Catalogue

T33.21 Anthony Moore – “CSound & Saz”

CD – 1 track – 30:37

Release date: Friday 2nd December 2022

Available to pre-order now

Track listing:

1. CSound & Saz

Photography & design by Jon Wozencroft

Anthony Moore (b. August 1948) is a composer/musician, now based in the UK, formerly professor in Cologne for sound art and music working on the social and technical history of sound. He operates across many genres; ambient drone, musique concrète, electroacoustic, songwriting and immersive, multi-channel sound installations. He continues to compose, perform and release work on various labels such as Touch, Drag City (Chicago), P-Vine (Tokyo) and others.

Anthony Moore recently conducted a lengthy interview with Julian Cowley for The Wire, which appeared in their October ’22 edition in the form of a 6 page feature length article.

Touch.40 live at Iklectik. I received an invitation to perform at the 40th anniversary gathering, June 2022. Previous works for the label, “Arithmetic in the Dark” and “Isoladrone2020” illuminated the landing strip for a new work. It should be continuous – a further play on moving and remaining. I wanted to balance the digital output of a CSound orchestra with an analogue instrument and chose the Turkish saz, a sound I’ve loved and lived with for the last 6 decades. I prepared the ground for the live performance with a graphical interface for CSound and an e-bow for the Saz (along with some short pre-recordings of picking and strumming). Then, a few days before the concert, I got Covid. On the suggestion of Jon and Mike I recorded a live performance-for-one, (myself at home) which was played back at Iklectik. Unedited, unchanged, here it is.” (amoore st leonards 220807)

Three pairs of thin, wire strings on the Turkish saz are struck, and the resulting sound is harmonised, filtered and then sustained in an infinite but gradually shifting chord of harmonics. In addition, an ebow is used to excite the strings in realtime. This sound is natural, untreated, and adds layers to the sustained chord. Subsequently, two Csound programs running in parallel are ‘fed’ the natural sound of the saz and the output is heavily effected with filters, resonators, vocoders etc. These sonic gestures are allowed to take over as the original chord fades to leave the more transparent sounds of the Csound outputs. The organum returns with much more warm, low end. The saz transformations thin out to leave a keening call. And finally the last minutes are filled with a deep chord which fades to silence.

Tone 82D Philip Jeck – “Resistenza”

DL – 2 tracks – 1:02:50

Mary Prestidge writes: “I’m recalling the joy Philip had in spinning 70’s disco dance music for my 70th birthday bash in 2018.

Philip’s experiments with turntable and vinyl began over 40 years ago using these 12″ singles. It marked a moment of belief that he could take these sounds further…

Play on…”

Philip Jeck’s birthday 70 years ago today, 15th November 1952

Release date 15th November 2022
Now available

Track listing:

1. Philip Jeck – Live in Torino 35:33
2. Philip Jeck & Jonathan Raisin – The Long Wave, Live at Liverpool Philharmonic 27:27

Photography & design by Jon Wozencroft

Tone 81D Patrick Shiroishi – “Evergreen”

DL – 4 tracks – 41:56

Release date: 1st November 2022

Order from Bandcamp here

Track listing:

1. a place where sunflowers grow 11:10
2. there is no moment in which they are not with me 9:32
3. a trickle led to a quiet pool where still, black water reflected the night sky 9:06
4. here comes a candle to light you to bed 12:18

All tracks composed, performed and recorded at Orange Door in September 2022. Field recordings taken at Evergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles in 2021.

Patrick Shiroishi – synths, clarinet, field recordings, voice & tenor saxophone

Photography & design by Jon Wozencroft
Mastered by Simon Scott @ SPS Mastering

Story told by Yukio Kawaratani

Patrick writes: “I can’t recall the first time I was introduced to Touch but it might have been around 2017, right before a duo recording with Zachary Paul in the spring of the following year. I do, however, remember the winter when i dove into their catalogue and discovered artist upon artist of tremendous weight and vision who created worlds in their recordings… it was inspiring and something that I have kept with me through the years.

