Jon Wozencroft is a Senior Tutor at the Royal College of Art responsible for sound, moving image and photography on the Visual Communication programme, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary structures. He holds monthly, cross-college, sound seminars that explore the invisible aspects of art and design practice.
CD – 4 tracks – 41:28
Gatefold ekopak + full album download
1. Radical Transparency
2. The Inertia of Time
3. Casting Ourselves Back into the Past
4. Nothing Ever Transcends its Immediate Environment
All tracks composed and recorded by Yann Novak in Los Angeles 2017
Vocal sample on “Nothing Ever Transcends its Immediate Environment” by Geneva Skeen
Photography & design by Jon Wozencroft
Mastered by Lawrence English at 158
‘The Future is a Forward Escape Into the Past’ is the latest album by Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist and composer Yann Novak, and his second for Touch. It considers the relationships between memory, time, and context through four vibrantly constructed tracks that push Novak’s work in a new direction while simultaneously exploring his sonic past. ‘The Future is a Forward Escape Into the Past’ is composed as a quadriptych – a single gesture broken into four parts – that meditates on the inevitable progression of time, our relationship to the past, and our distortion of the past through the imperfections of memory. The album will be released February 23, 2018 on the London-based label Touch. Available digitally and on CD, the physical version will be packaged in a gatefold sleeve as a limited edition of 500. For more information on the artist and release, please visit www.touch33.net.
The album’s conceptual roots stem from ‘The Archaic Revival’ by American ethnobotanist and psychonaut Terence McKenna. In it, McKenna theorizes that when a culture becomes dysfunctional it attempts to revert back to a saner moment in its own history. He suggested that abstract expressionism, body piercing and tattooing, psychedelic drug use, sexual permissiveness, and rave culture were proof of this default to a more primal time. The text’s idealism was influential to Novak in the ‘90s, but today the theory bears a darkly-veiled resemblance to the rise of nostalgia-driven nationalism. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the signifiers of a ‘better time’ – McKenna’s idea highlights our propensity for selective memory, seeing history through the lens of memory instead of fact. On ‘The Future is a Forward Escape Into the Past’ Novak looked back at his own older works through this lens as inspiration.
“For this album I was interested in expanding into a more emotive compositional style and palette. In doing so, I was reminded that this was territory I had covered early on in my career — the whole process became a way to reconnect with my own past and history.”
The Album’s four tracks dynamically shift and surge, where time is rendered as material and momentum compels it into movement. Subtle distortion throughout the album ties the tracks together and echoes techniques explored in Novak’s ‘Meadowsweet’ (Dragon’s Eye, 2006). Tension gives way to a halcyon vision of place in “Radical Transparency,” immediately followed by the austere swells of “The Inertia of Time,” a piece that captures the twin impulse of generating optimistic beauty in harshly muted tones. Both tracks introduce subtle bass swells and stabs reminiscent of ‘In Residence’ (Dragon’s Eye, 2008). From there, the album grows darker with “Casting Ourselves Back into the Past,” and “Nothing Ever Transcends its Immediate Environment,” two icier tracks that preserve the album’s core: a layer of something long since passed that locks us into the very moment we inhabit. The latter introduces a processed vocal sample of Geneva Skeen, similar to Novak’s collaborative work with Marc Manning on ‘Pairings’ (Dragon’s Eye, 2007). The album is a study in perception and alteration, manipulation and awareness, effectively capturing Novak’s command of emotional texturing.
February 23rd @ Human Resources, Los Angeles, USA
Curated by Mike Harding & Yann Novak
To launch the release of Yann Novak’s second album for Touch, a live event will be held at Human Resources on 23rd February in Los Angeles.
The news that Jóhann Jóhannsson has died hits hard. He configured a personal and progressive spirit, making a bridge between experimental music and Hollywood, for whom success was always subjugated to a humble awareness. Above everything he was a friend, a lovely person to work with. In his short career, he changed the way the world thinks about alternative music, then film soundtracks, and had this exceptional talent to merge classicism with noise and disturbance.
But to start earlier than Friday’s appalling news…
In Summer 2002 we finished production for Jóhann’s first release for Touch, his first outside Iceland and the Kitchen Motors project – “Englabörn”. It was Andrew McKenzie, the two of them still living in Iceland, who introduced us and encouraged us to release it. Jóhann is on record as saying how much he owed to McKenzie’s presence in Iceland, being an education and catalyst for his work. Then, in turn, it was Jóhann who suggested we work with Hildur Guðnadóttir and so a continuing light shines through our story.
The situation changes, ambitions become unaffordable financially, so it was part of the sequence that Jóhann moved into the next dimension, first recording for 4AD and being supported by Forma for live events, and latterly recording for Deutsche Grammaphon and winning multiple awards.
