OREN AMBARCHI Grapes from the Estate (TO 061CD)
"Oren Ambarchi's third solo project for Touch sees him reaching beyond the work for electric guitar that he's become recognized for, expanding his palette and taking his investigations into another sphere entirely. Grapes from the Estate features new instrumentation (strings, tuned bells, percussion and others that can only be guessed at), but the singular and unmistakable influence that Ambarchi exerts on these new materials is what makes it such an indelible work. There is a reconciliation of his love of song based music and his determination to deal in pure sound. The result is a work that truly eludes such arbitrary definitions. Grapes From The Estate is an all consuming experience that draws the listener out of an ordinary sense of time, into a world beyond it. On more than any other release, his entire body of work to date can be experienced in a single statement. There are the seemingly random tonal structures that are such a large part of his vocabulary, the playfulness and humor of his formative noise schooling, his love of free jazz, of pop music, and rhythmic elements, perhaps subconsciously derived from his Sephardic heritage. Another outpouring of personal, intimate and enduring music from Oren Ambarchi."
BIOSPHERE Autour de la Lune (TO 062CD)
"Widely regarded as one of Norwegian electronic music's most important artists, Biosphere's [Geir Jenssen] career spans nearly two decades, six albums, lots of remixes, various sound installations, commissions, soundtracks and even the odd Himalayan summit. Says Jenssen on his latest commission: 'Radio France Culture contacted me some time ago and proposed a commission that was to be premiered at the Le Festival de Radio France et Montpellier. I was granted access to Radio France's archives and given permission to use this vast source of audio material. I settled on this early 60s dramatisation of Jules Verne's De la Terre à la Lune that totally captivated me. The story is quite amazing—Verne wrote it in the nineteenth century; still he managed to describe a manned space flight in such detail one is stunned. In De la Terre à la Lune Verne describes a space mission that sees the astronauts launched from Florida and returning from space to land in the Pacific Ocean—exactly the same procedure that the US space program would follow many, many years later. I have sampled bits and pieces of the dramatisation's dialogue, coupled it with sounds recorded at the MIR space station and then incorporated it with my own compositions.' Following the original broadcast, Jenssen continued to work on the recording which now sees the light of day as Autour de la Lune, a 74 minute symphony made up of nine 'movements'. The propulsive opening sequence 'Translation' gives way to the crosstalk and scrambled communications of 'Rotation' and 'Modifié', before the listener is enveloped in a dense and seemingly endless space (the sound of zero gravity?). The circular flight of Autour de la Lune is Biosphere at his most expansive. Featuring a specially-commissioned painting by Tor-Magnus Lundeby, one of Norway's most prominent visual artists, this new release is set to compete with Brian Eno's 'Apollo' recordings as the definitive homage to the space age."
BIOSPHERE Cirque (TO 046CD)
"In the year 2000, a year of just as many fictions and personal projections, Biosphere arrives at Cirque. For those of you still expecting Novelty Waves 2, a return of some sort to the harder sound of past times, well they just keep getting further and further away from techno and the mutation is finally beyond recognition. For those of you expecting Substrata 2, there is a sense here of resolution that Substrata never presented us with, despite it being so impossibly close to perfection. And just in case you're thinking of 'arctic' sound, and wondering if it will, sooner or later, bridge into the Norwegian ECM contingent of Garbarek or Rypdal, of icy soundscapes and contemporary classicism, think again. The classical Biosphere will be conquered over time, as evidence, never as a pre-requisite. At times reminiscent of Can's Future Days, in its subdued precision and unsettling tension of comfort/discomfort, Cirque may in addition recall Jon Hassell's methods in how it digests and redigests sounds while retaining their individual characters intact. Carefully crafted throughout the last three years in between scattered commissions and collaborations, Cirque is what Geir describes as his playground, the territory where he has dictated his own rules and created his own visions without any form of outside pressure or compromise. At no point has this translated into self indulgence, one must say, and the sources of inspiration for Cirque did remain fertile and focused all the way through. Some of these were deeply personal, but the main one seems to have been Jon Krakauer's book Into The Wild, a complex and fascinating insight into the short life and long journey of Chris McCandless who, after years on a quest for self-discovery and enlightenment through solitary travels in the most remote new regions in North America, went on a final journey into the Alaskan wilderness where his body was found alongside an SOS note. The sense of solitude, of idealist wonderment, the constant feel of unease and imminent danger permeate both of these works, so often hand in hand. Yet this in no way to suggest that Cirque will only reveal itself when placed alongside Krakauer's book. From it you must construct your own narratives, your own vision, as Geir has repeatedly suggested."
(Bar code: 5 027803 144620)
BIOSPHERE Dropsonde (TO 066CD)
Biosphere is Norwegian composer and performer Geir Jenssen. In the early 1990s he was a pioneer of so-called "ambient techno," but since then, he has refined his sound into something more magnetic and enduring. Dropsonde isn't a soundtrack like the interwoven Substrata nor an episodic journey in the way that Autour de la Lune is. Here Geir Jenssen is pushing new directions towards the jazz colors of Miles Davis and Jon Hassell, while re-invigorating the pulse and projection of his signature sound: a hypnotic combination of pleasure and dread. The spatial aspects some have dubbed "Arctic sound" but as Exclaim from Canada put it, "in order to climb higher, you must first go deeper." Jon Savage adds: "As with all of the Biosphere albums, the music draws you in and makes you want to listen and feel. Jenssen's work acts on a very emotional level, one that encourages you to drift away into a haze of images and scenes brought to you by the music, where spectacular beauty hides unseen danger. Intense and moving, but comforting and soothing at the same time." Just as a dropsonde (weather balloon) measures pressure, humidity, and temperature, this is synaesthetic, carefully-measured music. Liquid beats, samples as snapshots, and faraway speeches combine to produce a surprisingly deep human warmth.
BIOSPHERE Dropsonde (TO 066LP) Vinyl LP [see description above]
BIOSPHERE Shenzhou (TO 055CD)
"12 tracks. Design and photography by Jon Wozencroft. This is Biosphere's 3rd album for Touch, after Cirque and Substrata 2." Named after the Chinese spacecraft, this is Geir Jenssen's deepest and most recording yet, the first 10 tracks based on the orchestral works of Claude Debussy. Dark Ambient at its most spellbinding (without all the negative connotations one might associate with the words "dark" and "ambient"!).
BIOSPHERE Substrata 2 (TO 050CD) 2-CD Set
"Biosphere's 2nd release for Touch after Cirque is a double CD in digipak designed by Jon Wozencroft. The release consists of: CD One -- Substrata: Originally released in 1997, this remastered version of Substrata contains 11 tracks with a total length of 55:20. '...by many (the undersigned included) considered to be the finest ambient album of the 1990s'. CDTwo -- Man with a Movie Camera: Contains 9 tracks, total length 53:32. The first 7 tracks consist of the soundtrack to Man with a Movie Camera [Verdov, USSR 1929], originally commissioned for the Tromsø International Film Festival in 1996, released here for the first time. The last 2 tracks, 'Endurium' and 'The End of the Cyclone', were originally released on the limited edition Japanese version of Substrata in 1997 -- they have never before been released outside Japan."