Since that time five years ago, correspondence with Touch became little by little, more and more frequent. In early September 2022, Mike contacted me about putting something together for the label with a deadline of a few weeks. I first thought of a collaboration with Bana Haffar, someone for whom I have huge respect on many different levels and was lucky enough to travel with and play some shows for the label’s 40th anniversary celebration in the Bay Area earlier this year… unfortunately the timing didn’t work out. I pondered about other potential partners, ultimately deciding on the idea of presenting a solo work.

Familiarising myself with the Touch back catalogue, I wanted to create a work that was unique in its own world. Someone reading this may or may not know that I have been diving into my family history and processing that through music. Last year, I took a couple of trips to Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles, where several generations of Shiroishis are buried and a place often visited when growing up. Sitting there with my Zoom recorder on, at what seemed like the peak of the violence towards Asian Americans, i felt at peace being close to them.

The foundations of this album are from those recordings. The first half is built upon one I made during daytime and the second half from a recording in the evening. The music took on many forms and was worked on daily in the mornings, which is something that was very different from my usual practice. As the album was getting close to being finished, I sent it over to Mike and Jon and with their guidance helped to shape the music towards its final form.

Hoping that you listen to this music in one sitting and think about your ancestors as you do – we all come from somewhere, and there is not a moment when they are not with you.”

Patrick Shiroishi is a Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist & composer based in Los Angeles. He is perhaps best known for his extensive and intense work with the saxophone. Over the last decade he has established himself as one of the premier improvising musicians in Los Angeles, recording and playing solo and in numerous collaborative projects. Shiroishi may well be considered a foundational player in the city’s vast musical expanse. [Steve Lowenthal]

Reviews:

Avant Music News:

AMN Reviews:  Patrick Shiroishi – Evergreen (2022; Touch); Colin Stetson – Chimæra I (2022; Room40)

Layers upon layers.

Previously hidden details emerging everywhere you choose to focus your attention.

Sound objects materializing against the negative space they were spawned from, establishing shape, form. Single acoustic tones making dramatic entrances and displaying their pure spectral content like Peacocks on parade.

Continually shifting and rearranging combinations of acoustic colors connecting and disconnecting.

Fluctuating waves of dynamics building, engulfing, fading.

Deep melancholic sadness giving way to jubilantly uplifting earth spirits.

All these fragmented micro-thoughts can easily apply to the excellent new albums from Patrick Shiroishi and Colin Stetson.  Take the above as disjointed, stream-of-consciousness impressions that I feel are common to both recordings.

On Evergreen, Patrick Shiroishi delivers an emotionally charged sonic movie based on recent trips to the Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles where family members are buried.  There are four long tracks on the album with the genesis of the first two built around field recordings in the morning, and the second two, in the evening.

The field recordings…natural sounds, thunder, a gentle summer rainstorm is also augmented by some soft radio transmissions and a narrative voice reminiscing about earlier generations of Japanese immigrants during WWII.  The terrible, no-win situation was either becoming stateless by being drafted into the U.S. Army and pledging allegiance to America while they are still Japanese citizens or, put into something very close to concentration camps if they chose not to.

These quiet sounds provide a memory trigger, a foundational base to build a rich sound world teeming with detail on top of them.  A beautifully rendered ecosphere of drones and melodies come alive as various synths and reed instruments collect en masse to fully flesh out these memories.  Evergreen is shot through with raw honesty as these structures…maybe even shrines of remembrance are built.

As the multi-faceted drones grow larger, louder…they gather force like a snowball in an avalanche.  Tension, intensity, and volume build as the sound space fills up, as the very nature of the combined sound structure morphs and changes in real-time.  Sometimes uplifting and joyful as the positive memories are grasped and held on to, other times more plaintive and longing for thoughts and recollections on the verge of fading.

