TO:119 CLEARED – “Of Endless Light”

CD – 6 tracks – 72:21

Release date: Friday 23rd September 2022

Track listing:

1. First Sleep
2. Of Endless Light
3. Dawn
4. Pulse
5. Blue Drift
6. Walking Field

Now available to order on Bandcamp

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]


Electronic Sound (UK):

The latest album from Steven Hess and Michael Vallera exists in the darkened shadows of their Chicago base. An exercise in maximalist duration but easily missed minimalist detail, ‘Of Endless Light’ requires extreme volume to be fully appreciated. When heard this way, the otherwise quiet, grainy textures of the 18-minute opening track ‘First Sleep’ reveal an ever-shifting landscape of low, fluttering rumbles, overlapping metallic drone splinters, elegiac tones and deeply submerged rhythms. Dramatic, exquisitely layered and hugely absorbing. [Mat Smith]

The New Noise (Italy):

La prima cosa da sapere è che amano i minutaggi lunghi e gli elementi che si aggiungono con cadenza organica. La seconda è che, per i tempi attuali e l’ambito di ricerca, è una discografia alquanto contenuta quella dei Cleared di Chicago, duo composto da Steven Hess (lo si conosce bene da queste parti per il suo operato coi Locrian) e Michael Vallera. Poche uscite ma profilo qualitativo alto e “sorvegliato” sotto tutti gli aspetti. In altre parole: si sente che è gente a cui le cose piace farle bene. Non so se The Key, il disco precedente, sempre su Touch, abbia dato loro una visibilità maggiore per via del prestigio del marchio. Ma quel che è certo è che va recuperato, sia per il mood che lo lega a questo in esame, sia per la sua particolarità. Sì, perché è una specie di doppio album: alle quattro composizioni autografe del duo seguono gli stessi pezzi remixati da Philip Jeck, Christian Fennesz, Bethan Kellough, Olivia Block. Tutta gente perfettamente sulla loro linea di tiro. Che fa emergere, ognuno con la sua sensibilità e portato d’esperienza, aspetti magari nascosti negli originali o nuovi sistemi di relazione tra gli elementi in gioco. Una radiografia intima affidata agli amici e allo stesso tempo una patente d’appartenenza. Ma addentriamoci in questo nuovo Cleared. Flussi di velluto in solitudine appartata che sembrano dirci di un tempo smangiato ai bordi dal suo procedere orizzontale (“First Sleep”); tenue linea di galleggiamento ritmico e correnti ascensionali con squarci d’emotività che crepitano (“Of Endless Light”); partenza drone severa che cambia gradualmente di segno attraverso l’immissione di elementi morbidi (“Dawn”); fondali oleosi da elettronica riduzionista e pulsazioni dub fantasmatiche per una cosa vicina nello spirito alle destrutturazioni languide di un Pinkcourtesyphone (“Pulse”); tintinnii di campane che farebbero felice il David Shea dell’ultimo disco su Room40 (“Blue Drift”); cartolina dei saluti dove i colori sembrano prendere vita dopo tanti banchi di nebbia (“Walking Field”). È inutile girarci intorno o sforzarsi di aggiungere altro: tra quanti trafficano in quella terra di mezzo dove deep drones, minimalismo, estetica Kranky si compenetrano, Hess e Vallera sono i più bravi e preparati. Scommettiamo che vedremo comparire questo disco in molte playlist di fine anno? [Loris Zecchin]

Otis Nugatory:

How can music be so wordless yet say so much? Evocative-grinding; spatial-condensed; drone-journeyscapes. Distant cousin of of Coils’ How To Destroy Angels. Thanks to Bruce from Kranky for recommending; going on my Best of 2022 since no album has so aptly captured our world and its limping around the sun. Joins Touch pantheons like Fennesz and Biosphere.

TO:109 Phill Niblock – “Working Touch”

This USB stick packaged in a digipac is now available to order from:

North America – from Forced Exposure
Rest of World – from Soundohm

Music composed/created between October 2013 and February 2016

Mastered by Tom Hamilton
Photos by Phill Niblock
Artwork by Jon Wozencroft

The music is eleven minutes longer than the film length, so the last music piece is faded at the end of the film, but is complete in the music files which are on the USB memory stick in 24bit, 44.1kHz.

You will note that the music notes say – “material recorded . . .” These pieces are all for one and two instruments, where the composer and musicians went to a studio and recorded (generally) mono tracks of the notes which are later used by the composer to build a multitrack environment of up to 32 tracks, and to make many microtonal extra notes which are added to the original recorded ones.


1. Praised Fan, for bassoon (2016, 17 min)
2. Dafne Vicente-Sandoval, bassoon. Commissioned for the Adelaide Festival, Australia, by Ilan Volkov. Material recorded at Marcus Schmickler’s P I E T H O P R A X I S studio in Koln, Germany.

First Out, for guitar (2015, 22:14)
David First, guitar. Completed in November 2015 in Hong Kong. Premiered on Czech Radio in Prague, Czech Republic, Nov. 27 2015. Material recorded at Berklee School of Music, Boston, MA.

DreGliss (2015, 19:15)
Erik Drescher, glissando flute. Material recorded at Marcus Schmickler’s P I E T H O P R A X I S studio in Koln, Germany.

V&LSG (2015, 21:20)
Lore Lixenberg, voice; Guy De Bievre, lap steel guitar. Material recorded at Johan Vandermaelen’s studio in Aaigem, Belgium

Bag (Sept 2014, 21 minutes)
David Watson, bagpipe. Material recorded at Berklee School of Music, Boston, MA.

A Rooks Pun (2014, 21 min)
Ulrich Krieger, soprano saxophone. Material recorded at The California Institute for the Arts, Valencia, CA.

Ronet (2014, 21:08)
Neil Leonard, tenor saxophone. Material recorded at Berklee School of Music, Boston, MA.

Octavio Perc (2014, 20:45)
Julien Ottavi, percussion. Material recorded at APO33, Nantes, France.

Vlada BC (Nov 7, 2013, 20:00)
Elisabeth Smalt, viola d’amore. Material recorded at Marcus Schmickler’s P I E T H O P R A X I S studio in Koln, Germany.

Euph (Nov 2013, 23:40)
Melvyn Poore, two-belled euphonium. Material recorded in the Ensemble Musikfabrik studios in Koln Germany

Unipolar Dance (Oct 2 2013, 25:04)
Pauline Kim and Conrad Harris, violins and violas (for two violins and two violas, recorded in stereo). Material recorded in Robert Poss’s Trace Elements studio in NYC, NY.

Phill Niblock travelled to China and Japan and other places in the world, from 1973 until 1991, specifically to film material for China88, Japan89 and other pieces. He was accompanied by an interpreter to facilitate contacts with his subjects. They did not make arrangements in advance, but travelled into the countryside in a university van in China and in a rented car in Japan, stopping the vehicle when Niblock saw something suitable for filming. At that point he immediately assembled his bulky camera and tripod and began, relying on his companions to explain what he was doing if necessary. There was little, if any, resistance or curiosity. Remarkably, almost none of the subjects in his films pay attention to or even seem to notice the camera. His explanation is that they were busy working (as we can see) and also because they considered him to be equally engaged in work.

Here I refer to the overused John Cage aphorism proposing a disconnect between composing, performing and listening. In the case of filmmaking, it is more apt to divide the three activities into conceiving as one thing, executing another, and viewing a third. “What can they have to do with one another?” as Cage asks. “Plenty!” is my answer after viewing and thinking about Phill Niblock’s films, but the connections are far from straightforward. In terms of conception, Niblock says that he conceived The Movement of People Working film series because he couldn’t afford to bring a dance troupe with him to his international performances and exhibitions. From this admission, a viewer can extract a hint as to what to look for – not labor in and of itself, not labor as productive and goal-driven, but labor as movement. It accounts for the emphasis in his films on manual labor, which frequently consists of trained, deliberate and even rhythmic repetitive motion. Labor as choreography.

As for execution, there is a strong match between the general title of the series and what was required to shoot and edit the films. A major proportion of the original material is in the films, with only flash frames between shots removed from the workprint, which was used for screening. So the preparation of the film for projection (find end of shot, cut out white frames, tape splice ends) was time-consuming, repetitive, and minimally creative, but ultimately productive ― a corollary to the repetitive labor seen on screen. Another bout of repetitive labor was necessary after the workprints had been transferred to digital files, this time using an editing application to remove the glitches caused by the tape splices riding through the film transfer apparatus. One way to understand the project is in the labor required for its production, and identification of the filmmaker with the working men and women portrayed. But this is too simple and open to obvious objections on social and political grounds.

