T_ZERO_1 – Touch Sampler 1

CD – 16 tracks

Track list:

1. H3ÖH Mind Loss (9:03)
2. Philip Jeck PS One (7:23)
3. Soliman Gamil Valley Of Kings And Queens (2:27)
4. Sandoz Orgasmatron (6:51)
5. Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson Sudurgata (3:26)
6. The Hafler Trio I Remain….. (5:32)
7. Chris Watson Mara River At Night (4:51)
8. Daren Seymour & Mark Van Hoen Supermind’s Light Becomes Part Of The Earth (2:35)
9. Eli Fara & Luiza Míça Mule Driver Of Grebene (3:44)
10. Sweet Exorcist Ghettoes Of The Mind (3:43)
11. Drome Mesmerized (6:40)
12. Rax Werx In The Compound (1:38)
13. Z’EV Radio KPFK (2:30)
14. S.E.T.I. Knowledge (8:24)
15. Soliman Gamil Supplication (1:23)
16. Koji Marutani Calcutta (5:06)


immerse (UK):

“Touch are probably one of the most interesting labels going. Sometimes releasing atmospherics or noise, even contemporary classical, nothing seems beyond the reach of Touch and Ash International. This becomes apparent when you play the sampler. There is no war of favourites, it’s a simple resumé of what has been released. There are no biographies, discographies or other frivolous pieces of pointless information about the artists, just 16 tracks and the lable’s own discography. Listen to this and witness a variety which is sadly lacking in many labels. AS”

Muzik (UK):

“An example to all. Bridging everything from the avant-garde and the post-electronic to the intensely ambient, Touch leave no stone of the experimental world unturned. From Soliman Gamil’s sublime Egypto-folklore and S.E.T.I.’s Arctic ambience to Richard Kirk’s Sweet Exorcist, Sandoz ‘s techno-punk and Hafler Trio’s abrasive vacuums of sound, this is quite possibly the broadest compilation youshould treat yourself to all year.”

insight (USA):

“Forgive me Lord, I confess that I have never heard of any of these folks except The Hafler Trio, but I’m into it like we’ve known each other for years. Briefly, the list of players: Philip Jeck, Soliman Gamil, Sandoz, Hilmar orn Hilmarsson, Hafler Trio, Chris Watson,Daren Seymour and Mark Van Hoen, El Far and Luiza Mica, Sweet Exorcist, Drome, Raxwerx, Z’ev, S.E.T.I., Koji Marutani. There. Does that mean anything to you? I saw the trio and snagged this and three stages later (dormancy, excitement, apogee) I’m sending thank you cards to everyone involved. Largely percussion, little vocal, ambient at times (Watson’s recording/creation of “Mara River at Night”), sometimes abrasive (Rax werx is almost painful), the entire disc is nicely understated, like latent feelings that boil surface. Once again, the best things received in the service of this small punk rock magazine have nothing to do with punk rock and everything to do with timeless, boundless noises and rhythms that are simultaneously innate and exotic. Nicely composed in silences and sentences pregnant with mystery and promise. Highly recommended.” (John Livingstone)

Jarvis (Internet review, April 1996):

“In short, this is an excellent compilation. Laid-back, introspective, soothing, sometimes disturbing, and always captivating. For the most part this is ambient listening which sounds best late in the evening. The most striking feature of this record for me, apart from its overall high quality, is the sheer variety of musical styles it encompasses. Remarkably, all these diverse artists are, or have been, signed to the small, presumably independent, label Touch, or its subsidiary Ash International. “Touch Sampler” veers from intelligent techno to neo-classical, Eno-esque wallpaper ambient to Aphex-style drones, and even incorporates some world music along the way.

