Catalogue

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:

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.

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 to pre-order soon
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…

———

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

———

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

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

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

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

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

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

———

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

further reading/listening:

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

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

Reissued 3rd April 2020

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

Track listing:

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

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

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

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

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

Reissued 28th February 2020

CD – 3 tracks – 77:49

Track listing:

1. Interview with Carlos Duarte 5:48
2. Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone – Headphones mix 37:00
3. Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone – Speakers mix 35:00

You can listen an extract here

The marginal ice zone is the dynamic border between the open sea and the sea ice, which is ecologically extremely vulnerable. The phytoplankton present in the sea produces half of the oxygen on the planet. During spring, this zone is the most important CO2 sink in our biosphere. In Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone the sounds of the living creatures become a voice in the current political debate concerning the official definition of the location of the ice edge.

The listener experiences the bloom of plankton, the shifting and crackling sea ice in the Barents Sea around Spitsbergen, towards the North Pole, and the underwater sounds made by bearded seals, migrating species such as humpbacks and orcas, and the sound made by hunting saithe, crustaceans and spawning cod, all depending on the spring bloom.

Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone is a Sonic Acts and Dark Ecology commission first shown as a 7 channel installation at the Sonic Acts festival (Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam, 2017). It was supported by Art & Technology – Arts Council Norway, Fond for lyd og bilde, Tono stipendet, ARCEx research cruise on R/V Helmer Hanssen, UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Thanks to Paul Wassmann, Ingrid Wiedmann, Britt Kramvig, Berit Kristoffersen, Hilde Methi, Annette Wolfsberger, North Sailing, Arctic Encounters, Mamont Foundation & TBA21 Academy.

CARLOS M. DUARTE is Professor of Marine Science, Tarek Ahmed Juffali Research Chair in Red Sea Ecology, Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division, and is a world-wide leader in multiple branches of biological oceanography and marine ecology.

PHILIPP ASSMY is a researcher at The Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway. Current activities include species-specific studies of planktonic and sympagic communities and primary productivity in the Arctic Ocean north of Svalbard. He is also studying the impact of changing sea ice conditions and associated effects (e.g. changes in light climate and surface stratification) on phytoplankton and ice algal communities.

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

Reviews

Rockerilla (Italy):

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

Chain DLK (USA):

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

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

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

Toneshift (Italy):

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

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

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

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

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

Touching Extremes (Italy):

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

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

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

Czech National Radio:

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

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

Music Map (Italy):

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

Bad Alchemy (Germany):

The Wire (UK):

CLOT Magazine (UK):

The marginal ice zone is the dynamic border between the open sea and the sea ice, which is ecologically extremely vulnerable. The phytoplankton present in the sea produces half of the oxygen on the planet. During spring, this zone is the most important CO2 sink in our biosphere. An algal bloom or algae bloom is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae in freshwater or marine water systems and is recognized by the discolouration in the water from their pigments. The proliferation of algal blooms likely result from a combination of environmental factors and the rise of temperatures in spring is one of the driving force.

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

Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone is Winderen’s latest instalment in the series of works exploring these underwater sounds. A commission by Sonic Acts and Dark Ecology it resulted in an installation for the Sonic Acts festival in 2017.  The listener or viewer experiences the bloom of plankton, the shifting and crackling sea ice in the Barents Sea around Spitsbergen, towards the North Pole, and the underwater sounds made by bearded seals, migrating species such as humpbacks and orcas, and the sound made by hunting seithe and spawning cod, all depending on the spring bloom.

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

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

Rockdelux (Spain):

Gonzo Circus (Belgium):

Nordische Musik (Norway):

Neural (Italy):

Neural (Italy):

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

TO:114V ELEH – “Living Space”

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

DLP/CD – 5 tracks – 64 minutes

Track listing:

1. Living Space
2. Lo, Fr Ega
3. Collect Yourself/Well Arranged
4. Overt Too
5. Lighter Touch

Following ‘Slow Fade for Hard Sync’ (2009) and Location Momentum (2010), Living Space is Eleh’s third physical release for Touch. Seven years in the making, this new release consolidates the artist’s parallel narrative between a series of vinyl and CD releases for Important Records – where the emphasis is on a minimalist aesthetic – to a visual counterpoint that hints at the cinematic and painterly qualities of the music.