The People Working films rarely if ever show the result of the labor recorded: no woven baskets, no fish dinners, no plowed, seeded or verdant fields. Laborious repetition without results is not a recipe for a great viewing experience. What then is the effect of these films? How is a viewer to comprehend them, to react to them? What mindset is it appropriate to bring to a screening? Without a temporal architecture, a development in time, without sign posts or maps real or metaphorical, without time markers, or indications of the filmmaker’s presence: they are neither a record of the artist’s travels, nor anthropological field data.

But they do mark out a specific aesthetic territory.

Phill Niblock’s music and films contravene the drive of local memory and anticipation integral to much musical and cinematic experience, the sense that each moment is conditioned by what directly preceded it and what came before that, while simultaneously pointing forward to resolutions or further complications, driving toward closure, always toward the sense of an ending in which all threads are tied, all paths satisfactorily closed. This conception of temporality is fundamental especially to pre-20th century Western music, and basic to both conventional narrative cinema and even advanced artists’ moving image works.

But the moment-to-moments of China88 and Japan89 do not point to endings. The subject of each film is consistent ― recordings of the labor of working men and women, often engaged in activities that have not changed much in a millennium or two ― but each shot is independent. Experiencing the films can be compared to bodily sensation, to which concepts and generalizations never quite fit. Words cannot capture and communicate the twinge or tang of pain, the flash of sudden bright light, the oomph of an explosion, the sizzle of orgasm. It is not that these felt sensations come and go in an instant ― they may continue, or stop and start, but words don’t convey them, won’t pin them down, like a scrap of paper sliding off an oily pipe. Sensations stick in memory not as experience but as re-conceptualized and fixed by emotion-names, but the concepts and names never really stick to them. This may be the source of Wittgenstein’s insight that there cannot be a private language and Kant’s distinction between affect and emotion. The experience of Niblock’s film is closer to affect than emotion, more sensation than concept.

The films, I suggest, require a suspension of expectation, the viewer opening himself/herself up to an experience of delight in color, in scale, rhythm, in the unfamiliar; in the visual arrangement of shaded planes on a flat screen surface that simultaneously depicts figures in recessive space. The films demand an embrace of a continuous presence, with future and past fading into irrelevance as they recede from and come into being. Only the present has import. Conventional cinematic concepts like closure, montage, and development are out of play. It is the joy of the moment based on the hypnotic magic of the recording of motion, of sound, of time – relatively recent achievements in the long history of human technology.
How is this sense of continuous presence triggered?

Almost all the images in the films are shot under the aesthetic demands of still photography, presenting the scene so that an entire world seems contained in the frame. Since Griffith and Eisenstein the cinema frame has been designed for the edit. An actress looks off-screen, out of the frame. What has captured her attention? Whether the following shot shows what she is looking at or not, the tension in the original frame objectifies an absence, demanding an answer. A close-up fragment asks the viewer to imagine what is omitted, the absence to be confirmed or denied by later images. An action scene is another example, assembled from rapid details, none of which makes sense or is of interest when extracted from the sequence.

The photographer’s vision is the obverse of the cinematographer’s. Everything that matters is in the frame, the frame designed so that its elements are in balance, and when the gaze wanders to the frame line, the planar arrangement of the composition returns it back into the picture. “A world in the frame” is the photographer’s motto. Niblock composes his cinema frame photographically, but unlike a photograph the rhythms and motions of repeated actions are also within this complete world. A viewer switches from looking at to looking into the projection and back again. We revel in the present.

On the other hand, there is much development within an individual shot. Take for example the shot that begins at 38:03 in China.

Bales of hay randomly arranged but defined in the spatial layout of five figures roughly arranged in a receding circle in the depicted space, an ellipse on the screen plane. One is simultaneously aware of both the flat screen and the recessive space it depicts. The closest (and largest) figure is seen only as an off-white shirt back, the furthest (and smallest) a pith-helmeted head. A flash of white sky in the upper right provides a balance to the granola-colored densities of straw bales. The plane of the screen is elegantly divided, in an almost perfect layout, and, as a model of good photographic composition, and the viewer is confined within the layout. Soon some movement: the camera moves down and left, following the white-shirted figure, to discover a rose pink-shirted back, the pink playing against the now mustard straw color of the bales, in the deliberate color palette of an Alex Katz or Matisse. The screen rearranges itself dynamically, revealing a slotted ladder up the mound of bales. Colors and forms are in harmony, offering the purified visual pleasure of the screen plane independent of the subjects depicted. But now one is aware of the heft of the bundled straw as the man hauls himself up the ladder, one bale in his arms. We feel its weight, and now the camera has shifted subtly once more, the man, the ladder, the bale and background are isolated. The camera follows him and there at the top of the frame, against the sky, revealed in a echo of the first part of the shot, three men, tiny heads really, watch him and wait, giving a sense of the social distinctions in the scene, the single laborer and the three managers or supervisors. It is a small event-filled sequence, like a miniature narrative film, offering substantial sensual and cinematic satisfaction. The worker delivers the bale, tossing it over and over, under the eyes of the three watchers. A stand-alone 39 seconds. A cinematic aria, elegantly delivered. Bravo!

Niblock’s practice is to run to several of his films simultaneously, his music playing at the same time. The atmosphere generated is conducive to the sense of continuous presence, where sensation rather than concept, affect rather than emotion, govern the experience. Once a viewer/listener yields to this approach, the image, the sounds ― the combination is deep and compelling. – Grahame Weinbren

T33.9D Behzad – “Myth”

Now available to order on Bandcamp

Track listing:

1. Myth 1
2. Myth 2

All arrangements of original songs are based on pre-Islamic music from the Sassanian and Achamenian eras (100 BC to 500 AD). Instruments used on this recording are: TAMBOUR – the first documentary evidence referring to this 3-stringed acoustic long-necked lute occurs in Susa, an ancient city in South West Persia. In ancient myth, Soroush (or ‘The Muses’) played the tambour to awaken humans with the sound of love as they slept after the creation of the world. Originally the lutes were called ‘star’ or ‘setar’, meaning ‘sound producer’. The sound of the tambour represents the planet Mars, or ‘the Iron Planet’. In Sufi music (ie post-islam), a tambour is usually played with the DAF – this tambourine represents the Sun and means ‘beat’ or ‘tap’ (the same root as the word ‘tabla’), which is the sound of the heart. Together, the tambour and the daf represent the planets revolving around the sun, and the combination of the rhythms symbolises the secret of creation. The daf also represents femininity and the tambour masculinity (as Yin and Yan). TOMBAK (featured here on Spring) is the most common drum to be found in Persian music. In the Sassanian era (the last dynasty before Islam), ‘tombak’ meant poetical rhythm, or the skilful use of the fingers to produce a wide range of sounds. It has the same linguistic derivation… more

Originally released on cassette only July 1, 1989

Recorded and engineered by Behzad Blourfroushan and Olivier Abitbol, to whom grateful thanks are due. [Kensington, Summer 1989]

V33.50 Various Artists – “Touch: Displacing”

Photography and design by Jon Wozencroft

12 tracks

1. Sohrab – Kharabat 21:44
2. Olivia Block – Wuther 15:31
3. Bana Haffar – Intimations 17:59
4. Chris Watson – Station Chapelle 14:35
5. Richard Chartier – Recompletion (3-1)18:36
6. Robert Crouch – A Drowning 09:31
7. Geneva Skeen – The clap of the fading-out sound of your shoes 17:43
8. Carl Stone – Namidabashi 14:36
9. John Eckhardt – 48k 27:23
10. Philip Jeck – This is the Hour of Lead-13:30
11. Bethan Kellough – Underlying 18:58
12. Oren Ambarchi – Celeste Confit 31:52

Now available as a full album for the first time, released 5th November 2021 on Bandcamp

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

This album supersedes the Touch: Displacing subscription and is now available as a stand-alone release.

Twelve 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, John Eckhardt, Bana Haffar, Philip Jeck, Bethan Kellough, Geneva Skeen, Sohrab, Carl Stone and Chris Watson, leading with “Kharabat” by Sohrab – 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 is 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 Beauty of Fractals”, Heinz-Otto Peitgen and Peter Richter, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg 1986

All tracks mastered by Denis Blackham, to whom once again grateful thanks are due.