H3OH (an alternative guise for The Hafler Trio) kick things off with what turns out to be something of an epic. An unusual, medieval-sounding chant (“Ooh-what-a-won-derful-world…”) intros, before complex tribal rhythms slowly emerge to claim the attention. The percussion builds, then fades, and then builds again giving the piece an expectant intensity. A climax is never reached but the anticipation is probably better. Philip Jeck’s “PS One” is similarly outstanding and even more intense. Simplicity and unrefined power are its main characteristics. Loud, menacing hum/buzz/drone sounds (think swarm of bees meets electric guitar distortion) form the basis of the piece, remaining largely unchanged throughout, while a raw, pounding bass drum (someone banging at a closed door) occupies the foreground. Changes in the pace and volume of the beat provide “PS One” with its third and final dimension. Soliman Gamil’s middle eastern folk freshens the palate and provides a nice interlude before the full-on techno pop of Sandoz’s “Orgasmatron.” Another outstanding piece but this time for different reasons: frantic rhythms, bass you could cut with a knife, and the gorgeous looped rifs and melodies which characterise so much of Richard H. Kirk’s work. The next track, by Hilmar Orn Himarsson, is perhaps the best piece on the record. Modern classical music which literally oozes melancholic emotion and knocks most electronic ambient for six. The Hafler Trio’s second offering, “I Remain…,” sounds like part of the soundtrack for a low-budget, seventies sci-fi movie, does little for me and is the first track to let the side down. Chris Watson’s “Mara River at Night,” on the other hand, is rather good. It apparently amounts to nothing more than the recorded sounds of frogs and crickets around a tropical river at night, but it does the trick. Daren Seymour (of Seefeel) and Mark Van Hoen (of Autocreation) combine forces to produce a spooky little number (I can’t get “If you go down to the woods today…” out of my head) which is very nice but all to short. More eastern promise from Eli Fara and Luiza Mica, before Richard H. Kirk returns, this time as Sweet Exorcist. “Ghettoes of the Mind” is unmistakably Kirk’s creation but is quite different from the Sandoz track, the emphasis being on soothing the mind rather han moving the feet. The jazzy funk of Drome’s “Mesmerized” is low-slung, laid-back and loose, and takes “Touch Sampler” into yet another field of music. The following two pieces (Rax Werx and Z’EV) join The Hafler Trio’s “I Remain….” in the waste basket, but these are the only three poor tracks. The offering from S.E.T.I. is deep, surging Orb-esque ambience of the beatless variety: a powerful piece which starts to bring us down before the close. Soliman Gamil returns, this time with a solo cello, before Koji Marutani finally wraps things up with “Calcutta.” Indian street babblings gradually fade as a soft, repeating guitar melody emerges. The guitar is underlain with glorious, sweeping cello before the music ends abruptly and we return to the Calcutta street scene.”

Illuminations (Turkey):

Dated back to 1995, this is the first volume of the sampler series, we’ve been sent by the English label TOUCH the home of 3E (extreme, experimental, extraordinary) art. It seems that my sweet suffering in reviewing compilation releases will be doubled here due to the superb diversity of these collections. Ranging from ethno/traditional tunes to the obscure edges of digital experimentalism, from neo-classical rituals to World Music pieces , all three volumes offer a rich menu of musical forms, still addressing the faithful researchers of the obscure area. Here’s the contributor index of the first volume: H3OH: An impressive opening track with solid tribal rhythms & deep male choruses and exotic animal sound samples on the background. Philip Jeck: Taken from the “Loopholes” album, first TOUCH labelled CD of Philip Jeck, this track sounds like a duel between the soft and swarming machinery beats & harder and echoing ones. During the war, deep waves of synths wash the wall of the ongoing clamor. Soliman Gamil: Ancient Egyptian Music with traditional instruments. Sandoz: The same Sandoz essence of dance poetry with different elements and less complexive percussions. Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson: a short neo-classical suite of string instruments and synths, drenched in a pastorale insence. The Hafler Trio: A 5 minutes spot of deep electro-magnetic sonorities from these legendary sound researchers. Chris Watson: Taken from the 1996 dated CD ,”Stepping into the Dark” of Chris Watson, the experimental artist utilizing with close-up recordings of sounds of nature, this piece evokes a more spacious air of wild environment, in comparison with his new piece “Outside the Circle of Fire” , of which’s selected songs featured in the 3rd volume of the sampler series. Daren Seymour & Mark Van Hoen: a couple of cold and swarming melodies, spread on various different exhaling points of voice with snarling moisture or fiery noises that pump the tension. Eli Fara & Luiza Mia: A folk hymn ( probably of Balkans), sang by a duo of vocals in native language. Sweet Exorcist: Electro Rock with looped sound samples. One of the projects of Richard H. Kirk. Drome: Experimental jazz embelished by miniature electro-noises and treated vocals. Rax Werx: harsh noise assault… Z’EV: a structured composition of bells and gongs that used as alarms before the radio announcements. S.E.T.I.: Taking on more open and sensual sound emissions, the sametitled track of the previous S.E.T.I. album “Knowledge” differs from the lucid experiments of “Above Black” noticeably. Still enveloping the listener with the intense feeling of desolation and being lost, the experiment contains a deep floating synth harmony (which we can even call a melody), instead of the nearly-motionless picture of the background, sailing along the mysterious speech samples and murmuring & droning of deep space. Very fitting music for the odd scenes of a science fiction movie. Koji Marutani: a short guitar piece moving along the sonic- photo of Calcutta’s streets [O.S.]