Sound, as a healing force, is an idea as old as the medium itself.  Inspired by the legacy and above all the spirit of John Coltrane, Living Space features 5 new compositions that seek to express the beauty of slow change, not only through the microtonal shifts in sound that Eleh navigates but moving with the atmospheric and shape–shifting conditions that the music creates as it interacts with the listening space, whether bedroom or concert hall, each one of them unique.

If the ambition of Living Space is to reflect both personal and collective growth cycles, the experience of its audition has the effect of stopping time. Melodic and harmonic progressions are implied and not stated obviously, to enable listeners to apply their own emotions and feelings to the music.

Using modular and analogue synthesisers, piano, organ, bass and symphonic chimes, Living Space stresses the promise of the CD’s final track – ‘Lighter Touch’ – forsaking the forceful hand for an approach that mirrors the slower and softer exposures of plant life and leaf formations, slow moving waters, not flash floods nor forest fires.

In counterpoint to the music, the 64 minute album is presented with a gatefold sleeve with Jon Wozencroft’s water photography extending the meditational pull of these new compositions. The Touch bandcamp page, which will be up later in the month, presents a fuller documentation of this photo–shoot (from Crete, 2018), with a 20pp PDF free for download.

For those for whom Eleh needs no introduction, see if you agree. Anyone who has yet to experience the artist’s sonic alchemy, Living Space is the perfect starting point.

Reviews:

Toneshift (USA):

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

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

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

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

The Sound Projector (UK):

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

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

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

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

The Wire (UK):

Blow Up (Italy):

Impatto Sonoro (Italy):

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

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

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

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

Silence & Sound (France):

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

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

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

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

Ambientblog (net):

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

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

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

Apart from one shorter track, all tracks are from 10 to 15 minutes in length. Eleh uses modular and analogue synthesizers, piano, organ, bass, and symphonic chimes to create his compositions.
Music that “seeks to express the beauty of slow change, not only through the microtonal shifts in sound that Eleh navigates but moving with the atmospheric and shape-shifting conditions that the music creates as it interacts with the listening space, whether bedroom or concert hall, each one of them unique.”

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

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

Electronic Sound (UK):

Dark Entries (Belgium):

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

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

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

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

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

Revue et Corrrigé (France):

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

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

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

Track listing:

1. Live 2000 1
2. Live 2000 2

Available from Bandcamp

V33.20 Simon Scott – “Emergency Exit”

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

Track listing:

1. Emergency 10:01
2. Exit 9:00

Available from Bandcamp

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

Vinyl + DL – 4 tracks

Release date: 22nd November 2019

The vinyl edition is now available to order

Track listing:

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

Videos available on our youtube channel

There are 4 tracks, 4 different windows to look out from our studio in Düsseldorf into the street and their different layers of sound.

4 horizons, 4 spy holes in the door, 4 eyes and 4 shopping windows. 4 landscapes.

Witness the electric city and the power house. Strafe F.R. is sitting inside the fuse box. The electric chirp of the night. The socket in which we sleep. The dog comes, in order to devour Strafe F.R. First he eats the rebellion and next he bites the Strafe.

The house and the body, both are earthed and the veins are vibrating. Between the 3rd and the 4th hour of the morning we enter the realm of insomnia. You fly by not using an airplane.

An old woman is cleaning the door bells with her own spittle. The old man is distilling schnaps in his back garden. The swimmers are gliding through the day on top of a greasy film. The reception is a flare into seconds until it fades away into noise again. The kettle drum gives the rhythm of breathing, the bass determines the time. You stumble forward, forward into the next day.

From our window we see a public building where there exists a toilet, its porcelain shows the most beautiful craquele fissures. There is an historic poster of Lenin. It is fixed on a garden fence in the landscape and the stinging nettles grow over it softly swinging in the wind.