Tone 32V Fennesz Sakamoto – “Cendre”

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)

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…

Track list:

1. oto
2. aware
3. haru
4. trace
5. kuni
6. mono
7. kokoro
8. cendre
9. amorph
10. glow
11. abyss

TO:118 Travelogue – “Nepal”

CD – 3 tracks – 54:51

Release date: Friday 13th August 2021

Track listing:

1. PharLoKora 19:00
2. Anadu 10:43
3. Annapurna 10:33
4. Sagarmatha (Chomolungma) 14:35

Now available to pre-order on Bandcamp

Photography by CMvH
Design by Jon Wozencroft
Mastered by Denis Blackham

Travelogue [Nepal] is the first in a series of collected international audio diaries. The premise is quite simple: the two galavant the globe with field-, EVP- and phone recorders and other devices where they record the essence of everything from the tiniest microcosms of nature on up to the polluted, diesel–fuelled roars of postmodern globalization. What surfaced are soundtracks that act as sonic documentaries of their travels.

In September 2019, CM von Hausswolff and Chandra Shukla met in Kathmandu, Nepal, over the course of 7 days. Recordings were made at the Bagh Bhairav Temple and Chilancho Stupa (Kirtipur), Durbar Square, Boudhanath Stupa, Swayambhunath Stupa and Shri Pashupatinath Temple (Kathmandu) and at The World Peace Pagoda, The Shiva Cave, Devi Falls and Phewa Tal Lake (Pokhara).


Blow Up (Italy):

“Travelogue” is the first publication of a series of audio diaries in which musicians record and rework the sounds collected in some places that are on the fringes of the interests of globalized postmodern capitalism but significant for their history and tradition. The first of these sent the Swede von Hausswolff and the American Shukla to Nepal. These are basically reworked and rethought field recordings. The result is a work halfway between Genesis P-Orridge (with whom the Californian-New Yorker tablas scholar CS had to a connection) and Eliane Radigue. Hypnotic and monolithic the pieces are more oriented to find the same atmosphere in the places they pass through than to highlight the different shades, for what appears more a metaphysical diary than a colourful devotional pilgrimage, despite the sonic triumph of the Tibetan bell. Trans.)

Tone 79 Faith Coloccia & Philip Jeck – “Stardust”

CD – 11 tracks – 59:46

Track listing:

1. Stardust
2. Archaea
3. Acquire the Air
4. Creosote
5. Seeds Planted in the Heart
6. Mycobiont
7. Usnea
8. I Feel As if the Grass Was Pleased
9. Speaking Stone
10. Mycorrhizae
11. Sun

Now available to order on Bandcamp

Using cassette recordings from 2015-2018
*Some songs (in different form) appear on the Mára recording “Here Behold Your Own”.

Remixed using dubplates of Faith’s mixes and additional recordings by Philip Jeck in Liverpool, UK, 2020.

Mastered by Denis Blackham
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft

Faith Coloccia is an American artist and composer based in Vashon, WA. She was born and raised in Palm Springs, CA, and attended Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles (BFA). Her work is focused on time deconstruction, inherited memory, indexical archives and how sound affects the body in space.

Using voice, field recordings, visual scores and traditional instrumentation, she unites composition, spirituality and installation acoustics into a cohesive whole. She performs under the names of Mamiffer and Mára and has been commissioned by and performed at festivals such as Big Ears (US), Hopscotch (US) and Sacrum Profanum (PL). She has performed in Europe, North America and Japan, and has collaborated with artists such as Daniel Menche, Jon Mueller, Aaron Turner, Circle and Eyvind Kang. Her work has been released on SIGE Records, Karlrecords. Room40 and Touch.

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.

He has released 11 solo albums, the most recent “Cardinal”, a double vinyl release on Touch. “Suite”, another vinyl -only release, won a Distinction at The Prix Ars Electronica, and a cassette release on The Tapeworm, “Spool”, playing only bass guitar. His CD “Sand” (2008) was 2nd in The Wire’s top 50 of the year. His largest work made with Lol Sargent, “Vinyl Requiem” was for 180 record-players, 9 slide-projectors and 2 16mm movie-projectors. It received a Time Out Performance Award. Vinyl Coda I-III, a commission from Bavarian Radio in 1999 won the Karl Sczuka Foderpreis for Radio Art.

Philip also still works as a visual artist, usually incorporating sound and has shown installations at The Bluecoat, Liverpool, Hayward Gallery, London, The Hamburger Bahnhof Gallery, Berlin, ZKM in Karlsruhe and The Shanghai and Liverpool Bienalles.

Philip Jeck has won the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers 2009. A presentation ceremony took place at The Royal Institute of British Architects, London, on 9th November 2009.

He has toured in an Opera North production playing live to the silent movie Pandora’s Box (composed by Hildur Gudnadottir and Johann Johannson).He has also worked again with Gavin Bryars on a composition “Pneuma” for a ballet choreographed by Carolyn Carlson for The Opera de Bordeaux and has recently made and performed the sound for “The Ballad of Ray & Julie” at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool.


Cyclic Defost (AU):

Faith Coloccia is an American songwriter and musician best known via Seattle outfits Mamiffer and House of Low Culture. UK artist Phillip Jeck works with old junk shop record players creating this ephemeral almost melancholic hauntology. When Coloccia managed to catch one of Jeck’s Seattle concerts she asked if he was interested in a collaboration. This is the result.

It’s a collaboration, though it’s also a remix project – just not in the way you expect. Following the birth of her son Coloccia began recording melodies drawn from lullabies she would sing for him, enhanced with piano, organ, electronics, guitar. She released some of these as Mára’ back in 2019 on Here Behold Your Own. After the conversation with Jeck she started pressing material onto dubplates for him to manipulate via his unique use of pedals and record players.

The results are probably what you expect, warm woozy washes of sound that seem to arrive right at the intersection between the two artists. It’s fascinating to hear Jeck’s work on new records as we’re so used to hearing all the reverbed pops and skips and imperfections – which in a way has cloaked his music from the outset, yet here its relatively clean. Yet he is an expert in abstraction in elongating and distending the sounds from their original source – and this is what he does here. In Jeck’s music sounds appear for a few moments and then are subsumed by the whole, before another sound does the same. In this way the focus continually shifts across the piece.

Coloccia’s instrumental pieces in particular are quite amazing, progression no longer feels linear. Jeck creates whole new structures, density and modulations. Gentle minimal pieces become all encompassing waves of sound. Cadences are woozy, cyclical, and calming. Weird impediments appear. Yet these just make everything better. His handling of the vocals too is remarkable, Jeck offers heavenly drifting reverb and ghostly backup singers, restructuring the gentle lullabies into something entirely new. At times it feels like we’re heading in Gavin Bryarsterritory here. The transformation is remarkable.

It’s hard to know what this is. And that’s what makes it so great. Rather than the sum of the two artist’s parts it feels like this project has elevated both of them into entirely new realms.

Further. (UK):

Sometimes in life you find yourself constructing walls around yourself, often subconsciously. Those structures form through the need for emotional self-preservation, retreat, a desire for safety or just through a need to fend off something that you feel bearing down on you. Some of those walls are temporary and as fragile as an ego; others are like a bunker, as permanent as a concrete cap on an atomic bomb-ravaged atoll.

Continue reading…

Boomkat (UK):

Transcendent material that finds legendary experimental turntablist Philip Jeck using dubplates from Mamiffer’s Faith Collocia and distorting them into a hazy, ambient fog of texture and tone. Jeck met Collocia in Seattle back in 2016, where she asked if he’d be interested in working with some recordings that she’d been collecting over the years. She sent him cassette recordings made from 2015-2018 cut to dubplates, but while Jeck liked them, he felt unable to add anything he thought was particularly worthwhile. Last year in lockdown, Jeck approached the material again and had a breakthrough, reshaping them into music that surprised both artists. Collocia’s source material was recorded when her son was a newborn and formed during naptimes, so the sounds embody a blissful peacefulness while swerving any corny lullaby signifiers. Jeck’s additions of reverb and vinyl treatment push the sounds into haunted landscapes, retaining the essence of Collocia’s material but giving them new depth and texture. ‘Stardust’ is a satisfying meeting of minds, and a perfect middle ground between both artists’ strengths. Collocia’s raw emotional weight and Jeck’s emphasis on sound and methodology is a match made in heaven.

Pitchfork (USA):

Mamiffer’s Faith Coloccia pressed her music—faintly liturgical songs and sound poems about self and motherhood—onto dubplates for turntablist Philip Jeck to smear and distort, to uncanny effect.

