Download only – 2 tracks – 7:04
2. Silk Road
“Tom” was previously released on the modeselektion vol.3 compilation in 2014. Please see here: monkeytownrecords.com/releases/modeselektion-vol-03/
“Silk Road” (formerly “Silk Lane”) was part of an installation for The Red Bull Music Academy, New York City in 2016. it was only played once in a loop for a whole day and has never been released.
The tracks have been reworked, slightly remixed and remastered at kaiserstudios in Vienna in April 2018.
Artwork & photography: Jon Wozencroft
Fennesz: Station One
Philip Jeck: Arcade
One mark of a true artist is a singular and instantly recognizable voice. By that measure, Christian Fennesz and Philip Jeck both qualify—no more than seconds of their respective material needs to be played for identification to be made—and if the world can be split into innovators and imitators, the Touch artists undoubtedly belong in the first group.
Though the single totals but seven minutes, Fennesz’s Station One indelibly captures the guitarist’s style in its two tracks, the first of which, “Tom,” first appeared on a 2014 Modeselektor compilation, and the second, “Silk Road,” (previously “Silk Lane”) was part of a 2016 installation in New York City. For the new release, both were remodeled, remixed, and remastered in Vienna earlier this year. A thing of luminous beauty, “Tom” sweeps in surreptitiously, its guitar strums shimmering within a drifting, synthetic mass before morphing into a fuzz-enshrouded swirl of guitar and electric piano radiance. The more aggressive of the two pieces, “Silk Road,” which apparently was played once in a loop for a whole day, buzzes and roars with machine-like insistence, alternating as it does with a loud, rippling thrum. Much like Fennesz’s work in general, neither of the pieces adheres to a rigid structure; instead, the two unfold like living organisms whose movements seem unpredictable yet nevertheless natural.
A long-form piece recorded live in London in early 2018, Arcade is quintessential Jeck. Using old vinyl discs and record players salvaged from junk shops, he crafts woozy soundscapes where ghostly loops push their way to the surface through thick fields of crackle, static, and vinyl surface noise. One might liken the experience of listening to a Jeck piece to drifting lazily on a barge and viewing the rusty ships and decaying industrial buildings ashore as they appear during the half-hour trip.
Strings figure prominently in this case, with the first violin flourish arising three minutes in and others swarming to the surface thereafter. As expected, nothing so conventional as a recognizable string quartet melody appears; instead, groans, corroded phrases, and high-pitched squeals ebb and flow within the slow-moving, undulating mass, while guitars twang insistently amidst clattering noise at the twenty-five-minute mark. As emphatic as Arcade is in such moments, it also includes passages so gentle and subdued they could induce sleep, and, in fact, midway through, breathing-like sounds emerge that could be mistaken for signs of light slumber. The setting never stays in one place for too long but rather shape-shifts with almost clockwork regularity, and consequently one’s attention never lapses during the thirty-three-minute presentation.
Anyone seeing Jack’s methodology and gear choice as gimmicky would be wise to attend more carefully; Arcade is as transfixing as anything else in his catalogue and attests to the singularity of his vision. [Ron Schepper]