‘Virðulegu Forsetar’. Belgian Brass was selected for the wind instruments, they had already been invited by Jóhannsson for the live performance of his album ‘The Miners’ Hymns’ (130701, 2011).
There’s no such thing as coincidence, as even the date has been chosen with care. On September 19 Jóhannsson would have turned 49
CD + full album download – 11 tracks – 47:06
Release date: 7th September 2018
Ecce Homo explores the lighter and darker shades of the human psyche, behaviour and existence, and humanity’s ability to create beauty and destruction. What lies in the essence of such complexity has become a core idea for the album, while Gorgun seeks to figure out if there is a true meaning to being human, and human being.
Starting with “Neroli” as a human fascination with nature and finalising with “To Cross Great Rivers”; the album reflects the contemplations of a spectator being exposed to the human civilization, and witnessing human activity, including his/her own.
Trying to acquire a glimpse of the various layers of human flesh and bones, the sound of the album aims to present a diversity of the sonic spectrum, with tracks varying between ambient and noisy landscapes.
1. Neroli – you can listen to this track here
3. Tserin Dopchut
4. Le Sacre l
5. Le Sacre ll
6. Bohemian Grove
8. Knightscope K5
11. To Cross Great Rivers
All tracks recorded and mixed by Ipek Gorgun, Istanbul 2016 – 2018
Mastered by Denis Blackham @ Skye
Photography & design by Jon Wozencroft
Pitchfork: “The Turkish sound artist balances technical precision, emotional potency, and trenchant cultural critique on an album whose individual sounds are as compelling as their widescreen narratives.”
Beach Sloth: “A truly unusual and downright beautiful intersection of the experimental and emotional, Ipek Gorgun’s “Ecce Homo” is a true triumph.”
Ipek Gorgun is an electronic music composer currently enrolled in the doctoral program of Sonic Arts at Istanbul Technical University’s Center for Advanced Studies in Music. After graduating from Bilkent University with a degree in Political Science, she completed her Master’s studies in Philosophy at Galatasaray University.
As one of the participants of the Red Bull Music Academy in 2014, she performed in Tokyo as an opening artist for Ryoji Ikeda’s “Test Pattern No: 6” and joined Otomo Yoshidide for a collective improvisation project.
As a bass player and vocalist for projects and bands such as Bedroomdrunk and Vector Hugo between 2001-2013, she also performed in an opening gig for Jennifer Finch from L7 and Simon Scott from Slowdive, as well as performing live with David Brown from Brazzaville. She has released two EPs with Bedroomdrunk, entitled “This is What Happened (2003)” and “Raw (2007)”.
Besides group projects and solo performances, she also composed the soundtrack for the documentary ‘Yok Anasinin Soyadi (Mrs. His Name) directed by Hande Cayir in 2012, portraying Turkish women’s struggle for keeping their original surnames after marriage.
Her debut album Aphelion was self-released in February, 2016 and is reissued by Touch in December, under the TOUCHLINE catalogue. In 2017 she released a collaborative album from Halocline Trance, with Canadian producer Ceramic TL (aka Egyptrixx) entitled “Perfect Lung”, and a mini-album with the Italian electroacoustic duo, Alberi.
Aside from many performances following these albums, she also performed in Sonar Istanbul (2017), BBC Radio 3’s “Open Ear” at LSO St. Luke’s (2018) and opened for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Oggimusica Acousmonium with an electronic rework of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” (2018).
Ipek Gorgun also practices performance, street and abstract photography. She won the IPA honorable mention award in 2013-14 with her work entitled “Bubblegun Daydreamer” and in 2013, she worked as the advertisement photographer for Contemporary Istanbul Art fair.
Philip Jeck transforms the space
Simon Scott, in the element