JOHN DUNCAN Tap Internal (TONE 011CD)
"Have you ever asked yourself 'What is the sound of energy?' John Duncan has been trying for years to explain the composition of matter through sound, and not everyone can understand this—but once the door is opened everything suddenly becomes easy. Tap Internal is beautiful and, in classic Duncan style, cruel—in that it puts you in contact with our deepest psyche and lays it bare, turning the auricular membrane inside out, leaving an indelible mark of new frequencies that are beautiful to abandon yourself to. But watch out: just at the moment of hypnosis the scenario is completely convoluted and the sound becomes coarse and varied, cuts the air and tries to attack. The nightmare begins again, and once more the brai is forced to change its attitude, define a new reaction to the input. The beauty and uniqueness of John Duncan's music is fully captured in this continuous change of situations, dynamics, sounds and emotions which is, in a word, the microscopic photography of life itself."
ETANT DONNES Royaume (TONE 002CD)
1991 release. " The four tracks on this CD, Royaume, Matin, Quatre, Bleu, form the soundtrack to a powerful ritual carried out by brothers Eric and Marc Hurtado that celebrate the awesome force and forceful beauty of the natural world. The fantastic sounds you hear are sourced from the a series of field recordings made by Etant Donnes, but not in the manner of a wildlife documentary. The two brothers approach recordings as part of their whole performance ritual, with great attention to detail given to each context within which these sounds originate. The end result seems of another dimension entirely, but you realise that it is right here, surrounding you. Presented with a 12pp full-colour booklet that includes poetry and stills from the film Royaume."
FENNESZ Field Recordings 1995:2002 (TONE 016CD)
Field Recordings brings together a range of material Christian Fennesz has contributed to compilations, special projects and film soundtracks between the years 1995 and 2002. It also includes his debut 12" for Mego, the awesome Instrument remastered. Contains his remix of Stephan Mathieu & Ekkehard Ehlers, tracks from the Clicks&Cuts 2 comp, the Ash Int'l compilations KREV X and Decay, excerpts of his soundtrack to the movie Blue Moon, and one exclusive new track.
FENNESZ Live at Revolver, Melbourne Australia 3.02.00 (TO CDR3)
"Running time: approximately 17 minutes. Recorded on the recent Mego tour down under, this is Christian Fennesz' first live CD, his second release for Touch. Although it carries a CDR catalog number, this is not a CD-R. The CD will be manufactured at Universal, like all the other Touch CDs. The packaging will be the same as the Phillip Jeck and S.E.T.I. CDRs however- i.e. in a white wallet with a black and white sticker. This edition is limited to 1000 copies."
FENNESZ Plus Forty Seven Degrees 56' 37 (TO 040CD)
"This is Christian Fennesz' 2nd full length solo album after the highly acclaimed Hotel Paral.lel. At the beginning of 1999, he released Fennesz Plays, a CD single of radical treatments of Rolling Stones/Beach Boys classics on Jim O'Rourke's new label, Moikai. Fennesz has also made various contributions to compilation CDs, including the awesome 'Surf' on Decay; with Jim O'Rourke and Peter Rehberg he is a member of Fennoberg; he also plays with the Laptop Orchestra and Orchestra 33 1/3. Plus Forty Seven Degrees 56' 37" Minus Sixteen Degrees 51' 08" was recorded by Fennesz during July and August this summer, transforming his back garden into an open air studio, using only guitar and Powerbook. The tension between source and process has produced a powerful and hypnotic work, with echoes of My Bloody Valentine's classic Loveless album of 1991... Maybe a digital update of textures and fractured rhythms explored by Brian Eno on Another Green World. A lush photographic treatment by Jon Wozencroft contrasts Fennesz's rich soundscapes with images that attempt to capture the outerworldy atmosphere of places where man has manipulated 'natural' environments into new forms and functions."
FENNESZ Venice (TO 053CD)
Universally acclaimed as one of the major releases of 2004! "Venice was recorded on location in the summer of 2003 and subsequently assembled and mixed at Amann Studios, Vienna in January/February 2004. Venice, the fourth studio album by Christian Fennesz, finds electronic music at a crossroads between its early status as digital subculture, and the feeling that there has to be something more, an emotional quality that rises above noise and moves towards melody and rapture. Includes the continuation of his collaboration with David Sylvian on the track 'Transit', following the success of their duo on Sylvian's 2003 solo album, Blemish. … The Wire wrote, 'he offers all the puzzles and adventures of experimental music, but with a more assimilable grasp of melody -- and a prominent role for the guitar', and to be sure, 'though the process may sound simple, it takes some skillful manipulation to simultaneously tug those heartstrings and poke them with tiny pins.' [Nick Phillips, City Pages, USA]. Fennesz has been active in film soundtrack work -- for Gustav Deutsch and his forensic view of cinema, film ist'... Live performances, improvised music within a modus operandi that adheres itself more to jazz than computer software... everywhere from Tokyo to Bratislava. Fennesz has also taken part in many collaborations: Fenn O'Berg, with Jim O'Rourke and Peter Rehberg [Mego], a duo with Rosy Parlane [Synaesthesia], and with Polwechsel [Erstwhile]. He has also been recording with Sparklehorse, the first fruits of this collaboration appearing on the recently released Spire [Touch # Tone 20]. He lives and works in Paris and Vienna."
FENNESZ & RYUICHI SAKAMOTO Sala Santa Cecilia (TONE 022CD)
Every once in a great while, a collaboration comes along which hints at a brighter future, a collision of giants that indicates a convergence of method and music. This is one such event. Sala Santa Cecilia documents the meeting of worldwide laptop guru Fennesz and Japanese electronic music legend Ryuichi Sakamoto at the Auditorium Parco della Musica for the Romaeuropa Festival in Rome, November 2004. This is a unique and complete 19-minute piece which marks the recording debut of this new collaborative unit. It is exclusively available via this CD EP and will not be released elsewhere, and not as part of the forthcoming Fennesz Sakamoto album. The impact and importance of this recording is difficult to overstate. Christian Fennesz is far and away the standard- bearer of laptop music, his thawed sound of fractured guitar chords and warm noise melts hearts around the world. Ryuichi Sakamoto, meanwhile, a contributing force in electronic music for almost three decades in Yellow Magic Orchestra and his vast solo oeuvre, takes his place on laptop next to Fennesz for this historic meeting. Anyone concerned with the future of sound, or interested in modern music composition, or anyone who simply enjoys sweet ambient music should welcome Sala Santa Cecilia as a herald of what is to come. This is brilliant music from brilliant talents... towards a more brilliant world.
SOLIMAN GAMIL Ankh (TO 014LP) VINYL LP
Vinyl version of this 1990 Touch release. "This is the second release for Touch by Soliman Gamil, after The Egyptian Music. Ankh is the Egyptian symbol of life, of fertility and of growth. From the rich tonality of 'Dance of Ka' to the exuberant 'Clown Dance', Soliman Gamil draws on ancient Egyptian culture to create soundscapes that transcend the stereotypes handed down from films like Cleopatra; in the process they also challenge the shrink-wrapped mentality of 'world music'. On Ankh, Soliman Gamil plays 17 different instruments on 15 new compositions written and recorded since the 1960s. The cover comes complete with full colour artwork that features a painting by Panni Charrington."