On the alluring second piece, “there is no moment in which they are not with me”, the breathy sound of a single tenor saxophone separates itself with an assertiveness of a Grand Marshal leading the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  It enters the sound space from a backdrop of quiet sustained textures and, from the very first notes…its majesty is revealed in absolute pureness.  A second sax eventually enters in similar fashion embellishing and dancing around the first with busier movement.  The emotional effect that is revealed is exquisitely magnified because of these contrasting spaces and, may be the highlight of this wonderful album (although that would short shrift the many other moments that reach these heights). A similar uplift occurs on the final piece, “here comes a candle to light you to bed”.  This time, a clarinet takes the lead with a simple and very rustic melody…a melody that evokes simpler, happier times perhaps.  Again, the reeds are vividly highlighted against a quieter sonic background for maximum contrast.  This whole aural photograph eventually fades into a gentle evening storm providing a finality that is perfectly satisfying.The emotional realms visited on Colin Stetson’s Chimæra I are much less earthbound, instead choosing to reach out into deep voids.  But, like Shiroishi’s Evergreen, Stetson’s efforts are no less evocative and compelling…especially for the attentive listener.

Chimæra I has two 20+ minute detailed and very elaborate saxophone drones along with two 8+ minute “reductions” of the longer pieces.  To be honest, I’m not sure what these reductions are but I think they may be stitched together edits of the longer pieces.  I will say that they work very well as stand-alone tracks if you are inclined (or pressed for time) to experience the album in shorter doses.

As stated on the album notes regarding what mental path Chimæra I suggests, i.e., “imagined caverns”, “hidden hollows” and surging magma flows” …I had a different cinéma pour l’oreille (although I do find it very interesting to hear the composers own personal thoughts on such things).  My own personal ear flick did not have a basis in geologic structure or terra firma groundings, instead opting for a cold, dark, airless, and lifeless non-being, a canvas marching toward times end.  A nothingness that echoes…but from what?

But listen again.  Those loops and layers of long sustained bass sax tones, occasionally interrupted to form a series of short, swirling bursts…they remind me of giant buzz saws.  The extended bass sax layers themselves…I can’t help but think of the rumble of a giant generator.  A power source rejuvenating from the wreckage and remnants it was created to level.  A humongous battery driving a massive tank-like mech that ponderously crawls over the surface of a landscape, disintegrating everything in its path with an outer skin of jagged, spinning circular blades.  A berserker with no purpose other than subsuming everything in its path… but why?

But listen again.  A walk down and through a tunnel…a long one.  One that becomes harder and harder to breath the deeper you go.  Nothing but smooth, stone-gray walls…leading to what?  (I’ll pause here and admit that maybe Colin’s geologic references above do have legs to them.)

But listen again…

Ok, point made.  Chimæra I strongly beckons and compels the willing deep listener to come back, again and again.  Different cinematics, different experience.  Sometimes physical, sometimes mental, sometimes both…but always gripping and mesmerizing.

I decided to do both of these albums in a single write-up, initially because of the common saxophone theme.  As it turns out, there is a much more relevant theme than just a shared instrument.  Patrick Shiroishi’s Evergreen and Colin Stetson’s Chimæra I have a more important superpower in common, the ability to transport.  They accomplish this in two very different and distinct styles, but the endgame is the same.  Touching on different emotions, different thought centers… both artists are vividly molding their own distinct narratives, creating a sense of place in their own very personal way. These sounds allow us to interact with a world of ultimately, our own making, but one we would never have found without the artists as guides.

It’s this sense of potential that is so appealing about these recordings.  Shiroishi and Stetson are not only acting as world builders but, they are also offering the listener a golden ticket… a ringside seat to share and interact right alongside them. Ultimately, the freedom and power of experience.  Both come very highly recommended. [Michael Eisenberg]

culturedarm (USA):

Track of the week – As Touch celebrates forty years of fierce resistance to the status and trappings of ‘record label’, the prolific yet never profligate multi-instrumentalist Patrick Shiroishi marks his debut for the renowned audiovisual company with an unusual approach to the genre of field recording. From a couple of trips to Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles where several generations of his family are buried, Shiroishi emanates from within the dotted landscape rather than skirting its borders or imposing melodies atop or alongside of an enveloping hum, the stately and plangent sounds of his woodwinds and the quivering and summoning of synths peeking between the rustle of leaves and background oratory for a stirring treatise on stillness and presence. [Christopher Laws]

