- The avant-garde
record label Touch has put out a sampler surprisingly titled Touch Sampler.
The sounds on this CD are experimental and daring, but unlike so much music
in the experimental genre, they don't tend to exhaust an idea by pushing it
to the point where the listener is filled with an uncontrollable and irrational
compulsion to bludgeon innocent passerbys with heavy glass ash trays, which
is quite a plus.Listening to this CD is a little like thumbing through an
exotic textile catalogue where each page seduces your fingertips into feeling
the samples. Touch Sampler is an aural textile experience that contains pure
sonic textuality as does Ryoji Ikeda's 'Matrix', an exquisite four-minute
exploration of pure tonality and the effects of pitch. So compelling is the
piece that it seems to induce a form of sonic vertigo in me with each listen.
Sampler also does nice work with found sounds such as the crackly static anxiety-ridden
'Mach.853', which contains found sounds from Moscow Air Traffic control over
Turukhansk, Siberia, October 1990. The same effect can be heard on AER's 'As
You Wander Round', which uses a snippet from a walking self-tour audiotape
in Salisbury Cathedral. That being said, there are dramatic soundtrack-y-moments
that are more musical, such as Scala's 'Breaking Point', which sounds like
a remix of Keijo Heino's 'Clubbed to Death'. Also of interest is Richard H.
Kirk's 'Entering Valhalla', which is dark and enticing.
not for the faint of heart, this CD could provide much honey for your otherwise
deprived imagination. (Doug McDonald)
tones from sound artist Ryoji Ikeda, field recordings and soundtracked paranoia
from ex-Cabaret Voltaire bods Chris Watson and Richard H Kirk respectively,
taut steel wires of techno minimalism from Thomas Brinkmann. While many experimental
/ noise labels are like sprouts - hard to digest and best served only once
a year (if that), Touch is like asparagus - a refined taste well worth acquiring.
- The South
step into the lab and get experimental.
there will be no taking it to the bridge.
by step, let us begin at the beginning, with Ryoji Ikeda's 'Matrix (for an
anechoic room)'. Ah, I see. Made for a room with no echoes. The hoverings/hums
vibrate quite well on their own. Step two. Daniel Menche's 'Down'. Write this
down: it is sparks, crackles & crunch. Do I smell a fire, or just an old
- Get out
the tape recorder. Real life makes the best samples. Chris watson takes it
to Morocco and Ethiopia to record chants of 'Friday the 13th', 'A Celebration',
and 'A Blessing'. And AER records voices and clacking heels in Salisbury Cathedral
in England, and the drips of a Frenchman's bath in 'As You Wander Round' and
'Bread Upon the Water'. Yes, and the news, the news. Richard H. Kirk makes
'Entering Valhalla without a laptop (but with an umbrella, a sewing machine
and an operating table - dig it)' with what souns to be a news report and
a keyboard. Eerie. But interesting.
the atmosphere will be heady. An airplane roars in your space on Hazard's
'Flood Gate'. Feel the pressure in the cabin pushing in on your brain. Track
15: 'Mach .853 [Moscow air traffic control over Turukhansk, Siberia, October
1990'. More crackles and static accompanied by musical notes turn into a distorted
echo of a voice and millions of singing evening frogs, and then back to the
familiar distortions in Philip Jeck's 'As My Shadow Passes...'. Strange. Yet
are the beakers, for making potions with many perfectly measured ingredients.
Milky are Thomas Brinkmann's repetitive beats and pops in 'Olga A 1'. I want
to say "deliciously spacey" to Locust and 'Wrong'. Take three parts beeps
and jangles to two parts wailing cat/screeching baby, add melody and mix for
the japanese pop-like People Like Us/The Jet Black Hair People/Wobbly track.
Scala will swell and swoop the strings, add a drum beat and then freak it
all out with crazy guitar and pounding piano for 'Breaking Point'. Biosphere's
'Sun-Baked' is all sweetness and light.
- The study
of natural phenomena, such as the weather, can bring forth a study in sound.
Where is the thermometer? Tobias Frere-Jones has made the following examination
in 'F-Hz (#190736, 1996)'"The high and low temperature for each day in 1996,
as recorded at Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory in Milton, Massachusetts,
is converted to audible form. For each of the seven hundred and thirty-two
readings, the unit of measure is switched, Fahrenheit to Hertz. With one-tenth
of a second for each reading, F-Hz (#190736, 1996) recounts an entire year
of climate in a sequence of sine waves. Aside from the one-tenth second interval,
every aspect of the composition is 'found', written by the natural world".