SOLIMAN GAMIL A Map of Egypt Before the Sands (TO 033.15CD)
1997 release. "Soliman Gamil is a musicologist and composer who lived and worked in Cairo, Egypt. Born in 1924, his soundtracks for theatre and film have won international awards. His compositions are frequently used for radio and television. Soliman Gamil died in 1995. The Catalogue wrote in 1988: 'Instead of trying to create an atmosphere, this record reflects one. From the opening seconds of "Melody of Nile", you are there—lying in the sand, lips sore, throat parched, staring at the huge river. Quite why this record works when so may other atmospheric records just irritate, I do not know. There are no traditional synth sounds or strange electronic wave noises, just really interesting sounds, alien tunes. The Egyptian Music is wonderfully refreshing.'"
HAZARD Land (TONE 017CD)
"B.J. Nilsen lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. Born in 1975, he began working with experimental music and sound at an early stage. He was influenced by the early tape movements with the pioneers of sonic assault and released his first recordings at the age of 15. Benny founded Hazard in 1996 after a couple of years as a guitarist/bass player in several local bands. He has since then focused on the sound of nature and its effect on humans, field recordings and the perception of time and space as experienced through sound. B.J. Nilsen is currently working with Chris Watson for both live and recorded work, and on a project mapping the acoustic environment in and underneath the modern city + an infrasound installation. This release is the second of the collaborations with Chris Watson after WIND [Ash # Ash 6.5] and his first release for Touch."
HILMAR ORN HILMARSSON Children of Nature (TO 033.14CD)
Repackaged re-issue of Children of Nature, the award-winning score to the award-winning 1991 film by Icelandic director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. It is a lush and resonant lamentation, written by Iceland-native Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson (HoH), now resident of Denmark. HoH has collaborated with Current 93 and the Hafler Trio to name a few noteworthy artists. Hilmarsson says, "Children of Nature is a commemoration for those I have loved and lost." Both introspective and uplifting, the music is a series of miniature symphonies and extended interludes reminiscent of Arvo Pärt. The artwork includes numerous stills from the beautifully shot film.
RYOJI IKEDA + / – (TO 30)
Ikeda’s ultra-minimalist electronic explorations recorded in Japan during 1996'
(Bar code: 5 027803 143029)
RYOJI IKEDA 0º C (TO 038CD)
Repress of the second full-length by Ryoji Ikeda on Touch (originally released 2001), following the highly acclaimed +/- (1996). Recorded and mixed at CCI studio in Tokyo, this release features two works in Ikeda's continually expanding electronic style. "OºC" is an exploration at the edge of one's perception -- an extension of +/- and the next step. "C" adds a velocity axis and a density axis to factors, Oº amalgamated numbers, structures, frequencies and sounds.
RYOJI IKEDA Formula (TO FORMA001) Book and DVD
"Book and DVD contained in clear plastic slip-case in numbered edition of 3000. [Book]: 186mm x 136mm, 96 pages, soft cover, with 62 full colour and 34 monochrome illustrations [DVD]: features eight sound pieces from installation works and a 35-minute full video documentation of the formula [prototype] concert filmed in Tokyo. The DVD is an NTSC/PAL hybrid for world-wide use.
This is the first complete monograph about the seminal work of Ryoji Ikeda. With superb attention to detail and layout, the publication documents the artist's latest projects and includes brand-new artwork especially produced for the book. At the same time, formula covers Ikeda's landmark concerts and installations; and his collaborations with, amongst others, celebrated artist/musician Carsten Nicolai, acclaimed performance group Dumb Type and famous architect Toyo Ito. All of the DVD content is only available here, with a 35 minute full video documentation of formula [prototype] concert filmed in Tokyo and 8 sound pieces from installation works.
Not only the most complete Ryoji Ikeda catalogue, formula is an intimately-scaled minimalist artwork in itself, and an object of desire. How the book is held may cause the numbers and text, picked out in clear varnish on white page, to shimmer. Every aspect of look and feel has been considered by the artist's critical eye. His superlative production values are ever-present in the quality of the images and the finish. Only through repeated investigation does the publication begin to reveal its richness. Readers will be able to pore over the photographs, ponder the schematics and technical data, and enjoy the spacious listings of performances, exhibitions and releases. The artist's first-rate assembly of data, diagrams and video stills create moments of graphic intensity that make the white spaces of the pages surprisingly dynamic. The book is pure pleasure to hold.
Formula [Book + DVD] reflects precise design and the artist's flawless selection of surfaces and materials. An exceptional publication, it provides a 'heightened sensory experience' in a similar way to his concerts, installations and sound works."
RYOJI KEN IKEDA Merge (TO 033.19CD)
"Ken Ikeda is a musician and artist who has composed and recorded for David Lynch and for Moriko Mori, latterly as part of the Royal Academy's 'Apocalypse' exhibition in 2001. He featured as part of Sonic Boom, at the Hayward Gallery, London in 2000. He has released two albums for Touch. The first, tzuki [Moon] (Touch # T33.17, 2000), was strangely reminiscent of early Durrutti Column, hypnotic, dreamy and mystical. Here a darker side to his work unfolds; although retainingBuddhist notions of circles and cycles and other natural laws and influences, here he contemplates nature's shadowy side. The title, Merge, has as its root 'to drown' or 'immerse' oneself, its current usage with regard to convergence or (business) partnership not recorded until 1926 (OED). The double-edged nature of this recording is also reflected by its entirely different aspect determined by whether one plays it at high or low volume. These notions are further reflected in Jon Wozencroft's photography -- two small and uninhabited islands almost enveloped by the rising sea levels, juxtaposed with a view of New York's Upper East Side, taken from Central Park, skyscrapers swimming in the cloud cover..."