As Mamiffer’s Faith Coloccia was raising her first child with her husband, left-field metal lifer Aaron Turner, she recorded a set of haunting, faintly liturgical songs and sound poems in the windows of time when the baby was sleeping and she could focus her attention on her work. These recordings first found their way onto Here Behold Your Own, her 2019 release as Mára, which played like a real-time audio diary of her experience of new motherhood. “A lot of the material that I used to make this record felt like the last glimpses of ‘me’ before I became another me,” Coloccia said of the music at the time.

That material has surfaced once again in the form of Stardust, an unorthodox collaboration with English turntablist Philip Jeck. The two artists didn’t work together in the same room; instead, Coloccia pressed the raw material for the album, much of which can be heard unadulterated on Here Behold Your Own, onto dubplates. Jeck then used pedals and electronics to smear and distort Coloccia’s recordings, as he’s done throughout his career with the old vinyl records he deploys on his vintage turntables. It’s a leap of faith to give music so personal to a sound artist whose work makes no effort to keep its source material recognizable. But despite Stardust being essentially a remix album, it maintains an uncanny synthesis between the two artists’ styles. It somehow sounds entirely like a Faith Coloccia album and entirely like a Philip Jeck album at once. It helps that both artists are drawn to sounds associated with the church: organs, bells, choirs, pianos.

Coloccia grew up in a Lutheran household, and Stardust shows a hint of Sunday-school irreverence—the puckish desire of many artists who were raised Christian to simultaneously borrow and subvert the sounds and imagery they grew up with. On “Acquire the Air,” a vast, shimmering organ struggles to maintain its dignity as it finds its way through a daisy chain of pitch-shifted effects. The second half of “Creosote” finds Coloccia singing solemnly over a reversed piano loop as Jeck lets an ugly swell of low-end noise sneak up on her from underneath; it’s easy to imagine Coloccia in church singing a hymn, eyes raised to heaven, distracted from the demonic presence stalking her from below. “Speaking Stone,” the only song where Coloccia’s voice penetrates the soup and comes to the fore, sounds like a Gregorian chant until Jeck starts to layer her voice, allowing a little bit of harmony to desecrate this fiercely monophonic tradition.

Jeck’s work is usually shadowed by an alluring pall of static and vinyl crackles. Perhaps because Coloccia’s dubplates were pressed more recently than his customary source material, that static is absent, replaced by an omnipresent swath of reverb. Stardustconjures a tremendous sense of space, as if it were being performed in a cathedral, and all the echo means the tracks blur together a little more easily on Stardust than they did on Here Behold Your Own. Stardust takes the listener on a journey, while the predecessor felt like a record of someone else’s quest. But it lacks the sense of clarity on Jeck’s best albums, like Stoke or 7, which balanced obfuscation with the revelatory feel of clouds lifting. Here Behold Your Own put the listener right beside Coloccia as she went through her time of transformation. On Stardust, seen through the fogged glass of Jeck’s production, her old life seems further away than ever. [Daniel Bromfield]

The Wire (UK):

Blow Up (Italy):

TO:1D Simon Tassano & Eddy Sayer – “Waterglass”

Release date: 2nd April 2021

Now available on Bandcamp

DL – 1 track – 44:53

Track listing:

1. Waterglass

Waterglass was originally conceived as a soundtrack for artist Sheila Stewart to paint seascapes at Studio One and a Quarter North London in 1984.

Originally released on cassette in 1984. Each cassette inlay card contained a colour photo from North Wales taken by Simon Tassano – a different one each time, from hundreds of gloss ‘snappy snaps’, cut in half at the printers.

Remastered by Simon Tassano, 18th February 2021 at Rumiville, Austin, Texas
Original recording mixed at Elephant Studios, July 1984
Design & photography by Jon Wozencroft, who writes:

“Simon had found some down time at Elephant Studios in Wapping in July 1984, it was a weekday and we turned up with a plan, but no clear idea as to what might happen as a result of the session.

I’d met Eddy, his partner Sheila Stewart, and Simon at the Diorama near Regents Park. It turned out that Eddy and Sheila lived near me in West Hampstead and I made many happy visits to their semi-derelict garden studio, a great ground floor space with sky lights where Eddy experimented with his percussion and Sheila painted.

Eddy says that on my first visit I needed to borrow a microphone. Whilst I was there they were playing a prototype mix of what would become ‘Waterglass’. The steady creep of “Why don’t we release it?” resulted in this Elephant Studios session – for Eddy a chance to finesse the soundtrack that inspired the seascapes  that Sheila was working on, for Simon, to push his production skills – we talked of “Ambient dub” and “Environmental sound”.

Eddy turned up to the studio with his gongs and cymbals. Simon and Eddy had made field recordings of the sea in Cornwall, and we set to work, it was late morning (we were owls rather than larks at the time). I remember the tuning up procedure, in particular. Simon set Eddy in motion, and then proceeded to play around with the console to stunning effect. This was not recorded.

I was sitting there as an observer/encourager and thought that was a flying start. To put this into context, this was the first time we – Touch – has embarked on a release that was not a compilation but an artist-only project. We didn’t have a clue, really. We felt it had to be a cassette due to our origins and existing modus operandi, so the next consideration was to master the material so that it would fit the sonic parameters of that medium.

The allotted time didn’t give us much slack in terms of experimentation. We had to be done by end-of-afternoon. So this is indeed a performance, our first toe into the water of singular releases, Touch TO:1.

This was the first time we made a manufactured cassette with printed labels, when previous we’d done everything with tape copiers at Mike’s flat in Wandsworth and the discount deal we had established with Maxell cassettes.

Here we are pleased to present this remastered version from Simon’s original, without the perils of tape hiss, now somehow shorn of the naivety of inexperience.”

TouchLine 10 CLEARED – “Breathing Ring”

Video single – 1 track – 7:23

Track listing:

1. Breathing Ring

Now available on Bandcamp

All sound by Steven Hess & Michael Vallera
Recorded by Greg Norman
Arranged and mixed by Michael Vallera
Mastered by Matthew Barnhart, December 2020
Published by Touch Music/Fairwood Music UK Ltd.

TO:121VS Claire M Singer – “Forrig”

Promo video single – 1 track – 8:55

Track listing:

1. Forrig

Recorded at Union Chapel, London 12th December 2020 on the organ built by Father Henry Willis 1877. You can watch it on Youtube here.

Directed and filmed by Jay Richardson

Written and performed by Claire M Singer
Published by Touch Music/Fairwood Music UK Ltd
Mastered by Denis Blackham

V33.50 Various Artists – “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

TO:117 Jacaszek – “Gardenia”

CD + DL – 9 tracks – 48:29

Available on Bandcamp
Release date: 30th October 2020

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


Datawave (USA):

The legendary British label Touch has just released a new work by Polish composer and sound sculptor Michal Jacaszek. The general idea of Michal’s approach is a combination of classical music and modern electronic textures. Gardenia in this case, is a bit different from his previous work. This time, the main sound source of the album is field recordings.

Last year, he went to an annual art residency Sonic Mmabolela in South Africa, curated by famous Spanish sound artist and scientist Francisco Lopez. Right next to the Botswana border, there is a place called Mmabolela, located at a big private nature reserve in the Limpopo province, covering 6500ha of a subtropical savanna and a part of the Limpopo River. It is easy to imagine how rich the sonic environment of this far land can be! Hours of recordings of birds, insects, frogs, trees, bushes, grass, as well as stones and shells have been digitally reworked and rearranged into nine tracks of highly concentrated and beautiful atmospheric music.

It is necessary to stress that Gardenia by Jacaszek is not typical music for chilling and relaxation, based on the sounds of wild nature mixed with melodic ambient or new age. It is a much more interesting and serious sound research of a skillful compositional approach to minimal electronica, abstract melodic clusters, soft noises and ambiences, acoustic sounds flavored partly by enlightened melancholic moods. According to Michal’s notes on the album, his intention was “not to document the sound world of South Africa or to create something conceptional… All I do in my work is an affirmation of beauty hidden in various aspects of the Creation” (UK):

It’s the best part of a decade since I last encountered Michał Jacaszek. Glimmer is one of those records I’ve been dead into, then kind of forgotten about, then been delighted to rediscover all over again. I seem to love it a little more each time around.

I kind of fell in love with Gardenia on first listen. It’s a sparse piece. The sound sources are varied, but their application is restrained, hesitant almost, often stutteringly so. There are fragments of melodies, which come and go lightly. And while this isn’t a straight-up field recording composition, the field recordings play a critical role here: these were sourced in Mmabolela, a nature reserve in Limpopo, South Africa, at a residency curated by the maestro Francisco López (who also mastered the record). It seems tediously prosaic to call this music atmospheric, but that’s very precisely what it is. At the risk of gushing: this is a work of deep and subtle magic, and I look forward to discovering and rediscovering it over years to come.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Modern Classical / Ambient.