- The definition
of a circle. Mika Vainio's 'Ilmaantuva [Airing/Appearance]' brings
us back to where we began, explosion of static turns to a humming hover.
lesson learned. "The world is bigger than you." It's certainly bigger than
compilations often fail to live up as the sum of their parts, but for Touch,
the compilation is more like a carefully curated exhibition, a dialog within
the catalog. Touch - the audiovisual label curated by designer Jon Wozencroft
and Mike Harding - has, over the past two decades, quietly built a reputation
as one of experimental music's strongest venues, a home as much as an enterprise,
and its fourth compilation draws the label's identity as a set of Venn diagrams,
overlapping, swapping space, resisting unification and separation alike. Mere
description won't suffice but to suggest the range conveyed here: the pristine
undulations of Ryoji Ikeda, the uncannily lucid field recordings by Chris
Watson, the radiant and enveloping pop of Locust, like Kate Bush blown ecstatic
and offworld. At the edge of it all, the single, rotating column of light
that Philip Jeck extracts from vinyl in its final, dead spin. Repeat after
me: this is not ambient music. And it simply has to be heard. [Philip
samplers are often very hit and miss, the odd gem amongst several inconsequential
tracks, not so with Touch. Touch is a label that has been in existence for
two decades and has been gradually but quietly building a reputation for consistently
high quality experimental electronic music. This sampler is evidence of that
and covers a range of artists, all with their own respective styles and interpretations,
collectively forming a cohesive consistency. This CD is a journey through
sound and features almost 80 minutes
- of exclusive
tracks never released on CD.
Ikeda opens proceedings with an experiment in tonality and pitch, created
for a sound as art exhibition in Tokyo. Daniel Menche expands on this idea
by combining a low mechanical rumble with ghostly vocal samples in a quite
unnerving way. Thomas Brinkmanns Olga A1 sees its first release on CD with
Brinkmann taking gentle mechanical rhythms and metronome like ticks and slowly
building on them, creating an excellently soothing track. Then comes Locusts
track, which is a kind of dubbier more digital interpretation of Brinkmann's
track (yet totally unrelated to it), but with added female vocals that sound
like a deranged Kate Bush. This leads into Scalas track, which is almost like
three tracks in one. Starting out with a medieval and then classical feel,
mutating into rapid junglistic beats combined with manic piano and electric
guitar madness. This then gives way to the main section of the track with
fast low-key beats and electric guitar drones combined with cool My Bloody
Valentine/Sonic Youth style female vocals. Philip Jeck then experiments with
various forms of distortion, echoing vocal effects and assorted cut-ups to
form a nine and half minute stream of dream-like strangeness. People Like
Us (and friends) take to looping a skipping CD and manipulating radio shows
samples almost beyond recognition.
- At this
point, the mood subtly shifts to one of atmospheric beauty. Hazard combines
a number of mechanically based samples; a deep rumbling drone is joined by
a running motor, a small propeller-driven aeroplane and a pounding industrial
machine. As usual with Hazard, these sounds are combined and layered in such
a way as to make them captivating. Then to Richard H Kirks Entering Valhalla,
a track that takes gentle strings, a heartbeat and a repeated TV news sample
and combines them with radiating keyboard sounds to great effect. A steady
atmospheric track with peculiar similarities to Jean-Michel Jarre. Biosphere
follows with a track based around the layering of various string samples to
form a completely new piece of music with occasional static hiss for emphasis.
Like Hazard, Biosphere never ceases to create atmosphere, this time gentle
and soothing. Next up is a concept piece by Tobias Frere-Jones that is created
from a whole years high/low temperature readings from a weather station in
Massachusetts and converted into sound, with each reading given just a tenth
of a second. The CD closes with Mika Vainio bringing the compilation full
circle by combining a low tone-switching drone with the occasional deep bass
piece of music is further enhanced by the inclusion of a number of short segues,
ranging from segments of conversation to static buzzes. Added to this are
longer field recordings by AER and Chris Watson, the most interesting of which
is Watsons curiously fascinating combination of a tourist guide tape from
and recording of visitors to Salisbury Cathedral in England.
- As a
representation of a labels output, a compilation such as this serves as a
testament to the consistent quality of output produced. A cohesive collection
of both artistic and truly experimental pieces that shouldnt be missed. Look
out for more samplers from Touch soon. Excellent stuff. [Paul Lloyd]
à lan 2000 pour le moins dépaysant à lécoute de
cette compilation inédite assemblée par le label Londonien Touch.
