Jon Wozencroft Soundseminar @ Iklectik, London 20th July 2023

IKLECTIK presents,

Jon Wozencroft Sound Seminar: Touchpoints
A Touch special with Mike Harding

Thursday 20 July 2023 | Start: 7:30pm

Tickets: £10 adv / £12 otd

Last June Iklectik hosted two sold-out nights of the first Touch40 London events, featuring 12 performances in a sunshine blessed, lockdown-lifted sensation of being back in the world again. It seems a long time ago, though it’s only a year. The weekend was a wonder.

One of the challenges of non-mainstream live music is whether or not the artists/ musicians talk, and speak to their audience, how much it is necessary to say anything – not “hello London or hello Chicago”, simply a few words to bring the human voice into the mix. A lot of ground-breaking music is instrumental. On this night we were able to be social as well as musical. You could hear a pin drop while the performances took place.

Is it true that music doesn’t know what to say at the moment?

I like listening to the radio. The amount of times DJs play a track without clearly saying what it is they are playing is commonplace, especially on the BBC. I guess you’re expected to look it up online. And few DJs get the chance to play anything that isn’t what you already know. Familiarity is the key.

It wasn’t always this way. Listeners seem less willing to buy what they don’t already know. Music buyers seem a-feared of the new and that’s possibly because there is scant encouragement nor the dynamic for things that are new, given the global circumstances, press conservatism and fear for the future.

The BFI report that 75% of record company releases are dedicated to music at least 10 years old, but more like 50. Reissues, box sets, Record Store Day, pink vinyl releases. Please buy a single LP in Rough Trade for £35.

Record sales are obviously competing with a pizza meal for two. It went bad because of lockdown, but it’s not just the fault of the virus. The virus was already there. Why should you have life-transforming music for free? A pizza isn’t going to change anything except your temporary hunger.

Touch still has lots to say; we rarely get the chance to do so. In the slipstream of the year after Touch40, we may talk about “How to Survive” as it was signalled on our first cassette ‘Feature Mist’ from 1982, years before streaming diminished the value of music. What might be the counterpoint to digital that isn’t analogue nostalgia? We will play one or two Touch gems amongst other highlights that got us to where we are now.

Are there alternatives to highly polluting physical releases? How can we explore green technology in relation to our soundworld. With vinyl, cassettes and CDs the spectre of physical pollution and sustainability is always on your mind, with digital systems the problems centre on mental health. What is the third way?

Jon Wozencroft developed his sound seminars in the late 1980s as a means of highlighting the potential of sound-related research and practice in art and design education. Primarily, the seminars promote the art of listening and seek to rebalance the dominant bias of visual culture which favours the eye over the ear. Listening both enhances one’s perceptual awareness and creates an oasis away from 24/7 non-stop media. The seminars underline the power of sound and music as catalysts for change in a context in which recorded music has been progressively devalued in the digital environment. Drawing upon forty years of working in music publishing and performance, Wozencroft moves the audience between and beyond genre classifications and makes connections where past present and future come alive in the moment.