TO:116 CLEARED – “The Key”

8 tracks – CD + DL – 1:12:24

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

Track listing:

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.


The Chicago Reader:

Recording studios have reputations, and Chicago’s Electrical Audio is well-known as the place to go if you want to capture how your band really sounds. But when Michael Vallera and Steven Hess of local duo Cleared entered that establishment in spring 2019, they were in the early phase of a transformation. Their first four albums had navigated a linear path through stark rock structures and synthetic sounds, informed by the way those elements sounded in concert. But for their fifth, The Key, they started not with tunes but with written diagrams, which the two of them used to guide a series of studio improvisations. Vallera then took the raw recordings back home and spent a year extracting a finished album out of that material. During that process he not only filtered out anything that sounded like a riff or a melody but also layered and amplified individual elements until they became discrete musical entities. “Bonded” disassembles the component sounds of a drum kit and scatters them across a couple looped guitar notes that appear and reappear like the lights of passing cars flickering across a bedroom ceiling. And the 13-minute “Of Air” consists mostly of guitar resonance and a few low drumbeats stirred into field recordings of a thunderstorm. Once the work was complete, Cleared commissioned remixes of each of the album’s four tracks from Fennesz, Philip Jeck, Bethan Kellough (three of their labelmates on Touch), and fellow Chicagoan Olivia Block. Some of these collaborators turned Cleared’s music into mirror images of their own, while others created crystallized reductions of it—but all of them continued the process of unlocking sounds and tinkering with them at an atomic level. [Bill Meyer]

Blow Up (Italy)

Spire 7.1 The Eternal Chord – “Mutatis Mutandis”

12 tracks – DL + pdf – 1:42:06

Available on Bandcamp 4th September 2020
Release date: 4th September 2020

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

featuring 12 exclusive new compositions, using source material from Semper Liber by:

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”

1 track – DL only – 19:01

Now available on Bandcamp
Release date: 3rd July 2020

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.

Buy 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.


Feature in The Battleground may be read here

data.wave (USA):

Simon Scott is not only the resident drummer in the shoegaze band Slowdive, but he has also been releasing solo works in the genre of ambient since 2009, which have been coming out out on various renowned labels such as Miasmah, 12k and the British label Touch. His newest creation bearing the name of Migrations, has also enriched the discography of this English label. It is worth mentioning that Scott has his own unique vision of the genre, and it can be felt since the very first seconds of the album.

Hard cyclical cold sounds of the composition Red Square are accompanied by simultaneous train noises, as if the audience were in the metro, reminiscent of an ever-moving city at nighttime. This city is akin to a machine, it doesn’t stumble over obstacles and instead bulldozes right through them. At the very end of the track, a voice can be heard announcing the Tverskaya station of the metro.

Softly and carefully, like the night’s breath, the track Murmurations pours into the world of sound, as if a spinning mechanism, later turning into a more static drone piece with vibrating and strong like a beverage audio personality. At times, one can hear sounds made by an airborne machine, birds’ chirping, rushing waters, and a squeaking animal. Nevertheless, Murmurations is still an image of a harsh and, in a way, dormant nature, where even a small event appears to be a huge conscious step in the direction of something new. Around the 10th minute, the drone structure becomes increasingly aggressive, reaching the peak of the electrification of the proceeding.

The Borderlands, the third track of the album Migrations, begins with pleasant and appetizing crunching of an unknown item. It is also possible to hear odd apocalyptic sounds that resemble moving objects. The bassline of The Borderlands adds a feeling of concern for what is occuring, a premonition about some forgotten island on Earth suffering an irreversible catastrophe, like a tsunami, since starting with the 4th minute of the track we can hear waves. All of it causes one to feel that we are facing a giant ocean, there is an old rusty vessel anchored nearby, and the bottom of the ocean is infested with an enormous amount of sunken objects.

The final composition Fen(ce) yet again contains chirping of birds, something reminiscent of a squeaky rope, and also minimalistic noises made by a device which is seemingly still looking for signal in that same lost spot of the map. By the 4th minute, the minimalistic sounds form a cozy melody and for the first time in the whole album, give some warmth to the audience. Suddenly, the surrounding atmosphere becomes familiar and attractive for a while, losing all its greyness, after which, the signal searching sounds make a return, leaving behind a degree of ambiguity.

Migrations is a real anthem to land that hasn’t been stepped on by the man. And if someday you decide to visit some cold and uninhabited place, don’t forget about this album, it will help you feel that which is impossible to appreciate with the mind.

Stellage (Russia):

Релиз доступен для предварительного заказа. Ориентировочная дата поступления в продажу 26/06/2020 /


Бессменный (со дня выпуска их первого альбома) барабанщик русской народной шугейз-группы Slowdive Саймон Скотт десять с небольшим лет назад наконец-то, после двух десятилетней работы в поп-музыке, позволил себе выдохнуть и занялся сольной карьерой. От бушующего эмбиента с барабанами его собственное творчество постепенно двинулось к тому, что сам Скотт называет работой «звукового эколога», то есть — обработанным студийно, переосмысленным и отредактированным полевым записям, которые на одном из своих уровней посвящены вопросам влияния человека на окружающую среду. Не только в плане экологии — но и вообще влиянию как инструменту конструирования окружения. Именно такую идею несут два альбома, которые он уже успел выпустить на лейбле Touch: дебютный, «Soundings», вышел в прошлом году, а вот сейчас подоспел новый — «Migrations».

Первая сторона — четверть часа повторяющегося звука ударов божьей наковальни. Звука, собранного из записей акустической панорамы московского метро («проходящего под Красной площадью», да и собственно сама композиция называется «Red Square», но все-таки хотелось бы конкретики — писался ли Скотт на «Охотном ряду» или на станции «Александровский сад»? Или где?). Музыка сходу обнаруживает в себе руководящую ее собственной логикой эмоцию: трепет перед неизвестностью, которую открывает для человека пребывание в радикально изменяющих природу пространство, таким образом подчиняющих ее своей воле — что вплоть до недавних времен было синонимично широкому пониманию понятия «прогресс» в принципе, — но совсем не проясняющих будущее. Пресловутый трепет не пропадает в мрачных пульсациях звуковых композиций Скотта и на второй стороне пластинки, на которой записаны звуки уже не машинно-человеческого, а природного происхождения: крики и песни тысяч воронов, грачей и галок, слетевшихся одним вечером на полосу побережья в Норфолке. Птицы выступают хором заволакивающей слух тревоги — такого рода, что хочется то ли покаяться, то ли помолиться, то ли все сразу. А потом — навечно уйти из реальности, взявшей в окружение травмами, которые она успела причинить всем и сразу. [Олег Соболев для STELLAGE]

The Attic Mag (net): Staff Pics –

Simon Scott is a British composer, mastering engineer and sound artist from The Fens in Cambridgeshire, England. His work explores creative methodologies of field recording, the process of active listening, the implications of recording the natural world using technology and the manipulation of natural sounds used for musical composition. “Each of us is beginning to feel the ground slip away beneath our feet. We are discovering, more or less obscurely, that we are all in migration toward territories yet to be rediscovered and reoccupied.” (Bruno Latour, Down To Earth: Politics in the New Climate Regime, 2018, Polity Press. Cambridge).

V33.40 Various Artists – “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/listening:

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

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

Reissued 3rd April 2020

DL – 2 tracks (sides A & B from the original vinyl) – 44:29

Track listing:

Side A
1. For Mao, Folk And Religion
Bass – Ka Marion Wedrich
Violin [Cambodia Violin] – Hans Josef
2. In Egypt In The Month Of May
Bass – Axel Grube
Flute – Delia Gee
Voice – Moira Kirstin Boyd
3. Luna
Guitar [Spanish], Castanets [Castañetas] – Ka Marion Wedrich
Voice – Moira Kirstin Boyd

Side B
1. Dien Bien Phu
Guitar – Ka Marion Wedrich
2. Not For Radio
Bass – Alex Grube
3. Niet Voor Blanckes — Afrikaans
Flute – Delia Gee
4. Santa Maria
Arranged by Strafe Für Rebellion
Flute – Delia Gee
Voice – Laureen Chambers

Recorded and mixed at Grundfunk Studio by Michael Grund
Art direction by Jon Wozencroft
Photography By E. Weston, Paco
Producer – Franklin Berger
Typography – Glembotzki & Wozencroft

Dank an folgende Gastmusiker:
Ka Marion Wedrich – Moira Kirstin Boyd
Laureen Chambers – Axel Grube
Hans Josef – Delia Gee

Tone 65 Jana Winderen – “Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone”

Reissued 28th February 2020

CD – 3 tracks – 77:49

Track listing:

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

You can listen an extract here

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.