IKEDA op. (TO 060CD)
Brilliant new Ikeda CD, utilizing string quartet sounds (mostly recorded in France at the Art Zoyd studios), with no electronic sounds used. Some tracks include: "op. 1 [for 9 strings].", "op. 2 [for string quartet]", "op. 3 [for string quartet]". "This is Ryoji Ikeda's sixth solo CD and his fourth for Touch, following the highly acclaimed +/- , 0*C  and matrix . He previously released 1000 Fragments on his own CCIrecordings, and Time and Space, a double 3 inch CD, for Staalplaat. 'op.1' was originally commissioned by 'experience de vol #3'. One notable aspect fans of his previous work will highlight upon, is his declaration that 'no electronic sounds have been used on this recording'. This is not to say that Ikeda has in any way renounced the world of electronic music that he has done so much to shape over the past seven years. 'op. 1' is a brave and deliberate step that also lends a new dimension to his previous output, with the acoustic space created by his string arrangements being subject to the same forensic attention to detail as before. "
KEN IKEDA Tzuki (Moon) (TO 033.17CD)
"Touch is proud to present the first release by Japanese sound artist Ken Ikeda. Having been recently featured in the Hayward Gallery's Sonic Boom exhibition for his collaboration with the Japanese video artist Mariko Mori, Tzuki (Moon) is Ken Ikeda's first CD release in his own right. Hypnotic sound-fields strangely reminiscent of early Durrutti Column. 'This work has as its purpose taking samples from old movies and, by erecting a memorial for the blanks between frames, communicating with the god of images and attracting that holy being. I will be happy if, by saying a mass for our ancestors, I can reconstruct the time of darkness and the energy of the universe and so reach the far ends of the space between frames. Honouring the place our outer eyes cannot see is most necessary for our present-day materialistic society and for our virtual value standards.' —Ken Ikeda"
PHILIP JECK 7 (TO 057CD)
Philip Jeck, who lives and works in Liverpool, studied visual art at the Dartington College of Arts in Devon, England. During the early 1980s, he drifted from painting and sculpture to music, and began working with old and discarded turntables. Though he's roughly a contemporary of Christian Marclay, recognition for Jeck came much later, beginning in 1993 with his massive installation "Vinyl Requiem", which incorporated 180 record players and multiple film projections. This is Philip Jeck's 7th solo album, and 4th for Touch, after Loopholes (1996), Surf (1998) and Stoke (2002). He has also released a collaboration with Jacob Kirkegaard, Soaked (2002), and a recording of a live concert he gave in Japan, Live at ICC (2001). He is currently touring with Jah Wobble & Deep Space, and is heavily featured on their latest album Five Beat (30hertzrecords, 2003). … Philip Jeck writes: "All seven are edits of home and concert recordings (UK Germany & Belgium) using Bush, Ferguson, Fidelity & Philips record-players, Sony portable mini-disc and Casio keyboards. 'Bush Hum' was made from the amplified hum of a Bush record-player and delay pedal. 'Wipe' was originally made for a video by Marisa Zanotti."
PHILIP JECK Stoke (TO 056CD)
Stoke was made using Bush, Fidelity and Philips record players, a Casio keyboard and an Alba portable CD player. This record mainly consists of edits of live performances from England, Japan and Vienna. The notion of turntablism may be associated with flashy, deck-hopping scratch gymnastics, but the use of the record player as an instrument harks back to a less ostentatious tradition of music making. John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Schaeffer, and James Tenney recognized records and turntable mechanisms as malleable sound sources. In essence, sampling began with the real-time deployment of gramophones in performance by these artists and academics. Philip Jeck, like peers Christian Marclay, Otomo Yoshihide, and Martin Tetreault, legitimizes the turntable as a musical instrument.
PHILIP JECK Surf (TO 036CD)
"Philip Jeck is best known for his highly subversive work 'Vinyl Requiem' with Lol Sargent (a performance for 180 dansette record players, 12 slide-projectors and 2 movie-projectors). He has also worked extensively with the choreographer Laurie Booth, is a member of Slant and has had tracks released by Blast First (on the Deconstruct compilation) and The Soundworks Exchange (First Edition). Surf further explores his experimentation with loops and scratching. His methods leave much to chance; nothing is pre-planned or calculated. The seven tracks on this CD are surprisingly accessible: rhythms unfold from the miasma. Whilst highly original, there is a surprisingly antique feel to the sound: many of the samples, loops and scratches are taken from old vinyl records. Against nostalgia, Surf proves there to be vast potential in analogue recording processes, and by utilising seemingly outmoded sources, Philip Jeck shows that you don't need a 24 track digital console and an enormous hard disk to make music that is both innovative and involving."
PHILIP JECK 20_02_00: Live at ICC, Tokyo (TO CDR1) CDR
1 track - 34:31. Performance for "Phast of Post Music". The first in the series of live recordings, followed by S.E.T.I. and Fennesz. Unlike later volumes in this series which are typically manufactured CDs, this really is a CDR.
PHILIP JECK & JACOB KIRKEGAARD Soaked (TONE 015CD)
"'There are grains of truth in the suggestion that, in moving, you may find yourself in or out of some one's favour. But, listen to the slow, delicate, even introspective background: some breeze, some chimes, some distant thunder as each focal point remains a lament.' This blistering work was recorded live at the Moers Jazz Festival, Germany, in May 2002 and follows hot on the heels of Philip Jeck's highly acclaimed Stoke. Jacob Kirkegaard is a member of Danish combo Aerter who work in a mixed media context. He was born in Denmark, 1975 and is currently studying at the Academy of Media Arts, Cologne. Germany. He has taken part in numerous festivals throughout Europe, playing live, improvising with samplers and other electronics, as he does on this recording. Philip Jeck, meanwhile, sticks to his turntables. He started experimenting with record players back at school in the 1960s, later won the Time Out Performance Award for Vinyl Requiem  and has released 3 solo albums for Touch - Loopholes, Surf and the abovementioned Stoke. He lives and works in Liverpool."
JOHANN JOHANNSSON Englabörn (TO 052CD)
"Johann Johannsson is one of the most active participants in the new Icelandic music scene. He has one of the founders of Kitchen Motors. Johann has produced and written music with artists as diverse as Marc Almond (Stranger Things album), Barry Adamson and Pan Sonic, The Hafler Trio, Magga Stina and many others. Englaborn is Johann's first solo album. It is derived from music he wrote for an Icelandic play of the same name. For the cd release on Touch, the music was revised and restructured to make it stand as a work on its own and not simply function as a collection of cues. The music is written for string quartet, piano, organ, glockenspiel and percussion. These elements were processed and manipulated, adding delicate electronic backgrounds to the otherwise entirely acoustic recordings. One song, 'Odi et Amo', is a setting of Catullus's famous poem. He says 'This was a happy accident; I'd written the music and wanted a computerized counter-tenor vocal singing a Latin text and was looking through a collection of Latin poetry when I remembered this poem from college and it did fit the melody perfectly and was also thematically perfect for the play. It's in the final scene. What I really like about it is the harsh contrast of the computer voice and the strings, the alchemy of total opposites, the sewing machine and umbrella on a dissecting table'. Johannsson continues: 'The plays is extremely violent and disturbing and basically when faced with the script I decided to work against it as much as possible and just try to write the most beautiful music I could.'"
JOHANN JOHANNSSON Virthulegu Forsetar (TO 064CD) CD/DVD Set
Double disc release: disc 1 = normal stereo CD. Disc 2 = hybrid DVD-Audio (both NTSC and PAL compatible, for world-wide use) with a high resolution 96 khz, 24bit 5.1 surround mix and a 96khz 24bit stereo mix. "Jóhann Jóhannsson is one of the most active participants in the new Icelandic music scene. This is his second album for Touch, after the highly acclaimed Englabörn [Touch # TO:52], about which The Wire said: '...expressive leitmotifs that unveil a profound sadness without ever wallowing in pathos' and Boomkat called it 'a work of rare beauty and ... a rare jewel'. Virthulegu Forsetar contains one hour-long piece for 11 brass players, percussion, electronics, organs and piano. It's presented as an ordinary stereo CD and as a DVD-Audio with a high resolution 5.1 surround mix. Virthulegu Forsetar is performed by the Caput Ensemble, conducted by Gudni Franzson, with Skuli Sverrison on bass and electronics, Matthias M.D. Hemstock on bells, glockenspiel and electronics, Hordur Bragason and Gudmundur Sigurdsson on organs and Johann Johannsson on piano and electronics."