While he only released his first two albums with us (“Englabörn” in 2002 and two years later, “Virthulega Forsetar”), Jóhann always remained close to our operations, contributing new compositions to “Touch 25” in 2006 and the more recent “Touch Movements”. One of our favourite moments was when he expressed his joy after a live performance of “Virthulega Forsetar” at Ultima, Oslo in 2005. All who were there will never forget it – or him.
Jóhann’s work has made a huge impact on various films, we don’t need to list them here. We remember his sensitive soul… His dedication. It is easily heard, in the great work which will last beyond a lifetime.
[Photo: Front cover for “Englabörn” CD and vinyl editions. Taken in Sicily in April 2001, the Strait of Messina. To be rereleased as “Englabörn Variations” by Deutsche Grammaphon later in 2018.]
76pp full colour book + CD
33 tracks – 78:59
Limited edition of 1000
Release date: 11th December 2017
Into the Open
Mika Vainio – Behind the Radiators
AER – Just Before Dawn
Bethan Kellough – Twelve
Wire – A Year A Second [For BCG]
London in a Week
Carl Michael Von Hausswolff – Sine Missing One
Chris Watson – Deepcar
Jana Winderen – Bronx Tunnel
The Magical Land of the North
Claire M Singer – Storr
Hildur Gudnadottir – Death 200AD
Three 20 – Four Twelve
Philip Jeck – Deed of Gift
Walking on Water
Simon Scott – Storm of the Fens
Eleh – Overt One
The Love Train
Russell Haswell – Demons
Heitor Alvelos – Expectant
I’m a Schoolteacher on Holiday
Johann Johannsson – Mingyun
Mark Van Hoen – Prescient
Fennesz – Paint It Black (remastered)
Sohrab – JV Dream
It’s Enough to Make You Weep
Strafe FR – Virgin
Before The Sea @ Falasarna
Jim O’Rourke – Despite The Water Supply
Situation Stabilised / BJ Nilsen – Atom Mother
Peter Rehberg – Cinecom
Gateway to the Garden
Oren Ambarchi – Testify
The Sound of Eleven
In a 24/7 world there is no greater challenge than “to be in command of one’s own time”. Is it true that the ability to download anything, at any moment, constitutes freedom? Has the ‘value’ of music, art and design been stripped bare? “I Google, therefore I am”…
Touch MOVEMENTS has been compiled over the course of 3 years. It is a response to many requests for Touch to publish a fuller account of Jon Wozencroft’s photography for the cover art of the project. The book follows the music, which was compiled step-by-step, like a jigsaw – there was not an “open call” to the artists, rather a sequential development which gives the CD a special narrative quality. And since our last Touch 30 compilation in 2012, the accuracy of the music has grown and rises to the challenge of what sound can do to transform perceptions about the immediate emotion of musical work and its more difficult, longer term evolution.
Following Touch Folio 001 in 2015, this series is a dedication to finding new ways of audiovisual publishing, somewhere between the twin peaks of a jewel-cased CD and a lavish box-set. The two elements of sound and the visual work in parallel to create the idea of an “Ear-book”, whose interdependency reveals itself over time, and allows the richest of listening and viewing experiences. The music and the photography is fully annotated, alongside a rarely-seen manifesto by the Surrealist film-maker Jan Švankmajer which celebrates the spirit of the creative act.
It is with great sadness that we learnt that Z’EV passed away on December 16th 2017.
His long collaboration with Touch outlined for us a way of staying fiercely independent
– he was and always will be a true original.
Rax Werx “In the Compound”, from ‘One Foot in the Grave’ [Touch # TO:13, 1991]
Featuring artists and tracks from the Touch catalogue stretching back over 35 years, Mike Harding has compiled a 2 hour radio mix for Camp (“Next level arts residencies”)
Here is the track listing:
Sohrab – Himmel Über Tehran
Bethan Kellough – Canopy (extract)
Fennesz – Glide
Claire M Singer – A Different Place
Robert Crouch – Sublunar (extract)
Philip Jeck – Tilting
Chris Watson – A recording from Embleton Rookery
Soliman Gamil – Sufi Dialogue
Marcus Davidson – The Passing
Yann Novak – Ornamentation (extract)
Hildur Gudnadottir – Erupting Light
Jana Winderen – Scuttling Around in the Shallows
Oren Ambarchi – Salt
Rosy Parlane – Iris part one
Pece Atanasovskog – Postupano Oro
Strafe für Rebellion – In Egypt in the Month of May
Bruce Gilbert – Sliding Off the World
Pan Sonic – Slovakian Rauta
Tanja Orning & Hild Sofie Tafjord – Live at Blå, Oslo
Hazard – Church
Ryoji Ikeda – op. 1 IV [for 9 strings]
CD and download – 1 track
Sold out at source – digital available on bandcamp
Release date: 22nd September 2017
Artwork and photography by Jon Wozencroft
Recorded and mastered by Jeff Ardron of St. Austral Sound
The 6th in the series of limited edition compact disc live recordings (after Thomas Köner & Jana Winderen, Simon Scott, Bethan Kellough, Yann Novak, Robert Crouch) brings Philip Jeck live at Iklectik, London.