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.

Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft
Booklet photography by Philipp Assmy
Mastered by Denis Blackham, Skye


Rockerilla (Italy):

Ancora un esempio di soundscaping, essenziale e importante opera divulgativa. Jana Winderen è diplomata in Belle Arti con conoscenze approfondite in matematica, chimica ed ecologia marina. In questo lavoro si è occupata del fragile equilibrio cheesiste lungo la linea di confine che divide il mare aperto e ledistese di ghiaccio, un luogo che permette la creazione del vitale serbatoio di ossigeno della biosfera. Spring Bloom é un rilevante lavoro che unisce cultura ecologica ed espressività artistica grazie a due lunghi episodi immersivi nei quali è stata utilizzata tuttal’intensità e la drammaticità del field recording. NECESSARIO. [Mirco Salvadori]

Chain DLK (USA):

Layering high-latitude field recordings of the border between sea ice and the open sea into one found sound composition, this is an elegant work with a lot of fascinating detail. While there’s underwater seal and whale sounds (mostly faint), it’s never in danger of becoming a relaxation cliché, mainly thanks to the crisp and almost electronica-like noises of the ice itself, which are gentle but still slightly alienating, and which ebb alternatively with windier, quite barren sounds.

There’s a 37-minute “headphones mix” and a 35-minute “speakers mix”. I didn’t compare or side-by-side them, instead being perfectly happy with a 72-minute listening experience that didn’t overstay its welcome.

It’s framed in terms of marine science and ecology rather than art, nevertheless it’s a beautiful thing to listen to, toeing an unusual line between emptiness and grandeur that really draws you in.

Toneshift (Italy):

With this record the acclaimed biologist (Really? – ed.) and sound artist Jana Winderen adds another valuable work to the continuum of her personal research. Differently enough from her previous output, Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone engages with the political aspects of climate change in a much stronger and direct way. A strong bond from both a scientific and an sensitive link to the catastrophic effects of global warming becoming everyday much more evident (I’m now sitting in my kitchen in Oslo, it’s mid-November and the temperature of 9°C is just insane for this period of the year). While on the other side new capitalism-led far right movements getting into power worldwide pretend nothing happens, Winderen frames out a specific picture, a well-defined endangered natural phenomenon that becomes an example of the possible consequences for our society’s behaviour.

Part of her statement comes from the first document contained in the record: an interview with the professor Carlos Duarte that explains in great detail how marine spring bloom in the marginal ice zone happens and how it is fundamental for the life cycle, not only of the creatures inhabiting the polar sea, but for the entire world.

The Marginal Ice zone is that belt in which the transition between the ocean and the sea ice happens — and where the algae that in the months right after the polar night accomplish their life cycle, not only represent the main food resource for plankton and other small sea creatures, which become food for other species in their turn, but also act as the biggest sink for carbon dioxide in our biosphere.

From a visual perspective this photosynthetic blast appears like a green wave that moves between spring and summer from the lowest latitudes to the highest ones.
 The album contains then two different renders of the same track, a headphone mix and a speaker mix. This was for me a very nice surprise that I considered a natural aesthetic consequence for a sound specialist, aware of the fact that more and more people around the world listen to music mainly over headphones. The sense of presence and immersiveness we gain from the binaural mix is a feature not to be overlooked. It contributes a lot to the experience of this ever-changing perfect orchestra that nature is.

No digital granulation process could possibly ever match the beauty and the richness of the granular sounds happening in nature. The sound materials in the record, all coming from field recordings of the environment and the species inhabiting the area around Spitsbergen in the Barents Sea, provide the feeling of being part of the ecosystem that we can’t then perceive as something away from us anymore. [Giuseppe Pisano]

Touching Extremes (Italy):

Jana Winderen belongs in my mnemonic list of trustworthy researchers. Spring Bloom In The Marginal Ice Zone confirms that the Norwegian is second to none as far as releasing materials of acoustic and learning relevance is concerned. That Winderen mostly focuses her investigations on the usually disguised characteristics of marine biology is a major plus for a person – yours truly – who considers the sea as his one and only teacher. What happens in there, and in the immediate surroundings, can’t possibly be rendered by words; perhaps not even by a detailed recording like this. Nevertheless, identifying the essence of our animateness in the absence of mind-poisoning “explanations” is a motivation. All it takes is listening, leaving the narrative to the evolved segments of creation.

I didn’t pick the “evolved” adjective casually. The two versions of this piece, originally born as a 7-channel installation for the 2017 edition of the Sonic Arts festival in Amsterdam, indicate the voices of whales, seals, crustaceans, pollock and whatever is imaginable underwater as the closest thing to a technically advanced, and inevitably efficient human instrument. In this case, “human” means that – at the same time – we are kept responsive in spite of today’s sickening depreciation of anything which is really important, while remaining pitifully insufficient in regard to a multitude of bottomless meanings appearing to these ears as organic variations on hypothetical themes. The latter have to do with the inscrutable aspects of perception that, in the past, were brought out by the intuitions of genuine visionaries such as Tod Dockstader and Roland Kayn. The impact of this experience on the innermost self is often equivalent: just standing in quietness, surrounded by inexpressible beauty without dull-witted interrogatives about why, when, what comes after. Harmonic auroras speckled by a myriad of invisible lives, forever more consequential than the arid loquaciousness of many a deleterious nonsense huckster.

The music’s therapeutic effects are striking, especially in “full immersion” mode (no pun intended). A brief explanatory interview with Professor Carlos Duarte, a renowned luminary of biological oceanography, represents a fitting preamble. However, what Winderen managed once again to extrapolate from the apparent obscurity is a current of awareness that defeats any activist’s speech. We keep witnessing natural disasters on a daily basis, but the energy of those creatures remains. Mute choirs that still sound marvellous, thanks to a woman who keeps reminding us of their lessons. The real ones. [Massimo Ricci]

Czech National Radio:

Hudební abstrakce může být někdy úzce spjatá s konkrétním a naléhavým tématem doby. Můžeme tomu říkat hudba, nebo zvukové umění, nebo jakkoli jinak: Na každý pád novou nahrávkou Norky Jany Winderen pokračuje její dlouhodobý průzkum podmořských zvuků. Album Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone (Jarní květ v marginální ledové zóně) lze zároveň poslouchat jako komentář k diskusi o budoucnu Země.

Posluchač tu vnímá zvuk kvetoucího planktonu, vlny a praskot ker v ledovém Barentsově moři kolem Špicberků směrem k severnímu pólu, a také podvodní zvuky tuleňů vousatých, migrujících keporkaků a kosatek, stejně jako zvuk táhnoucího hejna tresek. Všechno tohle dění podle Jany Winderen souvisí s jarem v moři, oním kvetoucím planktonem. Marginální ledová zóna je termín pro pohyblivou hranici mezi otevřeným a zmrzlým mořem, což je ekologicky velmi zranitelná zóna. Fytoplankton přítomný v moři produkuje polovinu, celou polovinu zemského kyslíku. A na jaře je tato sféra nejvýznamnějším likvidátorem oxidu uhličitého v naší biosféře. Takže zase: odposlech skutečného světa jako svědectví o prostředí, na kterém budoucnost země závisí těsněji, než si připouštíme. Jana Winderen píše: “Na nahrávce Jarní květ v marginální ledové zóně se stává zvuk živočichů hlasem v aktuální politické debatě na téma oficiální definice této zóny na pokraji ledovce.” [Pavel Klusak]

Music Map (Italy):