RICHARD H. KIRK Loop Static (TONE 012CD)
Solo album from Caberet Voltaire founding member Richard H. Kirk, featuring an array of Bourroughsian found sounds, shortwave excerpts and amine ß ring modulations, over a Sheffield electro beat.
JACOB KIRKEGAARD Eldfjall (TO 033.20CD)
"This CD consists of geothermal recordings of vibrations in the ground around the area of Krisuvik, Geysir and Myvatn in Iceland. The recordings have been carried out using accelerometers, vibration sensor microphones. These are stuck into the earth at various places around the geysirs, mapping the sonic aspects of volcanic activity at the surface of the earth. A stick can be attached, to be inserted into—for example—the earth at desired places."
JACOB KIRKEGAARD 4 Rooms (TONE 026CD)
This is Jacob Kirkegaard's second release for the Touch label, after Eldfjall. Born in Denmark, now living and working in Germany, here he explores one of the worst man-made disasters in history. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded on April 26, 1986; clouds of radioactive particles were released, and the severely damaged containment vessel started leaking radioactive matter. More than 100,000 people were evacuated from the city and other affected areas. Despite the fact that radiation is still being emitted from the nuclear disaster site, the 900-year-old city of Chernobyl survives, although barely. As of 2004, government workers still police the zone, trying to clean up radioactive material. Some -- mostly elderly -- have decided to live with the dangers and have returned to their homes in the zone's towns and villages. The effects on the environment were catastrophic: huge areas of northern Europe were dosed with radioactivity. This work is a sonic presentation of four deserted rooms inside the "Zone of Alienation" in Chernobyl, Ukraine. Jacob Kirkegaard deliberately picked rooms that once were active meeting points for people: a church in village Krasno, an auditorium, a gymnasium and a swimming pool in Pripyat. Two decades after the event, Kirkegaard explores the phenomenon of radiation with the medium of sound. By listening to the silence of four radiating spaces he aims to unlock a fragment of the time existing inside the zone. Silence, unfolding in space. The sound of each room was evoked by sonic time layering: in each room, he recorded 10 minutes of it and then played the recording back into the room, while at the same time recording it again. This process was repeated up to ten times. As the layers got denser, each room slowly began to unfold a drone with various overtones. From a technical point of view, Kirkegaard's "sonic time layering" refers back to Alvin Lucier's work "I Am Sitting in a Room" (1970). Lucier recorded his voice in a space and repeatedly played this recording back into that same space. In this work, however, no voice is being projected into the rooms: during the recordings Kirkegaard left the four spaces to wait for whatever might evolve from the silence.LOCUST Wrong (TO 051CD) 2-CD Set
"Mark Van Hoen's second for Touch after The Last Flowers from the Darkness. The instrumentation is purely electronic analog synthesizers, edited and manipulated in Digidesigns' Protools. Mark Van Hoen, who programmed and produced the LP, wanted to invoke some of the spirit of late 70's British electronic music, combining that sound with his now familiar brand of electronics for which he became known during the 90's. The fragility and unpredictability of vocalist Holli Ashton's personality and vocals, combined with the decayed and warped quality of the sound offer a warmth rarely found in such pure electronic music. Imperfections are the source of that warmth and there are several connections here between the late 70's (the period which first inspired Mark to make music) and the last few years. Electronic music in the late 70's was forced to become more inventive because the limitations of the instruments of the time needed the musician to craft each sound by hand, and the instruments often went wrong; out of time and out of tune. These same instruments were used on this album; there are no samplers, guitars or anything else but analog synthesizers and vocals on this recording. More recently, artists such as Ryoji Ikeda, Pan Sonic, and Hazard have sought to bring out imperfections in digital music, and those influences are here, too. Even the second CD, to be played simultaneously with the first is a 'misuse' of technology, yet it makes a beautiful sound."
PHILL NIBLOCK Touch Food (TO 059CD) 2-CD Set
Repressed! CD1: "Sea Jelly Yellow" [Ulrich Krieger, baritone saxophone]; "Sweet Potato" [Carol Robinson, bass clarinet, basset horn, and Eb clarinet]; "Yam Almost May" [Kasper T. Toeplitz, electric bass]. CD2: "Pan Fried 70" [Reinhold Friedl, piano]. "In the music of Phill Niblock, we are confronted with the aural equivalent of trompe-l'oeil. Apparently static clouds of harmonically dense material turn out to be not so static as they appear. What's more, one has the distinct impression that the music is changing spatially over time. How is all of this possible? The key is in Niblock's use of time. In his music, the experience of time is as very slow and continuous. There are no disruptive, discontinuous musical events to disrupt the flow of time. Time is suspended. Niblock's music gives the impression of having always been and continuing to be. Yet, this is not the idea of Being as stasis. Each time one feels tha Niblock's music isn't changing, one realizes that it is never the same, an yet, always the same. Being and Becoming as one. Moving Immobility. This is a music that breathes slowly and deeply. It changes its spatial form slowly, as a person who is in deep meditation changes the form of his body ever so slowly as he peacefully expands and contracts the walls of his chest cavity with each new cycle of inspiration/expiration." -- Gerard Pape. "Phill Niblock is a sixty-something New York based minimalist composer and multi-media musician and director of Experimental Intermedia, a foundation born in the flames of 1968's barricade hopping. He has been a maverick presence on the fringes of the avant garde ever since. In the history books Niblock is the forgotten Minimalist. That's as maybe: no one ever said the history books were infallible anyway. His influence has had more impact on younger composers such as Susan Stenger, Lois V Vierk, David First, and Glenn Branca. He's even worked with Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Lee Renaldo on Guitar two, for four which is actually for five guitarists. This is Minimalism in the classic sense of the word, if that makes sense. Niblock constructs big 24-track digitally-processed monolithic microtonal drones. The result is sound without melody or rhythm. Movement is slow, geologically slow. Changes are almost imperceptible, and his music has a tendency of creeping up on you."