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 muscians/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.
Limited Edition 500
Release date: 20th October 2017
Written & recorded by Carl Michael von Hausswolff
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft & Carl Michael von Hausswolff
Mastered by Jason at Transition
Conceptualised (2010–2013), composed and produced (2014–2017) by Carl Michael von Hausswolff in Palma (Majorca) and Stockholm. This musical piece consists only of sounds emitted and extracted from physical matter using emission spectroscopy as the sole basic technology. Acknowledgements to Linköping University (IFM), Sweden.
‘Still Life – Requiem’ consists of one piece with the same title and is divided up into two to fit the LP format. The piece is, as the title suggests, a requiem and it’s contents are solely composed by sounds captured from a specific physical solid state material. The composer has used a technique called ’emission spectroscopy’ whereby the frequencies generated from the material was analysed and transferred into, for humans, a listenable pitch (between 15 and 14000Hz). This captured organic sound material has been stretched, looped, equalised and composed to produce the recording.
A requiem is a piece of music dedicated to certain sole or several restless souls that wander our worlds looking for a place to call home. A requiem radiates calm, peace and perhaps comfort for tormented spiritual beings – it’s a piece dedicated to promote and insert tranquility and transcendence.
This requiem also provides the listener with a certain feeling of connection – perhaps a connection with the unknown and with the energy field clusters and mental abilities of post-mortem life forms that would be the incorporeal essence of a living being.
CMvH (born 1956 in Linköping , Sweden) has a long history within the communities of contemporary music and visual art. His first records was released in early 80s while the most recent saw the light just a few years ago (‘Squared’ [CD – Auf Abwegen, 2015]). In recent years he has been collaborating with Leslie Winer (‘1’ [LP – Monotype 2016]) and Hans-Joachim Roedelius (‘Nordlicht’ [LP – Curious Music, 2017]).
He has also instigated and curated the collective sound-installation ‘freq_out’ during 2003 – 2017, which includes artists such as Jana Winderen, JG Thirlwell, Finnbogi Petursson, Christine Ödlund and others.
CD and download – 1 track
Release date: 20th October 2017
Written & performed by Claire M Singer
Mastered by Denis Blackham @ Skye
Photography & design by Jon Wozencroft
Recorded by Clare Gallagher at Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, 12th June 2017 on the transept organ built by Ahrend & Brunzema (1965). ‘Fairge’ was commissioned by Oude Kerk for ‘Silence’, a concert series curated by Jacob Lekkerkerker.
Fairge, meaning ‘the ocean’ or ‘the sea’, is very much a companion piece to Claire’s solo album, ‘Solas’ (Touch, 2016), about which The Quietus wrote: “…something very special indeed – each piece is timeless and genuinely magical” and Norman Records asked “Why have we had to wait this long for this excellent sound to be recorded and released?”
The Friedenskirche, a church in Eupen, will be host to the “Touch Presents…” program, featuring two organ concerts by Claire M. Singer and The Eternal Chord and a live performance by Philip Jeck. Claire M. Singer’s 2016 debut Solas spans 14 years of her work in acoustic and electronic composition. Together with Mike Harding, she is also a member of The Eternal Chord, a project that focuses on the sonic power of the organ. Philip Jeck started working with record players and electronic instrumentation in the 80s and is renowned for his soundtracks, music for theatre and dance companies and solo concert work.
“Unearthing more future greats, this time we meet organ revivalist, Claire M Singer.
Claire M Singer is a composer, producer and performer of acoustic and electronic music, film and installations. She also looks after one of the most prestigious organs in the world, the legendary 1877 Henry Willis organ at Union Chapel, London.”
Robert Crouch’s ‘Sublunar’ [Tone 56] now up digitally in all good stores.
“…Crouch works the various layers of sound together, coming together at times lush and rich, and at others thin and harsher in nature. This constant unending flow makes for a complex, captivating piece of sound… Separated from the source material, Sublunar may not have the same conceptual nature of his previous work, but his knack for mixing familiar sounds with unfamiliar ones is still strongly present. Here he manages to create a space that is both comfortable and alien, where the ambiguity simply adds to the quality of the sound. Given this is a live performance; it just makes this record all the more impressive.” [Creaig Dunton]
“…it’s a quiet intensity. The most striking thing about the album is its ability to go in multiple directions and at the same time maintain an even keel. It surprises without jarring. It is intricate and at the same time expertly polished.”