The Wire [UK]:

…The most moving of the three releases is Evergreen, composed, performed and recorded in September but touched deeply by field recordings Shiroishi took at Evergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles, in 2021. The Evergreen Cemetery is where several generations of Shiroishi’s family are buried, and he conducted these recordings while thinking about the history of violence towards the Japanese American community, a history that shows no sign of abating and touches these essentially hopeful pieces with a vital patina of mournfulness and resistance. The four tracks here are beautifully measured between the green and the grey, the trees and the stones, strung out moments of reverie and reflection that come together in a deeply plangent emotional wallop that reminds me of the most moving moments of Nate Schieble’s Fairfax. Evergreen is unmissable but all three of theses records confirm Shiroishi as a name to keep on your radar. [Neil Kulkarni]

popmatters (USA):

In 2020, Patrick Shiroishi released Descension, a raw, unflinching musical interpretation of his grandparents’ experiences in the stateside concentration camps of Japanese-American citizens during World War II. In 2021, he released Hidemi,a searing, cathartic work inspired by his grandfather’s post-war period following his release from the camp. Now, with Evergreen, Shiroishi continues to mine family experiences for inspiration. But this time, the experience is more meditative than primal.

Released on the UK label Touch, Evergreen is the result of Shiroishi’s 2021 visits to Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles, where several generations of his family are buried, and Shiroishi often visited as a child. Bringing with him a portable audio recorder, Shiroishi created aural chronicles of his experience while ruminating on his family’s dark history at the hands of their violent, intolerant adopted homeland. He combines those field recordings with synthesizers, clarinet, saxophone, and vocals.

Evergreen is neatly divided and categorized, as the album’s first half contains recordings from daytime visits, and the second half is made up of nighttime trips. It’s more than a bit reminiscent of Across Water, Shiroishi’s sumptuous ambient collaboration with Jessica Ackerley earlier this year. Combining muted musical soundscapes with field recordings has – by design or accident – become Shiroishi’s stock in trade in 2022, and the inspiration he’s garnered from Evergreen Cemetery has paid off spectacularly.

Evergreen begins with “a place where sunflowers grow”, as the thunder and rainfall sounds are gentle but insistent, and a light musical drone is accompanied by the distant chatter of what may be a police radio band. Shiroishi’s synthesizers mesh beautifully with the field recordings as if they’re part of the cemetery’s environment. The notes are foreboding but meditative, looming but seemingly never threatening. Near the song’s halfway mark, the music is much higher in the mix and is combined with ethereal vocalizing.

True to its title, “there is no moment in which they are not with me” seems to evoke the direct purpose of Shiroishi’s latest project: reflection and tribute. The instrumentation is richer and warmer, with low tones mixing with stuttering high-end notes rising above. The grand, enveloping sensation of the music is reminiscent of Brian Eno‘s seminal Music for Airports. Eventually, Shiroishi’s saxophone weaves in and out, introducing an element that fits the overall mood perfectly.

Moving over to the “night” half of the album, “a trickle of water led to a quiet pool, where still, black water reflected the night sky” once again combines the natural sounds of water with lush, ambient chords. The music has a more ghostly feel but is as moving as the song that preceded it. Even at the halfway mark when the synths become slightly more shrill and distorted as if Shiroishi is reflecting on specific family memories and stories that hit hard and are unpleasant to relive.

What sounds like a clarinet – and eventually, multitracked clarinets – introduces “here comes a candle to light you to bed”, and it’s a gentle, almost lullaby-like sensation, with the natural sounds of water replaced by the subtler sounds of crickets. An audio sample of what sounds like someone talking about their immigrant experience is paired with noisy clattering, then thunder, and eventually rain. It may be too on the nose to equate the falling water with some sort of absolution or cleansing, but the effect is gentle, disarming, and oddly calming. As crashing thunder and measured breathing sounds close out Evergreen, one can picture Shiroishi sitting alone at Evergreen Cemetery, the rain washing over him as he contemplates his family’s rich but oppressive history.