There are shadows but there is also brightness, this means there are complementary colours and contrasts, movements and reflection until there is stillness. We see the back-breeding of cattle in the Neanderthal age and at the same time we look into the large heating room of an art museum, where we observe tubes and their upstream pressure regulators.

All sounds and music instruments recorded by Strafe F.R. – Bernd Kastner, Siegfried M. Syniuga. “Shadow Position” was mixed by Rasmus Zschoch. “Nachtmaschine”, “Every Day XXL” and “Isabella B.” were mixed by Strafe F.R. at Strafe studio in 2019 / Düsseldorf. Thanks to Detlef Klepsch for additional technical support. Female vocal by Anna Nettra.

strafefr.bandcamp.com

All tracks written & performed by Strafe F.R.
Cut by Jason @ Transition
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft

Reviews:

Loop:

Strafe F.R. was founded by Bernd Kastner and Siegfried M. Syniuga in Düsseldorf in 1979. Since then they have released thirteen albums that are in the field of avant-garde music and conceptual music. The full name of this formation is Strafe Für Rebellion which means something like “Punishment for rebellion.”

In November 2029 Touch released “Shadow Position” album that consist in four tracks that in words of Strafe F.R. member there are “4 different windows to look out from our studio in Düsseldorf into the street and their different layers of sound.”

Four tracks with four stories that conjure me up to dark cyberpunk movies. “Witness the electric city and the power house. Strafe F.R. is sitting inside the fuse box. The electric chirp of the night. The socket in which we sleep.”, is what this formation writes in the press release.

As a backdrop we have a post-industrial sound with rhythmic beats and heavy bass drums. Along with electric lashes and abrasive chips that synthesizers reproduce. All this under a blanket of dark atmospheres and bleeps that circulate like spirals. In a line where the beats prevail with glimpses to dance is what brings the track that gives this LP its title and which comes to be the exception to the experimental character of the rest of the album. [Guillermo Escudero]

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

Now  available to order here

The Heat Equation

Book + CD – 100pp linen cover with foil blocking

Release date: 1st November 2019

Book contents:
69 photos and a portrait of Mika Vainio by Joséphine Michel, and an introductory essay by Jeremy Millar

CD Track listing:

1. Mika Vainio – Live at Contra Pop, Ramsgate 56:38

Lyric Intangibility and the Objects of Science: On The Heat Equation, Museum & Society, 2019: You can read a feature by Sophie Thomas here

Reviews:

Artnoir (Germany):

artnoir.ch/josephine-michel-mika-vainio-the-heat-equation/

Transistora (Spain):

transistora.com.es/josephine-michel-mika-vainio-the-heat-equation-book-cd/

Ondarock (Italy):

www.ondarock.it/recensioni/2019-mikavainio-theheatequation.htm

Documentary Evidence (UK):

429harrowroad.wordpress.com/2019/10/30/josephine-michel-mika-vainio-the-heat-equation

Impatto Sonoro (Italy):

Joséphine Michel & Mika Vainio – The Heat Equation

Blow Up (Italy):

Dark Entries (Belgium):

Het mag al eens iets speciaals zijn, zoals de uitgave van The Heat Equation, een samenwerking tussen muzikant Mika Vaino en fotografe Joséphine Michel, die hier voor onze neus ligt te blinken. Vergezeld van een warme aanbeveling (“een diepgaand meesterwerk”) door niemand minder dan componist Carl Michael von Hauswolff, wiens bekendste productie tot op heden zijn dochter Anna is.

The Heat Equation is dus een 100 pagina’s tellend boek met nieuw fotomateriaal van deze in Brussel wonende fotografe vergezeld van een live opname met daarop Mika Vainio’s laatste optreden in het Verenigd Koninkrijk, waar hij het nieuwe materiaal bracht dat in 2017 op een solo-album bij Touch zou verschijnen.

Wanneer zijn naam niet meteen een belletje doet rinkelen, brengen we even in herinnering dat deze Fin in 1993 een van de oprichters van Pan Sonic was.