“There’s no way we can stop that”. Queste sono le drammatiche parole di Carlos Duarte, ecologista esperto di vita marina e di biologia oceanografica, riferendosi allo scioglimento dei ghiacciai nell’Artico. Estratte da un’intervista, dove si parla di diossido di carbonio, ecosistema, neve che scompare, Duarte ci avverte che il processo del riscaldamento globale è ormai irreversibile, e quello che possiamo fare oggi è solo imparare a convivere con l’imminente cambiamento climatico. Questo si sposa con la filosofia della Dark Ecology, un movimento ecologista “decadentista” fondato da Timothy Morton. Il suo approccio, più che razionale, vuole portare i propri lettori e seguaci ad una partecipazione emotiva, nell’affrontare il punto di vista ecologista. E fa qualcosa che va oltre (o accanto) l’attivismo concreto. Per questo scopo emozionale, la Dark Ecology assieme a Sonic Acts hanno commissionato questo lavoro di sound art a Jana Winderen, intitolato “Spring bloom in the marginal ice zone” ed appena uscito per Touch. La quale, già esperta di ambienti freddi (vedasi “Interrupting the surface” del 2014), si è diretta nel mare di Barents, che sta fra Norvegia e Russia, appena sotto il Polo Nord. Ha posizionato i suoi microfoni sott’acqua, facendoci scoprire un mondo di suoni a noi sconosciuti. Per noi l’oceano è silenzioso, poiché percepiamo i suoni spostati dall’aria. Ma sott’acqua, gli animali comunicano con vibrazioni che ricevono nelle ossa. E così, grazie alla tecnologia acustica si apre un mondo di rumori sconosciuti, racchiusi in “Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone”, che è costituito da tre tracce. La prima è la sopracitata intervista a Carlos Duarte. Il succo sta nell’unica titletrack, sdoppiata per far sentire due differenti mix: “Headphone”, e “Speakers”. In totale si tratta di quasi 72 minuti in apnea, immersi nel mare, dove ascoltare il ghiaccio che gradualmente si rompe, l’acqua che gocciola o che trasporta i rimbombi, e le comunicazioni fra merluzzi, crostacei, balene ed orche. I pesci non arrivano a intervalli regolari, non c’è struttura musicale. Quando passano vicino ce ne accorgiamo, altrimenti restiamo soli fra le onde. Se finora i “canti delle balene” potevano essere una battuta ironica rivolta a certa “musica per installazioni”, ascoltando questa ci si può ricredere, e scoprire che gli oceani sono molto più rumorosi di quel che avessimo potuto pensare. E Jana, con il lavoro in post produzione, non snatura le peculiarità naturalistiche delle registrazioni, ma gioca con i rumori di fondo per renderli come fossero inquietanti drones. E così, rendendoli una sorta di minaccia verso questo vivace mondo blu, ci fa riflettere. [Gilberto Ongaro]

Bad Alchemy (Germany):

The Wire (UK):

CLOT Magazine (UK):

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. An algal bloom or algae bloom is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae in freshwater or marine water systems and is recognized by the discolouration in the water from their pigments. The proliferation of algal blooms likely result from a combination of environmental factors and the rise of temperatures in spring is one of the driving force.

Field recorder  Jana Winderen has been documenting the sounds of underwater life in our seas and oceans – from the warm waters in the Caribbean to the cold and nourishing waters around Greenland, Norway and Iceland-, creating the most beautiful compositions out of them. She researches the hidden depths with the latest technology with her work revealing the complexity and strangeness of the unseen world beneath.

Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone is Winderen’s latest instalment in the series of works exploring these underwater sounds. A commission by Sonic Acts and Dark Ecology it resulted in an installation for the Sonic Acts festival in 2017.  The listener or viewer 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 seithe and spawning cod, all depending on the spring bloom.

The work was produced with help of  Carlos M. Duarte, a Professor of Marine Science, and a worldwide leader in multiple branches of biological oceanography and marine ecology. And Philipp Assmy is a researcher at The Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway. Currently studying the impact of changing sea ice conditions and associated effects on phytoplankton and ice algal communities.

And in November 2018, an edit of the recordings was released in Touch. The album starts with an introductory interview with Carlos Duarte, where he explains with some scientific details the occurrence of the algae blooms in the region. The  2 other tracks are long meditative pieces, with the chirps, drips and squeaks of marine life and the shoosh of waves and wind. In this piece of work, a most timely release in view of the recent UN Climate Change report, Winderen is offering another compelling reflection on the fragility of these delicate marine ecosystems and somehow as well, 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.

Rockdelux (Spain):

Gonzo Circus (Belgium):

Nordische Musik (Norway):

Neural (Italy):

Neural (Italy):

The recordings Jana Winderen made here for Touch powerfully arrest the listener’s attention. They are an accurate sound reportage of plankton growth, of the waves refracting on the iced sea and its crackles. We are in Spitsbergen (Norway), the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago on the way to the North Pole, between bearded seals and other weird migratory species like humpback whales and killer whales. Most of what happens in that delicate geographical area depends on the results of the Spring growth. The definition of marginal zone, where the dynamic boundary is limited within the open sea and the sea ice, clearly explains how this land is ecologically vulnerable. The specialists explain that the phytoplankton in the sea produces more or less half of the oxygen of the planet and, during the Spring, this zone is the most important source of CO2 in our biosphere. In Spring Bloom In The Marginal Ice Zone, these sounds, including the few ones the creatures who live there make, ideally become a warning for whoever focuses on these ecological themes. We shouldn’t be surprised, therefore, that the first track is an interview with Carlos Duarte, Professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, a world renowned figure in many branches of oceanography and sea ecology. It is not the first time Jana Winderen has evoked the charm of underwater life. This is just the latest release in a series of works focusing on sea environments and ecosystems, a broad range of far-flung locations from the Caribbean to Greenland, from Norway to Iceland. The artist activist commitment is clear here, but the work also shows the artist’s engagement in the immateriality of sound and how her projects are focused on exploring hidden and unusual sources. These are places and sound landscapes that are hard to access and mostly unknown, but they hide a great variety of audio inspirations the artist uses as source material for live ambient compositions and to create immersive installations. Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone is a project commissioned by Sonic Acts and Dark Ecology, supported by Art & Technology – Arts Council Norway, Fond for lyd og bilde, Tono stipendet, ARCEx R / V Helmer Hanssen, by Tromsø Univesity and by Foundation Mamont. The elegant, colourful artwork and the interesting photo booklet are made by Jon Wozencroft. [Aurelio Cianciotta]

TO:114V ELEH – “Living Space”

Vinyl Release date: 28th February 2020
CD Release date: 11th October 2019

DLP/CD – 5 tracks – 64 minutes

Track listing:

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 64 minute album is presented with a gatefold sleeve 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.


Toneshift (USA):

Housed in a gorgeous jewel of square packaging that opens to various aquatic shades, this is the latest from Eleh with his first new output on Touch in nine years, though his work has been represented by other fine labels (Important, Line…) over the course of the intervening years. And for good reason, the sound is indicative of how advanced and central tone itself has become to his work in the past dozen plus years, coursing through this with considerable fluid nuance.

The tonal bent and assorted reverb has a narcotic effect, not unlike going into a dreamstate under the scope of anaesthesia or a strange drug trip. This is subtly massaged into the barrier of unconsciousness on the incredible Collect Yourself/Well Arranged. If one were to try and take apart it’s title as a construct, the ‘living space’ inferred here could be supplanted for that of an inward stare at the human body as a host in and of itself. The pulsations used here easily auscultate to those electric signals of internal organs resembling sci-fi transmissions on the surface.

His oscillations, gentle over these passages, elongate and compress over time, like blood pressure and heartbeat (as well as a futuristic pressure chamber protected by indestructible laser beams). But the record doesn’t play on the parenthetical, the melodramatic or on the obvious, instead making you relax and think simultaneously. Living Space is a collection of five tracks that coax dynamic wonderment. It’s mystery is its majesty. With each benevolently ascending modulation the listener may be imagining themselves either suspended or rotating ever-so sluggishly into the abyss, into oblivion.

Eleh’s work, especially here, is progressive ambient sans any hard borders. This would serve well to watch cloud formations by, drift off into a sublime sleep concert, or simply open to the chimera in your immediate surroundings.

The Sound Projector (UK):

Living Space (TOUCH TO:114) is the excellent new record from Eleh, the mysterious London electronic musician who works very hard to maintain his low profile and generally won’t be drawn out about his work. We can only applaud this attitude, and I find that in the majority of cases I warm to creators who eschew the limelight and shrink from attention-seeking.

We heard from Eleh in 2010 with the very fine Location Momentum record, his second for Touch (this is his third), and noted then as we do now that the majority of his output can be found on Important Records in the USA, often in print runs of about 200 copies or so, and usually available by mail order only. Eleh could well be the kind of entity that inspires a devoted following, much like that other reclusive and highly prolific creator of hermetic drone music, Organum. Living Space could be characterised as “minimal analogue drone” for sure, but there are a number of nuances and special aspects that one must be attentive towards.