To that end, Evergreen – when framed in its intended context – may almost seem too intrusive, as if the listener is privy to an experience that is too personal to the artist. That is one of Shiroishi’s many gifts, which he has given us on previous albums and certainly provides us here: engaging in catharsis and revelation and letting us sit beside him with wide wonder. [Chris Ingalls]

Foxydigitalis – The Capsule Garden (USA):

One of the most unstoppable forces in music shows a new side. Evergreen has its roots in Shiroishi’s visits to Evergreen Cemetary in Los Angeles, where many of his family members are buried. Field recordings made on those trips are foundational to Evergreen, where they’re imbued by synths, clarinet, and voice. Shiroishi channels his woodwinds-based work’s inquisitive, emotive spirit into new sonic shapes and ideas. The same deft touch is present, though. Passages hold together with gossamer arpeggios and glassine reflections, his voice lingering in the shadows like a permanent ghost. This music feels ageless, as though it’s always existed somewhere in the ether, waiting for Shiroishi to bridge a connection and pull it into this world. Evergreen is a powerful, moving document that sits with the best of his expansive catalog. Highest recommendation. [Brad Rose]

Salt and Peanuts (Sweden):

Evergreen is a cemetery in Los Angeles, where several generations of local sax player, multi-instrumentalist and sound artist Patrick Shiroishi’s relatives are buried, and a place he often visited when growing up. The album Evergreen is based on field recordings Shiroishi made at the cemetery in 2021 and is a kind of very personal meditation on Shiroishi family history, processed through music with an urgent call against racial discrimination. Shiroishi added to these field recordings music that he composed, played on synths, clarinet and the tenor sax and used his voice at Orange Door Studios in September 2022.

Shiroishi, who investigated his family history already in Hidemi (American Dreams, 2021),  created layered, highly suggestive and openly emotional and somehow melancholic ambient drones, briefly referencing the psychedelic, synth-laden space-rock of the seventies. He plays the tenor sax in the most gentle, caressing-comforting manner possible on «there is no moment in which they are not with me», and does the same with the clarinet on the last, most emotional piece «here comes a candle to light you to bed», where one of his relatives speaks about the of the oppression of Asian-Americans during the World War II. Shiroishi humbly asks the listener to reflect on his or her ancestors, as «we all come from somewhere, and there is not a moment when they are not with you». [Eyal Hareuveni]

Nowamuzyka (Poland):

Zmarli są w pobliżu.

Z reguły piszę o związkach jazzu z elektroniką, gdzie ten pierwszy występuje w stopniu znacznym albo tej drugiej praktycznie nie ma. Album „Evergreen” przynosi sytuację odwrotną. Oto uznany jazzman Patrick Shiroishi postanowił odstawić (nie całkowicie) swój saksofon na półkę, żeby nagrać album oparty głównie o muzykę elektroniczną, a konkretnie ambient. I to nie jakiś tam przypadkowy, co mu wyszedł, gdy siedział znudzony w studio, ale taki mocarny i głęboki do tego stopnia, że porusza w słuchaczu każdy nerw.

Warto zwrócić uwagę, że artysta nagrywa bardzo dużo różnych płyt w różnych konfiguracjach, co uniemożliwia jakiekolwiek zaszufladkowanie. Pamiętny album „Hidemi” wskazuje, że muzyk często dotyka spraw przeszłości. Nie inaczej jest na „Evergreen”, której tytuł odnosi się do cmentarza w Los Angeles, na którym pochowani są jego przodkowie. Płyta zawiera cztery utwory mieszające nagrania terenowe z muzyką. Istotne jest, że dwa pierwsze posiadają nagrania terenowe zgromadzone rano, a dwa ostatnie wieczorem.

Ciche dźwięki, których pełno na płycie, uruchamiają całą paletę emocji. Wielopłaszczyznowe drony stają się głośniejsze, ale bez przesady. Liczy się przede wszystkim zbudowanie napięcia, intensywność przeżycia i próba uchwycenia ulotnego szczęścia albo podkreślenia żałobnej myśli. „A place where sunflowers grow” jest pełny niewyraźnych momentów. A to słychać radiowóz, a to trzaski radiowe, a to zawieje silniej wiatr. Zjawiająca się muzyka z eterycznym wokalem jest zarówno zaskakująca, jak i zniewalająca.