Eerder werkte hij al samen met Michel aan een soortgelijk project (Halfway To White (2015, eveneens uit bij Touch) en een tweede productie stond op de planning. Maart 2017 trok Michel richting Oslo om Vainio de eerste voorbeelden van de foto’s te laten zien die ze reeds had genomen voor dit doeleinde. Tijdens deze ontmoeting schoot Michel een teder portret van Vainio, dat uiteindelijk als ingevoegde postkaart te vinden is bij The Heat Equation.

Kort voor Vainio’s vroegtijdige dood in april 2017 nam het project een onverwachte wending. De opnames voor het nieuwe album voor Touch waren bijna voltooid, maar zijn sequencer ging kapot en het project moest opnieuw worden gestart. De samenwerking veranderde in een complementaire verkenning tussen Michels zowel quasi-wetenschappelijke als lyrische foto’s, een perceptie van een wereld op het punt van ontdekking -of het nu fysica, geneeskunde of ruimtevaart betreft- en de erfenis van Vainio’s muzikale visie, met zijn enorme imaginaire uitstraling van materie, en zijn spanning tussen gloeiende hitte en ijzige precisie.

De foto’s en de muziek werken samen doorheen verschillende klimaten, waar de micro- en macrokosmos, het levende en het levenloze, het tellurische en het kosmische naast elkaar bestaan, en soms versmelten.

In augustus 2016 voerde Vainio een verbluffende set uit op het Contra Pop festival op het strand van Ramsgate, die vanaf het mengpaneel opgenomen werd. De organisatoren wisten te melden dat het bestand beschadigd was en het voorgestelde contrapunt voor het werk van Michel werd als verloren beschouwd.

Wonderbaarlijk ontdekte Contra Pop 18 maanden later een back-up opname. Mede dankzij de puike remastering door Russell Haswell klinkt deze nieuwe muziek kwalitatief even sterk als we van hem gewoon waren bij leven en welzijn.

Een mooi eerbetoon, zowel letterlijk als figuurlijk. [Dimi Brands]

Le Son du Grisli (France):

TO:114 ELEH – “Living Space”

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

DLP/CD – 5 tracks – 64 minutes

Track listing:

1. Living Space
2. Lo, Fr Ega
3. Collect Yourself/Well Arranged
4. Overt Too
5. Lighter Touch

Following ‘Slow Fade for Hard Sync’ (2009) and Location Momentum (2010), Living Space is Eleh’s third physical release for Touch. Seven years in the making, this new release consolidates the artist’s parallel narrative between a series of vinyl and CD releases for Important Records – where the emphasis is on a minimalist aesthetic – to a visual counterpoint that hints at the cinematic and painterly qualities of the music.

Sound, as a healing force, is an idea as old as the medium itself.  Inspired by the legacy and above all the spirit of John Coltrane, Living Space features 5 new compositions that seek to express the beauty of slow change, not only through the microtonal shifts in sound that Eleh navigates but moving with the atmospheric and shape–shifting conditions that the music creates as it interacts with the listening space, whether bedroom or concert hall, each one of them unique.

If the ambition of Living Space is to reflect both personal and collective growth cycles, the experience of its audition has the effect of stopping time. Melodic and harmonic progressions are implied and not stated obviously, to enable listeners to apply their own emotions and feelings to the music.

Using modular and analogue synthesisers, piano, organ, bass and symphonic chimes, Living Space stresses the promise of the CD’s final track – ‘Lighter Touch’ – forsaking the forceful hand for an approach that mirrors the slower and softer exposures of plant life and leaf formations, slow moving waters, not flash floods nor forest fires.

In counterpoint to the music, the 60 minute CD is presented with a 6-panel digifile with Jon Wozencroft’s water photography extending the meditational pull of these new compositions. The Touch bandcamp page, which will be up later in the month, presents a fuller documentation of this photo–shoot (from Crete, 2018), with a 20pp PDF free for download.

For those for whom Eleh needs no introduction, see if you agree. Anyone who has yet to experience the artist’s sonic alchemy, Living Space is the perfect starting point.