PHILL NIBLOCK Touch Three (TO 069CD) 3-CD Set
This is Phill Niblock's third release on the Touch label. Phill Niblock is a New York-based minimalist composer and multi-media musician and director of Experimental Intermedia, a foundation born in the flames of 1968's barricade hopping. He has been a maverick presence on the fringes of the avant garde ever since. In the history books Niblock is the forgotten Minimalist. His influence has had more impact on younger composers such as Susan Stenger, Lois V. Vierk, David First, and Glenn Branca. Touch Three is minimalism in the classic sense of the word, if that makes sense. Niblock constructs big 24-track digitally-processed monolithic microtonal drones, and the result is sound without melody or rhythm. Movement is slow, geologically slow. Changes are almost imperceptible, and his music has a tendency of creeping up on you. The vocal pieces are like some of Ligeti's choral works, but a little more phased. He says: "What I am doing with my music is to produce something without rhythm or melody, by using many microtones that cause movements very, very slowly." These nine pieces were made from March 2003 to January 2005. They were all made (except "Sax Mix") by recording a single instrument with a single microphone. The recordings were direct to the computer/hard disk, most of them using a Powerbook G4, Pro Tools, an M-box and an external firewire drive. The resulting mono sound files were edited to remove breathing spaces, leaving the natural decay of the tone, and the attack of the subsequent iteration of the same tone. Each note was represented by several repetitions, perhaps ten for each tone, of about 15 seconds duration each. Each piece uses a few tones. A simple chord, perhaps. Additional microtonal intervals were produced in Pro Tools using pitch shift. The pieces were assembled in multitracks, usually either 24 or 32 tracks. The recording environment varied from a simple apartment in Berlin (Ulrich Krieger's) to a very large hall used for symphony orchestra performances and recordings, with a sizable audience space. The recordings were generally done quite closely miked. One hears only the sound of the instrument. There is no electronic manipulation in the recording, the editing of the tones, or in the mix. The only changes to the recorded tones are the pitch shifts to create microtones...the microtones are doing the work.
PHILL NIBLOCK Touch Works, For Hurdy Gurdy And Voice (TO 049CD)
Featuring the following works: 1. "Hurdy Hurry" (15:20, October 1999; Jim O'Rourke, hurdy gurdy [samples]). 2. "A Y U", aka "as yet untitled" (21:30, October 1999; Thomas Buckner, baritone voice [samples]). 3. "A Y U, Live", (21:30, October 1999/2000; Thomas Buckner, baritone voice [samples and live]). "Phill is a sixty-something New York-based minimalist composer and multi-media musician and director of Experimental Intermedia, a foundation born in the flames of 1968's barricade-hopping. He says: 'What I am doing with my music is to produce something without rhythm or melody, by using many microtones that cause movements very, very slowly.' The stills in the booklet are from slides taken in China, while Niblock was making films which are painstaking studies of manual labour, giving a poetic dignity to sheer gruelling slog of fishermen at work, rice-planters, log-splitters, water-hole dredgers and other back-breaking toilers. Niblock writes: 'In October 1999, I made a concert at Merkin Hall in New York, as part of the series Interpretations, produced by Thomas Buckner and the World Music Institute. The concert was shared with Ulrich Krieger, a composer and saxophonist living in Berlin. Normally, concerts in this series have two parts. Since Ulrich and I are collaborators for some years, we decided to interleave our works, and also to make a long concert. It was about three hours, nearly twice as long as is usual in this recital hall. I was preparing two new works for this concert. You guessed it, the pieces on this CD. The works are for hurdy gurdy, a stringed instrument played by cranking a resined wheel, and voice. I had met Jim O'Rourke some time before, and had asked him if I could make a piece using samples of his playing the hurdy gurdy. I recorded the samples in the studios of Robert Poss sometime in the winter of 1999. Tom Buckner and I had talked for some years about a possible piece. I asked him if we could do it for this concert. Later, he explained that he commissions works, so that was a pleasant surprise. When we were recording in Poss' studio, Tom was interested in doing some throat singing. I expected to work on these pieces during the summer of '99. I didn't, of course. I didn't start until two weeks before the concert date. I finished the voice piece on October 11, made the hurdy gurdy piece on the 12th and 13th. The concert was the 14th. On the hurdy gurdy piece, we hear only the samples recorded by O'Rourke. In the first version of A Y U, we hear only the original recorded samples of Tom Buckner singing. On the second piece, Tom recorded again in the studio, singing a line along (listening with headphones) with the first version of A Y U, and four channels of pitch shift were added to his live voice. He did this three times, for the entire length of the piece. Thus version one has twenty four voices, multitracked from samples. Version two has an added 15 tracks of the live voice. In each piece, I constructed some pitch shifted samples, and some of them were one and two octaves down. These were used along with the original samples as source material. There is not any other modification of the samples during the recording and mixing process.' [A review by Kyle Gann, published in the Village Voice]"
BJ NILSEN Fade to White (TO 065CD)
"Fade To White contains material from the making of three pieces which were created within a different season and then edited, re-arranged and re-mixed in the summer of 2004. 6 pieces contain outdoor field recordings from travels in mainly central europe in 2003 [Gdansk/Poland, Narva/Estonia, Sarajevo/Serbia Herzegovina, Arad/Romania, Trieste/Italy], and static indoor recordings from 2004 Stockholm/Sweden, Brussels/Belgium, Amsterdam/Netherlands, Vienna/Austria, Geneva/Switzerland. I used acoustic and electrical instruments recorded in open spaces picking up the natural ambience, blending those with environmental sounds of nature and then arranged it in the computer, creating dynamic layers of sound that feed from one another." This is BJNilsen's 3rd album for Touch, after Land [Touch # Tone 17 - as Hazard] and Live at the Konzerthaus, Vienna [Touch # TO:CDR5]. He also recorded 3 Hazard albums for Ash International."
BJ NILSEN Live at Konzerthaus, Wien 06_12_03 (TO CDR5)
"Christian Fennesz has started curating a series of events at the Konzerthaus in Vienna as part of the 'generator' series of live performances held there each month. In early December he performed with Philip Jeck and BJNilsen (aka Hazard) as part of the Touch night, during which Jon Wozencroft also showed his films. All the concerts were recorded, and BJNilsen's becomes the 5th in the TO:CDR series." CD (wallet)—factory manufactured.
KK NULL Fertile (TO 74)
(Bar code: 5 027803 147423)
KK NULL/CHRIS WATSON/Z'EV Number One (TONE 024CD)
American performance/noise/percussion artist Z'ev, Japanese composer/performer K.K. Null, and field-recording artist Chris Watson (formerly of Cabaret Voltaire and the Hafler Trio) conjoin in a first collaboration for Touch. The idea for this recording, generated by Z'ev, has three elements: 1) to use the structure of the Noh Theatre cycle as the basis for the composition; 2) to consider the initial sound development in terms of developing "characters" which would then interact with one another through the specific "scene;" and 3) to place the "character interactions" as the "figure" inside of particular soundscapes as the "ground." In the production process, Z'ev framed his and K.K. Null's electro-acoustic musics inside Chris Watson's field recordings from East Africa. A dynamic dialogue and inside-outside mirroring of natural and synthetic sound is the result: where the click and rhythm of an insect merges with K.K. Null's drumming; where the calls of the elephants combine with the electronic bass frequencies; where bird and frog song and Z'ev's harmonic structures produce surprising counterpoints. This is carefully-constructed, pure avant-garde.
EVAN PARKER/LAWRENCE CASSERLEY Solar Wind (TO 035CD)
Evan Parker (soprano saxophone) and Lawrence Casserley (signal processing instrument), recorded in Amsterdam, 1/97. "Evan Parker is a highly respected improviser; Lawrence Casserley has a unique expertise in live computer processing for improvised music. Together they create a remarkable duo. Casserley, composer, conductor, percussionist and computer musician, has dedicated his professional career to live electroacoustic performance. Recently, Casserley has developed a signal processing instrument specifically for improvised music. Parker has been closely involved and the combination of their talents intensifies and enriches both of their work. The complex interaction made possible by Casserley's instrument leads to a rich and subtle fusion of their musical personalities."