‘El Tren Fantasma’ [Touch # TO:42, 2011]
“Take the ghost train from Los Mochis to Veracruz and travel cross country, coast to coast, Pacific to Atlantic. Ride the rhythm of the rails on board the Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (FNM) and the music of a journey that has now passed into history.”
El Tren Fantasma, (The Ghost Train), is Chris Watson’s 4th solo album for Touch, and his first since Weather Report in 2003, which was named as one of the albums you should hear before you die in The Guardian. A Radio programme was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday 30 Oct, 2010, produced by Sarah Blunt, and described as “a thrilling acoustic journey across the heart of Mexico from Pacific to Atlantic coast using archive recordings to recreate a rail passenger service which no longer exists. It’s now more than a decade since FNM operated its last continuous passenger service across country. Chris Watson spent a month on board the train with some of the last passengers to travel this route. As sound recordist he was part of the film crew working on a programme in the BBC TV series Great Railways Journeys. Now, in this album, the journey of the ‘ghost train’ is recreated, evoking memories of a recent past, capturing the atmosphere, rhythms and sounds of human life, wildlife and the journey itself along the tracks of one of Mexico’s greatest engineering projects.
‘Weather Report’ [Touch # TO:47, 2003]
The weather has created and shaped all our habitats. Clearly it also has a profound and dynamic effect upon our lives and that of other animals. The three locations featured here all have moods and characters which are made tangible by the elements, and these periodic events are represented within by a form of time compression.
This was Chris’s first foray into composition using his location recordings of wildlife and habitats – previously he has been concerned with describing and revealing the special atmosphere of a place by site specific, untreated location recordings. For the first time here he constructs collages of sounds, which evolve from a series of recordings made at the specific locations over varying periods of time.
28.06.17 – Bill Thompson – Live at the Brunswick Club, Bristol, June 19th 2017 – 31:37 – 320 kbps
This is a two channel recording of a live solo performance using the Moog guitar plus stuff. The set was improvised and only the second time I’d performed solo with the Moog (the first being the night before in Swansea). The gig was at the Brunswick Club in Bristol which houses several arts groups including BEEF (Bristol Experimental Expanded Film) who, via sound and video artist Kathy Hinde, had invited me to perform. When I arrived in Bristol and gave the taxi driver the address, he told me that the Brunswick Club was closed down, and even if it wasn’t, he doubted I’d be performing there. Apparently it used to be a Working Man’s Club frequented by taxi drivers. Not any more.
Equipment: Moog Guitar, ebow, shortwave radio, tone generator, guitar pedals (reverb, delay, distortion and fuzz factory), plasma and bicycle lights, a child’s light wand, two vibrators, portable CD player (unplugged), modified fans, mixer, and miscelaneous debris.
Recorded by Kathy Hinde.
Subscribe to the TouchPod podcast of TouchRadio via the iTunes Music Store
A significant factor in responding to the decline of the compact disc format is to find new forms of exposure for challenging music. Hildur Gudnadottir‘s work for Touch, in particular “Saman”, takes a central role in forming the emotional narrative of this acclaimed series, starring Elizabeth Moss, made by Hulu (USA) and now showing on Channel 4 (UK).
Hildur’s four CD’s for Touch will re-released in 2 Double-CD editions in
the autumn. In the meantime, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is free to view on
Channel 4 OD. We recommend it.
Released: 16th June 2017
CD – 1 track – 44:24
Remastered by Thomas Köner
Photography & design by Jon Wozencroft
Recorded live from the cloisters at Evreux Cathedral, Normandy, France by Franck Dubois, 14th June 2014, as part of L’Ateliers. With thanks to Denis Boyer.
20.05.17 – Félix Blume – A La Orilla (On the edge) – 45:01 – 320 kbps
On the edge of the jungle, where the Amazon Rainforest begins in southern Venezuela, where the Gran Sabana ends, humans are still trying to enter a world dominated by nature. Trees, rivers, animals and insects extend to the horizon, and the sounds reach our ears to remind us of their empire.
Subscribe to the TouchPod podcast of TouchRadio via the iTunes Music Store
CD and download – 4 tracks
Release date: 19th May 2017
Written, recorded and performed by Robert Crouch
Mastered by Lawrence English @ 158
Artwork & Photography: Jon Wozencroft
2. Brick by Brick
3. Listen to the sound of the earth turning
4. Coda (Sailing Stones)
Presented live in Los Angeles. Source material originally developed as part of mas gestos y mas caras, a collaborative performance with Rafa Esparza and Yann Novak, presented at the Hammer Museum on July 8, 2016