Reviews:

The Sound Projector (UK):

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

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

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

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

Toneshift (USA):

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

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

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

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

The Wire (UK):

Blow Up (Italy):

Impatto Sonoro (Italy):

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

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

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

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

Silence & Sound (France):

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

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

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

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

Ambientblog (net):

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

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

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

Apart from one shorter track, all tracks are from 10 to 15 minutes in length. Eleh uses modular and analogue synthesizers, piano, organ, bass, and symphonic chimes to create his compositions.
Music that “seeks to express the beauty of slow change, not only through the microtonal shifts in sound that Eleh navigates but moving with the atmospheric and shape-shifting conditions that the music creates as it interacts with the listening space, whether bedroom or concert hall, each one of them unique.”

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

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

Electronic Sound (UK):

Dark Entries (Belgium):

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

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

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

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

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

Revue et Corrrigé (France):

Gonzo Circus (Belgium):

V33.10 Jana Winderen – “Pavikdalen”

Pasvikdalen (2014) was commissioned by Dark Ecology/Sonic Acts/Hilde Methi, performed at the Muziekgebouw, Sonic Acts Festival, Amsterdam and at Kurant, Tromsø (for the Dark Ecology and Arctic Encounter Forum), at NIBIO Svanhovd and at SALT, Oslo

Photo by Jana Winderen

Full programme here | the 2014 related field trip to Nikel, Russia

A stereo version was also played at Svanhovd, Norway, curated for Dark Ecology by Hilde Methi

Track listing:

1. Pasvikdalen 37:58

Available here

Reviews:

Tone Glow (net):

Jana Winderen first presented Pasvikdalen in 2015, at the Dark Ecology and Arctic Encounters forum at the University of Tromsø – Arctic University of Norway. Dark Ecology is also the title of a book by philosopher Timothy Morton, a speaker at the forum. After a cursory Google search, I feel confident in marking his Dark Ecology project as another exhausting, pointless addition to the lineage of white artists and philosophers exploring the “posthuman,” inventing new strands of thought that ignore the fundamental realities of the world or treat these realities as boring or outdated. To these people, the problems of the world—problems that kill, displace, blight people on a daily basis—are simply linguistic and aesthetic playgrounds, territories in which capitalism or climate catastrophe can be mitigated with the right poetic framework and zany pop culture references. I think this sums it up: an 8000-word interview with Morton about Dark Ecology—a book marketed as a radical reimagining of the ongoing climate catastrophe and how we can comprehend it—contains two instances of the word “capitalism,” and 33 instances of the word “weird.”

I begin with Morton’s Dark Ecology only because Winderen’s Pasvikdalen cuts through all the bullshit of Morton’s project, and in its 38 minutes manages to strike me in all the right emotional pressure points, summoning the feverish storm of anxieties I feel in the face of climate catastrophe while evoking the boundless beauty of our shared earth. Winderen has hinted in an interview that she sometimes manipulates her raw recordings, time-stretching and equalizing elements as she collages them together. Already, she breaks the unspoken rule of field recording, where practitioners often see themselves simply as archivists of various natural locales and phenomena. Winderen works on a deeper level, though the foundation of her work certainly lies in the crystalline purity of natural sounds, and she often goes to the furthest reaches of the earth in order to obtain them.

In this case: Nikel, Russia, near the Russian-Norwegian border, seemingly named after its Norilsk Nickel plant which spews so much sulfur dioxide that the Moscow Times described the area as “a moonscape of bald hills, barren of plant life for kilometers.” She still works as a musician interested in form and narrative, carefully sculpting waves of deep vibrations, respiring harmonics and clouds of blistering wind-noise that drift and collide like tectonic plates. This is not simply a documentary, but a totem, a living, breathing object imbued simultaneously with a sense of infinite scale and microscopic detail. When, twenty minutes in, the dogs start howling, it is easy to hear a lament—a cry for help from the earth. But this has no basis in reality. In occupying a middle ground between pure document and deliberate, artificial composition, Pasvikdalen does much more than vaguely “raise awareness” of climate catastrophe: its sonic form and construction directly reflect the immensity and complexity of the issue itself, targeting with laser focus all of the emotional vulnerabilities felt in the face of ecological collapse, unfolding with a logic of its own and never offering clear answers. There is no easy retreat to nature in a burning world. [Sunik Kim]