„There is no moment in which they are not with me” przynosi najwźnioślejszy moment płyty. Migoczące ozdobniki dodają refleksyjności do rozlewającej się melodii. Całość zamyka dość nieśmiały, jak na tego artystę, saksofon, co jest zrozumiałe, gdyż mocniejszy akcent zakłóciłby nastrój. Wodny szmer otwierający „A trickle led to a quiet pool, where still black water reflected the night sky” szybko ustępuje miejsca ambientowej pustce. No, ale nie jesteśmy tu sam na sam z muzyką, albowiem w tle wyraźnie słychać dźwięki nocnej przyrody, które zamiast być „odcedzone” w studio stają się integralną częścią utworu. Upiorna końcówka miała nam przypomnieć, że zmarli są w pobliżu.

Stąd również żałobny ton „Here comes a candle to light you to bed” tej niby-kołysanki o taj wielkiej sile rażenia, że gotów byłbym zażądać, aby mi w ostatnich chwilach towarzyszył. Wzruszenie, które odczuwam w trakcie słuchania, jest dławiące. W dalszym opisie musiałbym już pisać tylko wielkimi słowami, czego czynić nie chcę. Dodam jedynie, że moment pojawienia się burzy jest bardzo potrzebny żeby wrócić do jakiejkolwiek normalności czy poczucia rzeczywistości. „Evergreen” jest niezwykle osobistym przeżyciem i płytą obok której chcę siedzieć z podziwem. [Jarek Szczęsny]

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]

Reviews:

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.

Lost Tribe Sound

Absolutely love that Cleared continues to refine their snail-paced, ever-steady rhythmic mechanism. ‘Of Endless Light’ is a masterpiece! My love for long-form thump and drone music has rarely felt this satisfied. It’s a sound pleasing enough for the ambient-lite folks, while leaving enough sonic grit and gristle for the fringe types. Highest recommendation!

Gonzo Karaoke:

It may seem counterintuitive, but the closer music approximates to silence, the more forceful its likely impact. It’s a fact plainly not lost on Chicago-based duo Cleared whose breathtaking new album is the turbid, thrice-distilled essence of quietude, an inchoate foam of dimensionless un-sound that enters via the pores rather than the auditory canal. At a considerable stretch, one COULD argue ‘Of Endless Light’ falls within the parameters of dub techno, but only by implication, its signature rhythm-centric sparsity smeared and splayed to the very brink of breakdown. Proceedings commence with the ultra-refracted blur of ‘First Sleep’ which crests the horizon like a gust of smog across moonlit moorland. Fragments of wounded melody bleed through the blanketing static until decomposition inevitably sets in and the track slowly expires to a mo(u)rning chorus of axes being sharpened on a distant grindstone. By contrast, ‘Pulse’, ‘Dawn’ and ‘Waking Field’ are gorgeously eroded simulacra of Chain Reaction-esque avant-minimalism, dance music passed through a fine-mesh sieve to remove almost every joule of kinetic energy. Kick drums – or rather the muted metronomic clicks that pass for them – are so subsumed by grainy swathes of ambience, they barely register as rhythm. The album’s piéce de rèsistance though is the stunning ‘Blue Drift’, a darkening pall of drone and reverberant carillon bells that rivals Sarah Davachi’s ‘Hall Of Mirrors’ for stentorian solemnity. Step inside; the silence is DEAFENING. [Jordan F. Talbot]

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.

Films:

Praised Fan, for bassoon (2016, 17 min)
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).

Reviews:

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.

Reviews:

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

Reviews:

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”

dogrando.net (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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviews:

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.

Reviews:

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 /

РЕЦЕНЗИЯ

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…

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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.

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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.

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‘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
Xenographica
The New Lofi
The Times Literary Supplement
Map Magazine
a closer listen
Another Green Kitchen