ROSY PARLANE Iris (TO 058CD)
"Rosy Parlane lives in New Zealand; he began playing music with the avant-garde rock trio Thela. Thela released two CDs, Eponymous and Argentina on the label Ecstatic Peace! He subsequently began working with abstract electronic based music, both as a solo artist and as Parmentier with fellow Thela collaborator, Dion Workman. His full and intricate soundscapes are comprised of sample-loops, pianos, guitars, and field recordings manipulated via digital means. Parlane has released two solo albums on Sigma Editions, and a collaboration with Christian Fennesz on the Australian label, Synaesthesia [Live, SYN001]. Iris is the result of a concentrated period of activity and artistic development that will introduce Rosy Parlane to an audience hungry for innovative music. He both challenges and invigorates the current bias towards immersive sound, without ever losing sight of the human touch."
REHBERG/BAUER Passt (TO 045CD)
"Five years ago, Faßt declared itself to be entirely made up of the 'mistakes' and system errors of the digital processes Rehberg and Bauer had used in its making, thus finding themselves at the front end of an emerging tendency in new music that came to be known as 'glitch'... frustratingly to those actively involved, because it freeze-framed the more critical dimension of such works into a genre that quickly became a gliché. Following Faßt and ballt, and originated live on their tour of Australia last year, Passt completes Rehberg & Bauer's trilogy for Touch; as such, it provides a window through which to monitor the progress (and atrophy) of this phase of development, now that the laptop seems as commonplace as the electric guitar. In 2001, surface abstraction is easily output. Passt therefore is an attempt to relocate this mode of music-making into something once again more progressive. Peter Rehberg (aka Pita) & Ramon Bauer (aka General Magic) run Mego in Vienna, Austria."
S.E.T.I. Night Shift: Live In Brussels (TO CDR2) CDR
S.E.T.I., Andrew Lagowski, is better known as an Ash artist, for whom he has released Knowledge, Above Black and Pod. This release was recorded at TWe-Gc. Ten Weyngaert in Belgium, 2/29/00. Unlike later volumes in this series which are typically manufactured CDs, this really is a CDR.
RAFAEL TORAL Engine 03_04_02 (TO CDR4)
Fourth release in this limited series on Touch (as with the previous Fennesz CD, this is not actually a CDR, but a regularly pressed CD). Recorded live at Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. "'Engine' is a piece for two guitars, one bass, twin modulated feedback circuits, motorised strings, analogue modular system, routing audio mixer and several other devices. It's performed simultaneously on two channels."
RAFAEL TORAL Violence of Discovery and Calm of Acceptance (TO 048CD)
"Considered by the Chicago Reader to be 'one of the most gifted and innovative guitarists of the decade', Rafael Toral has been developing in the last 15 years a unique sound world, having been as influenced by Alvin Lucier and Brian Eno as by Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. Using the guitar as part of a complex electronic instrument, Toral has collaborated with Jim O'Rourke, John Zorn, Sonic Youth, Rhys Chatham and Phill Niblock and played in many European countries and in several states in the US. He's also a member of MIMEO, the electronic orchestra featuring Keith Rowe, Christian Fennesz, Peter Rehberg, Kaffe Matthews and many others. VDCA is a collection of ten small pieces crafted by Toral with extreme precision and care through the last seven years. Using guitars and analogue technology, it can be described as Toral's best work, embodying all the directions he explored in his previous critically acclaimed records, Sound Mind Sound Body [Moikai, USA], Wave Field [Dexter's Cigar/Drag City, USA] and Aeriola Frequency [Perdition Plastics, USA] but taking them into new dimensions."
MIKA VAINIO In The Land Of The Blind The One-Eyed Is King (TO 054CD)
"This is Mika Vainio's 3rd solo CD for Touch, after Kajo and Onko. Best known as one-half of Pan Sonic (Blast First), Mika is from Finland and now lives in Berlin. Generally speaking, contemporary musicians produce too much stuff. It is easy to do. But if you feel like sighing, 'Oh, it's another Mika Vainio CD', then Mr Vainio himself has anticipated such sentiments with the opening track, a 2 minute blast which sounds like an angry animal breaking free of its cage. What follows is probably Vainio's most accomplished work to date, a series of rich soundscapes whose beauty is always on the edge of darkness. Not wanting to bang a drum, anyone who has been invigorated by the work of Mika and Ilpo in Pan Sonic will be keen to hear these more pastoral takes on their more propulsive sound -- in places, being reminiscent of Artemyev's recordings for Tarkovsky films, in others, suggesting sound recordings of frogs and insect life. All framed by the distinct touch of Mika Vainio, who confirms his long?standing reputation as one of the most acute musicians of our times."
MIKA VAINIO Onko (TO 034CD)
A collection of sound installation pieces by Finland's Mika Vainio, best known for his classic Sähkö recordings and Panasonic membership. The focus here is on pure sound output, variant streams of electronics, amplified hum, abstract hoverings and repetitious clickery. No beats, pure waves, fully essential sounding experimental music aimed for repeat dosage and maximum pleasure. Beautifully packaged too. "It marks a departure from his previous work, more tranquil, symphonic even, but no less intense in its exploration of the post-digital landscape and its quest to reveal the grain of the one/zero lifeform. Imagine the sounds that cellular patterns might make as they face the scrutiny of a high-powered microscope. Or the soundtrack to a road movie, filmed in the Arctic Circle in high summer. 'Onko' means 'Is It.'"
VARIOUS [see below] Light (TONE 013CD)
"Four new tracks from the three audio artists—Hazard, Fennesz, Biosphere. All are exclusive tracks recorded specifically for this CD. Taking the everyday world as source material and inspiration, the three international collaborations between electronic sound artists and visual artists present a vivid introduction to the work of Touch, the ground-breaking audio-visual label, in its twentieth year. Hazard's compositions evoke extreme climactic conditions and the perception of time and space as experienced through sound. Filmic in scope, his environmental sounds take the listener to another place, sending images cascading through the mind and captivating in an almost hypnotic way. Fennesz uses guitar and computer to create shimmering, swirling electronic sounds of enormous range and complex musicality. Biosphere's music is an intimate reflection of the space and climate of his Arctic base in Tromso."
VARIOUS [see below] Spire - Organ Works Past Present & Future (TONE 020CD) 2-CD Set
"The thought of producing a compilation where the tracks were all either inspired by or more directly influenced by the organ had been frequently aired over the years. The conversations were always animated and expansive. The organ works of Arvo Pärt, those performed by Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, a pupil of Richard Rodney Bennett at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and others, have reached a wider non-classical audience. Eventually Benny Nilsen arranged to visit St. Mary's Church, Warwick and work with one of England's finest, Charles Matthews. Crawling around inside the instrument, positioning microphones most appropriately in the Church, or 'capturing' the psalms composed by Marcus Davidson, Nilsen explored the possibilities with all the familiar lust of the avant-garde. As the brief widened, so did the responses... some contributors referred to earlier versions of the organ and its often highly political usage, others explored aged instruments themselves. Some studied the effects of the sounds produced on the physique and the psyche, others conceptualized the brief and either built their own or recorded natural or man-made phenomena which utilized the same basic process, wind through pipes. The organ represents the marriage between acoustic complexity and ritualized space. It is impossible not to be drawn upward, towards the spire of the church or cathedral, or to the huge and daunting forest of pipes themselves. The organ dwarfs all comers, and unlike other instruments, it is this non-musical element which makes the organ stand apart."