Fondé en 1982 il fut un modèle pour beaucoup, débuta
avec des compilations K7 ou lon croisait, entre autres, New Order... Continua
par des projets avec dex-Cabaret voltaire ou Wire, et surtout imposa en son
pays bon nombre de créateurs de génie, dont ceux empruntés
au label Autrichinen Mego : Fennesz, Farmers Manual, Rehberg & Bauer.
Touch a toujours privilégié les musiques qui vont de lavant,
et les sons digitaux mais sans jamais négliger les richesses traditionnelles,
éthniques ou contemporaines. Ce sampler, leur quatrième, offre
une musique dapproche difficile, riche et généreuse. Qui sadresse
plus aux sens et à lintellect quau corps. Des sons qui exigent une
constante attention. Ryoji Ikeda, Japonais de Tokyo qui a trois albums chez
Touch, joue ici de la fréquence... Le prolifique Allemand Thomas Brinkmann
impose son rythme minimaliste millésimé : excellent... Mika
Vainio (Pan*Sonic) fait un peu office de second rôle et je lui préfére
largement les fugues solo de son compère Ilpo Väisänen...
Les anciens de Cabaret Voltaire : Chris Watson -ici pour trois morceaux- ou
Richard H. Kirk sont bel et bien toujours à la pointe... Scala revient
à ses premiers amours avec un killer percutant et attachant qui nous
remémore que son meilleur disque est sorti chez Touch, avant quil ne
rejoigne la trop polie écurie Too Pure... Locust place ses ambiences
étherées et jai du mal avec le timbre de voix... Les titres
senchainent bien et démontrent lunité du label, les autres membres
de la famille ont pour nom Aer, Thomas, Philip Jeck, People Like Us, Hazard...
21 titres inédits et exclusifs qui raffermissent lillustre réputation
dun incontournable de la musique cérébrale. [philippe petit]
Touch [and Leaf] have long been two of the top UK labels worth checking out
with cutting-edge stances that have forfeited more hits than misses. 00 highlights
Touch's radical leftfield leanings with a 21 track platter of tasty sound
sculptures. The colorless buzztone science of artists like Hazard, Mika Vainio,
Daniel Menche and Ryoji Ikeda fill one end of the spectrum with storms of
studied disquiet and satisfying slices of sonic nihilism, while Thomas Brinkmann
and Tobias Frere-Jones pick up the baton and add some rhythmic devices built
on throbbing patterns and clickity-tapping mayhem, respectively. The concrete
collage work of AER and the contextual field recordings of Chris Watson squeeze
listening pleasure from captured moments, while downplaying the circuit-based
archery of their 00 counterparts. Meanwhile the lush and inviting melodica
of artists Locust, Scala and Biosphere pepper the release with relatively
accessible respite, just about rounding out the spectrum. Except...I can't
forget to mention a collaboration among People Like Us, The Jet Black People
[sic] and Wobbly, whose track boxes up a Takemura-style, skippy texture, adding
meowing samples and arriving at a weird interpretation of DJ aesthetic [sic].
This track, while a deconstruction of - I think - hiphop, is the closest this
compilation gets to acknowledging any music genre, at least overtly. And even
here, that reference is oblique. Overall, a good, challenging collection of
some of the brightest sound painters. [Maveriq]
Right after being welcomed by two unnamed recordings, coded as tracks 1 and
2; partially naked, partially droney minimalistic ambience of Panasonic opens
the real show of Touch Sampler 3. The marvelous natural-ambience of Chris
Watson is also here with two pieces ( on tracks 5 and 25 ), from his new CD
"Outside The Circle Of Fire" .In both, sounds are flowing so vigorous and
nearly-breathing that by multiple listenings you can feel yourself like a
real piece of the puzzle, or an unidentified protagonist of these rituals
of environment, more than just a silent witness. AER is presented with 3 recordings
in one track. Actually, the third is the most interesting of them, an atmosphere
recording of a reading room in the British Library. You can either forget
the description and hear how even locked mouths can humanize the air, or activate
your dada and listen to he crescendo of dozens of voices, each reading a different
line from a different story, loudly...Biosphere's "Knives in Hens" is made
of heartbeats veiled in randomly drifting noises, while a string harmony is
slowly appearing on the soundstage of the song. After the ethereal show of
Philip Jeck's feedback-washed semi-metallic sonorities, a series of African
Music demonstrations from African Music Village take the turn. These 8 tracks
are only solo pieces played with such instruments like the guitar sounding
Iseze, the odd Marimba and drums... Rehberg & Bauer's magnetic picture of
looped frequencies, thin signals and waterphoney background follows Disinformation's
long audio-torture. The buzzing sound miniatures of Farmer's Manual gets more
consecutive in every passing second of dspKILL while they become more straching
and disturbing at the same time...The funny human voice collage of Bruce Gilbert,
already reserved place of Chris Watson's second song and a wonderful final
of Scala's Fusion/Wave Dynamics "Fuser", icy words into inebriating mantras,
mechanical beats married to soft harmonies... [O.S.]