One of these, and it ought to impact you as soon as you play the record at appropriate volumes, is the judicious use of bass tones, These will produce physical reactions in your body that you won’t regret; sound as a physical force, which seems to be doing more than just entering through your ears. There’s also the interest in occupying the dimensions of the room where the record is played back, something Eleh seems to do with such focus and determination that it’s almost scary; it’s not an invasive force, but it’s certainly not taking no for an answer. I’ve never seen a live Eleh performance, but I would hope he could fill any given venue with his benign tones which, in no time at all, appear to have volume, shape, and weight. I read in the press release that there are also claims made for “healing music” and “the effect of stopping time”, both of which are plausible at some level; less convinced me by the notion of “applying your own emotions to the music”, which is something you could say about virtually all music; but it does reflect on the “blank canvas” dimension of this Eleh record, which apparently is not unintentional.

There will be a vinyl edition of this release, but the label say they’re only producing it to cater to the fetishists; the CD edition is how Eleh prefers to present it. Superb package, and probably not cheap to produce; good quality cardstock, six panels, the interiors used to present Jon Wozencroft’s colour photographs of water. Very good. From 20th September 2019. [Ed Pinsent]

The Wire (UK):

Blow Up (Italy):

Impatto Sonoro (Italy):

Questo è il terzo album per Touch da parte di Eleh. Ci sono voluti sette lunghi anni per produrre questa uscita che possiede, oltre all’enfasi minimalista, una controparte visiva che si confa al sound altamente impressionista. Sembra difatti impossibile che l’ispirazione per “Living Space” sia proprio John Coltrane. “Living Space” è costituito da cinque composizioni che cercano di esprimere la bellezza della trasformazione lenta, non soltanto gli slittamenti microtonali, ma modificando proprio l’atmosfera, la forma, le condizioni con cui la musica interagisce nello spazio d’ascolto (che sia una camera, o una sala da concerto, ogni situazione è unica).

Come noto, si trova spesso uno iato tra i meccanismi di composizione e quelli di ascolto che normalmente possono essere considerati “sinottici”, piuttosto li troviamo sempre come opposizione: se l’ambizione del disco è di riflettere i cicli di crescita personali e collettivi, in fase di ascolto il tempo si ferma, senza ciclicità o dinamica compositiva. Le progressioni armoniche e melodiche sono implicate per poter applicare le emozioni dell’ascoltatore.

Usando modulari e sintetizzatori analogici, pianoforte, organo, basso e campane sinfoniche per seguire le lenti trasformazione e specchiarsi con le condizioni di vita delle piante, e le formazioni della foglia. In sostanza, come per il racconto di Borges, Memoria di Funes, sembra che Eleh abbia voluto seguire questo quasi-movimento costituito da una così alta pletora di dettagli, da sembrare statico. Anzi, per meglio dire e-statico, stando al di fuori di un fenomeno pur rimanendone all’interno.

Alchimia sonora, la definiscono alcuni, ma qui siamo oltre la magia, ed entriamo nella zona della memoria, quella in grado di contrastare la coscienza o di costituirla a tal punto da mettere esperienza e memoria sullo stesso piano, senza distinzioni. []

Silence & Sound (France):

On ne sait rien de l’artiste ELEH, qui n’a jamais divulgué d’information à son propos. La seule chose qu’il nous offre, est sa musique. Et quelle musique ! Faite d’infra-basses et d’ondes enrobantes, d’électricité statique et d’espace magnétique.

Living Space est une oeuvre immersive. Un objet fascinant qui accapare nos sens pour les attirer vers des profondeurs froides et obscures, chargées de vibrations contraires aux attractions inversées.

Les synthés modulaires vibrent sur des cordes tendues au dessus de précipices sans fond, reflets d’univers aux mouvements internes stabilisés.

Le temps semble s’éteindre pour laisser la place au défilement de gouttes quantiques, prises dans des maillons nucléaires à l’ADN hacké. Un album aux équilibres éphémères. Superbe. [Roland Torres]

Ambientblog (net):

Eleh‘s discography boasts no less than 32 albums since 2006 – solo works as well as collaborations with artists like Pauline Oliveros, Ellen Fullman, Christina Kubisch, Caterina Barbieri and Richard Chartier. And until now he managed to remain completely anonymous: no one (well almost no one) knows who he is.

Living Space is the third Eleh release for the Touch label. It’s a perfect title: the sound of these tracks seems to come from everywhere but the speakers. It moves inside your head and moves around in the room it is played in, thus making the space come alive.

It is released on CD, which is the format ‘how the artist wants it to sound’, but nevertheless Touch promises a vinyl edition”for fetishists” to follow in the new year. Let’s hope ‘the artist’ is OK with that, because I’m afraid the extreme low frequencies in this music probably won’t behave very well on vinyl. This music is, indeed, created for optimal reproduction via digital media.

Apart from one shorter track, all tracks are from 10 to 15 minutes in length. Eleh uses modular and analogue synthesizers, piano, organ, bass, and symphonic chimes to create his compositions.
Music that “seeks 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.”

I would call this ‘minimalist drone music’, but that ‘minimalist’ only refers to the musical aspect, not the sound itself. With all those different frequencies bouncing around before they reach you, we might as well call it ‘maximalist’. Trying to describe music can be só confusing…

The CD-release comes in a 6-panel digifile with beautiful photography by Jon Wozencraft [sic].

Electronic Sound (UK):

Dark Entries (Belgium):

Drone maar dan heel minimaal en eigenlijk té minimaal om me lang te kunnen boeien. Dit album bevat 5 composities (60 minuten speelduur) en begint met de bijna een kwartier durende titeltrack. Minimale drone dus met subtiele veranderingen. Je moet wat geduld hebben. Tegen de vierde track (“Overt Too”, weer een kwartier en meer van hetzelfde) begin ik mezelf wat te beklagen dat ik deze promo heb meegenomen want wat schrijf je over zoiets buiten dat het als monotone, minimale drone klinkt met veel gezoem en erg traag variërende tonen? Er gebeurt hier toch echt te weinig om me een uur geboeid te kunnen houden. Ik maak in mijn hoofd een korte recensie en twijfel tussen de review posten en het album een quotering van 6 geven of anders het album meenemen naar volgende Dark Entries vergadering en het doorschuiven naar een andere recensent.

Eleh is een Brits elektronisch project dat in 1999 werd opgericht met als doel de exploratie van minimale analoge synthesizers. In 2010 schreef collega Jan Denolet een review over het album “Location Momentum” van Eleh. Dit album verscheen in 2010 op het Touch label en was de opvolger van “Slow Fade For Hard Sync” dat een jaar eerder (2009 voor wie kan tellen) bij hetzelfde label verscheen. Hij scheen dit erg te kunnen appreciëren getuige de lang niet misse quotering van zowaar een 8. Maar spijtig genoeg schrijft deze collega momenteel geen reviews meer en hetzelfde geldt voor collega Peter De Koning. Wat nu gedaan? Proberen dit derde album voor Touch in collega Dimi Brands zijn nek te duwen? Tenslotte bespreekt die wel meer muziekjes op de rand van het onbeluisterbare en bevat dit geen doedelzakken.

Maar intussen zijn we bij de laatste track aangekomen: “Lighter Touch”. Weer een kwartier. Maar hier verandert gaandeweg de aard en de geest en het ganse karakter van de muziek (nou ja, ‘muziek’?, zeg liever soundscape) tot een beklemmende en behoorlijk creepy dark ambient luisterervaring. Minimaal is het nog steeds maar de toevoeging van een soort akelig spooky ritmische geluiden sleurt me helemaal mee en laat me deze keer niet meer los. De artiest werkte bewust naar deze apotheose toe, zo lijkt het wel. Maar ik moest wel wat geduld oefenen. Omwille van deze sinistere laatste track, verhoog ik prompt mijn score van 6 naar 7 en besluit ik om de review toch zelf te schrijven alsook deze laatste track in de playlist op te nemen van mijn radioprogramma The Horny Hour (op Radio Centraal, Antwerpen).

Het schijfje zit vervat in een 6 panel digipack met intrigerende waterfotografie en op een van de panels staat een citaat afgedrukt van jazzsaxofonist John Coltrane (1926-1967): ‘Music is an instrument. It can create the initial thought patterns that can change the thinking of people’.

Het gaat hier over geluid als helende kracht. Daarvoor werd gebruik gemaakt van modulaire en analoge synthesizers, piano, orgel, bass en klokkenspel (niet dat je ook maar een instrument in de zwaar vervormde drones kunt herkennen). Ze moeten de schoonheid van trage verandering tot expressie laten komen, subtiele veranderingen door de microtone shift in het geluid. Spijtig genoeg bloeit heel dit concept naar mijn ervaring pas in de laatste track helemaal open.

Revue et Corrrigé (France):