VARIOUS [see below] Spire: Live in Geneva Cathedral/Saint Pierre (TONE 021CD) 2-CD Set
Double CD of exclusive tracks, especially notable for long live tracks by Fennesz (25 minutes) and Philip Jeck (45 minutes). Experimental live Cathedral organ works, documented to the highest level, including superb renditions of Jolivet, Gorécki, Alexandra and Davidson.
"St. Pierre Cathedral, Geneva, was the crucible of the Reformation in 1534....The second release in the 'Spire' series [previous volume was: Spire - Organ Works Past Present & Future, from 2003] is more than a document of 'Spire Live', which took place as part of La Batie 2004, at St. Pierre Cathedral, Geneva, on 5th September 2004. Curated by Eric Linder, from La Batie, and Mike Harding, the dynamism of the event, where the audience rotated between 3 separate venues within the cathedral precinct, is reflected in the individual recordings: Philip Jeck goes heavy metal in the crypt: BJNilsen comes over all moody in the side chapel, and Fennesz soothes and seduces in the same place.
All this is set up by Charles Matthews and Marcus Davidson on the main organ [4 manifolds, computer operated] which dominates the time and place. Davidson play Gorecki's extraordinary Kantata for organ, [full stops on max employed here] which segues into BJNilsen's ultra-heavy live organ and electronics next door. This follows Charles Matthew's excellent renditions of pieces by Jolivet and Alexandra which, as the text by Thierry Charollais says: 'The event seemed provoking and iconoclastic in contrast to severe and austere atmosphere of the cathedral. Though some of the musical pieces, thus modifying our perception of the cathedral and making the event truly exceptional.'
And to finish, Fennesz soothed us with sound. His set evoked the rolling centuries in all their pain and beauty, leaving us at once be calmed and energised, but never oppressed under the weight of time."
VARIOUS [see below] Star Switch On (TONE 018CD)
"The artists were commissioned to use the wildlife recordings of Chris Watson published on Stepping Into the Dark (TO:27) and Outside the Circle of Fire (TO:37) as source material. Two original unreleased tracks by Chris Watson, and contributions by Biosphere, Fennesz, Hazard, Mika Vanio, Philip Jeck and Jon Wozencroft recording as AER."
VARIOUS [see below] Touch Ringtones (TONE 014CD)
"99 tracks - 177 ringtones. The process of transferring made-to-measure Ringtones to your mobile phone is, at present, a fixed casino... Chart hits, 'celebrity' voices, action heroes, lame keyboard melodies... so the likelihood of hearing one of these on the 07.34 from Carshalton is, at present, remote, although the J range of Sony mobiles promise better things. However each of these has been composed with exactly this eventuality in mind. All the compositions included here are in one way or another intended to be experienced as isolated, personal interventions: low-res loops, creature calls, in low-res environments, with the branding of surprise. In whichever form you find them here, do sample and employ these humble suggestions... We assume you already agree that the cheap 'cheep cheep' tones of Nokia, Ericsson and the others leave a lot to be desired. But there is huge commercial possibility here, not least with the fact that these selections have not been motivated by database usage... this is far cooler, and the contributors have responded accordingly... With New Order, Fennesz, Ryoji Ikeda, Gilbert & George, Mika Vainio, Mark Van Hoen, PITA, Hazard, Oren Ambarchi, Graham Lewis, Bruce Gilbert, AER, Zbigniew Karkowski, Hecker, Ake Hodell, Main, Chris Watson, Regina Lund, Elgaland-Vargaland, Francisco Lopez, Disinformation, Bigert & Bergstrom, People Like Us and many many others, this release shows what is possible and how far behind the phone companies actually are.... despite their desperation to uncover new ways of selling the next generation of phones to an already saturated market."
CHRIS WATSON Outside the Circle of Fire (TO 037CD)
"Chris Watson's second CD is a dramatic contrast to the spacious atmospheres of Stepping into the Dark (Touch 27). Featuring 22 close-up recordings of animals, birds and insect life, Outside the Circle of Fire enlarges our awareness of the sound universe, intimate with voices from the past. There is an intensity here that television pictures cannot conjure. These are the sounds of secret languages, particular events that have been recorded as close up as possible to try and reveal something of their individual beauty, rhythm, eloquence and sheer power. Several of the sounds would be inaudible or radically degraded more than a few metres from the animal. Yet others collectively use the acoustics of their habitat to modulate the message. They exist, however, whether we hear them or not—close up details of signals that are beyond our reach outside the circle of fire."
CHRIS WATSON Stepping Into the Dark (TO 027CD)
1996 release, repressed! "Watson's lead instrument is the tape recorder. After working with Cabaret Voltaire and The Hafler Trio, he became sound recordist for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. He has since joined a film and video production company, working for BBC wildlife documentaries and occasional feature films. The 12 recordings on Stepping into the Dark contrast a windswept forest in Glen Cannich with the gathering conversations of rooks roosting in a churchyard in Northumberland. Other atmospheres include the heat and wall of sound found on the River Mara in Kenya, fishing bats on a mangrove pool in Venezuela, the ritual dance of snipe at dusk in the Northern Hebrides... a hydrophone at 5m. depth in the Moray Firth captures the signature whistles and clicks of bottlenose dolphins."
CHRIS WATSON Weather Report (TO 047CD)
"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 is 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."
Z'EV Headphone Musics, 1 To 6 (TO 063CD)
"In 1967 Z'EV took a tape music class at the UCLA night school. The leader of the course was Joseph Byrd who was the founder and theoretician of the first electronic rock band; The United States of America. So while it's almost 40 years now that he has been involved in the production of electro-acoustic music, Headphone Musics marks the first release of a product exclusively featuring this form of music. All of the source material is drawn from the collection of cassette tapes Z'EV has amassed over the last 30 years -- sounds and soundscapes he has either recorded himself or witnessed, or tapes that have been given to him by various peoples on his travels or been received by him through the mail from fans etc. Technically he remains a bit orthodox in that basically he still plies the old tools of the tape manipulation trade in the current digital sphere. What this means is that he concentrates on editing, phase relationships, time dilation, and inherent and 3rd harmonic distortion as his only means of processing the information he is transforming. There is no looping involved, although #2 features a recording he made in 1984 using his controlled-skipping Lenco turntable. 'As Is As' is a live recording of a sound poem Z'EV produced and performed under the name 'S. Weisser' at a Sound Poetry Festival in 1976 at the La Mamelle art space in San Francisco. It was produced using 2 reel to reel tape decks, 3 cassette decks, and 2 microphones."