label and it's amazing catalogue requires (?) no introduction to those who
regularly scan this screensheet. So now that I've got that over with I'll
just carry on with my imaginary review again. This is the third in a series
of compilations which do not always contain material which has been (or
has yet to be) included on other releases. This makes them items in themselves
and this particular one struck me as being the strangest yet. Recordings
of Temple Gamelans and demonstrations of African instruments are sandwiched
between short audio photographs and longer pieces by some of the regular composers
whose work appears on Touch and it's various related labels.The latter are,
for me, the most interesting, 'cos I'm not too keen on
Gamelans, me. (Maybe it has something to do with Paul Schutze slowing them
down all the time ?) There are two pieces from 'the legendary' Chris Watson,
who achieved some success with his previous full-length CD 'Stepping Into
The Dark', a collection of field recordings from around the planet.
This time he considerably closed the distance between himself and his unwitting
subjects capturing hyperreal, very, very close recordings of selected
natural environments and most especially the creatures that inhabit them.
I did review 'Stepping Into The Dark' when it came out and was
perhaps a little too dismissive and cynical about it. Despite this, however,
I use it continually on radio and at gigs, especially the beastly track
with the rooks. Then there's the spooky piece 'Knives In Hens' by the very
Biosperical Geir Jenssen, as we don't normally hear him. Was this recorded
from transducers implanted into an extraterrestrial, I wonder ? Rehberg &
Bauer (the Twins of Digihurt), Farmers Manual, Bruce Gilbert and Philip
Jeck all provide sound structures which many used to think harsh, but which
now, thanks to the efforts of labels like Touch, Mego and Sahko,
become almost easy listening. Disinformation aka Joe Banks has created a simulation
of a live gallery event which proved to difficult to record on location...
there's a new sound object coming out very soon (on vinyl, I fink) on the
late label ASH. This inclusion really rocks ! And the whole thing ends with
a piece by Scala (a group which includes Darren Seymour - Seefeel, and Mark
Van Hoen - Locust, both who I think can - and do - make far better music elsewhere),
a band I simply cannot get to grips with. Release date of this compilation
is 23 February. Get it. Got it ?" (MP)
CD will be]...cursed with the description of being "fascinating". Some
of the awkward squad don't want fascinating food, they want delicious food
- even if it makes them fat and turns them into an Ocean Colour Scene fan.
This album passes the test of "needing-the-repeat-button" because of the final
track - it's called Fuser, it's by Scala, it starts with the familiar drum
machines doing the things that immediately tell you this track is going to
be delicious, the familiar gentle keyboards, the x-gasmic little tweety riffy
things, a woman casually saying that she doesn't have an original thought
in her head. Nice, isn't it. Relax. Don't think there's a written exam before
we get into heaven. Kinives in Hens by Biosphere is one of the best things
I've ever heard from them - a train-going-thru-a-tunnel echoey rhythmic thing
that makes your ears feel brittle. There's some Gamelan stuff here. DspKill
by Farmers Manual is very Ovoid...um, that's me trying to to be clever and
saying that they sound like Oval. Panasonic are here too, Otaksuma, is more
minimal than ever and I hope this is the direction they continue to travel.
Elsewhere there are deposits by Philip Jeck, Disinformation, and Rehberg &
Bauer. Chris Watson records a nightjar on the Zambesi, and some jays in a
jungle. There's the Bagamoyo Group of Tanzania playing some fine/funny/joyful
tracks in Holland Park. There's a tv. There's AER's recording of the domed/doomed
reading room in the Old British Library (RIP).......and yes, oh lordy me yes
yes yes (and I wish it was "no"), there's dear old Bruce Gilbert, and you
know exactly what his track is gonna be like even before you know the title
- "Voices". Yep. This is an album that intrigues and tells us many things
- it tells us that Scala are stars, that Biosphere and Panasonic are getting
even better, and it tells us that it really is time Bruce Gilbert bought a
tweed jacket and took up Fell-walking."
- The Wire:
who also turns out to be designer Jon Wozencroft, also crops up on Touch
Sampler 3 (Touch TZERO3CD), with a piece that resurrects the lost
ambience of the British Library dome. He's in the company of professional
location recording recordist Chris Watson here, plus an engaging variety of
tape segments: Philip Jeck, a Tanzanian group featuring Hukwe Zawose, and
a Bali gamelan ensemble all captured during rehearsals; an unrecordable Disinformation
installation; a piece for theatre by Norway's Biosphere; and unquantifiable
sundries from Farmers Manual, Rehberg & Bauer and Panasonic."
- "As Bruce
himself would say (Bruce Lee, that is): "It's like a finger pointing at the
moon, don't look at the finger, or you'll miss all that heavenly glory". That's
why I avoid using genre terms as much as I possibly can, and with labels like
Touch that's a doubly good idea.
they compile an extraordinary range of sounds: from up to the minute electronic
experimentation via the superb Farmers Manual, Rehberg & Bauer,
and the icy Panasonic and Biosphere, to "on location" recordings from the
banks of the Zambezi, weird dialogue, the obligatory gamelan bashers, disorienting
overtones, and a recording of the Reading Room at the British Library as it
was - an unrepeatable gem for the archives. Chill out to those page-turning
a doubt this will be lost on a lot of people but hardcore ambient heads (ambient
as in musique concrete, not tie-dye acid blarps) will recognise the chilly
but quality choice, and the electronica is suitably alien. Anything can happen
in the next 30 seconds." [Jonny]
- " It's
a compilation of TOUCH, which is a Electro-accoustic, post-rock label in U.K.
Including 27 tracks. Among them Panasonic and Biosphere are well known and
we are glad when we can listen to such an artists' track in this compilation.
Moreover, almost all tracks are unreleased one so not only beginners but also
fan of such musicians cannot ignore this CD. From natural sound to machine
noise - from feedback to soft sounds - I'd like you to enjoy various sounds
in this CD to your heart content." [Hidetosi Tatsumi]
C. Lund, Last Sigh (net):
has released another CD in their series of "Samplers." This is the third,
and it contains 27 tracks that are best described as explorations or investigations
of sound. Sampler.3 includes very brief samples and snippets of voices and
atmospheres, field recordings, demonstrations of indiginous instruments, as
well as songs and compositions that generally fall at the more extreme end
of the experimental musical spectrum. The short moments of speech and incidental
recordings -- most of them untitled and no more than 10-20 seconds in length
-- that separate many of the pieces on the CD, are curious little aural sketches.
The sound of a creaking door with city noises audible in the distance; the
ambiance of a kitchen; the workings of machinery; the static whispers of a
television set; and, strange little bulletins from unidentified voices. At
first seemingly pointless, these scraps of sound jolt the listener's attention,
and nicely accentuate what seems to be the underlying theme of this compilation
as a whole -- the wonder and beauty of the aural world.
- The longer
field recordings by Chris Watson and AER find 'music' in such unlikely places
as a domed reading room in the British library, and amongst the songs and
chirps of exotic birds. The echoes of shuffling feet, pages turned and chairs
being restlessly moved, at first appear arbitrary, but by the end of AER's
"Brightness Contrast Volume" these commonplace, and apparently random sounds
and noises, assume the qualities of an orchestre, and the ambiance of the
British Library becomes a subtle and unpredictable symphony. Likewise with
Watson's recordings of birds. The serene voices of the birds that serve as
the focal points of each of his field recordings, become arias within the
greater operatic environments of cicadas, other birds' voices and general
sorrounding atmospheres that the recordings also contain. The series
of demonstations of Tanzanian indiginous instruments serve as a contrast to
the various field and incidental recordings. The warm, compelling sounds of
the various drums, marimbas and isezes naturally register as musical, however,
played solo in the context of this sampler, the pure aural qualities of the
instruments become apparent. Just as the combined sounds of given environments
carry musical qualities when listened to intensely, the individual elements
of musical arrangements, when listened to separately become recognizable as
nothing more or less than sound.
also features a number of more structured musical pieces. Bruce Gilbert (of
Wire fame) presents a short piece composed intirely of cut-up and rearranged
fragments of speech. Rehberg & Bauer deliver a similarly brief, and rather
noisy segment of manipulated electronic sound pulses. Farmers Manual is represented
with a piece entitled "dspKILL," which is likewise composed of extremely manipulated
and treated sounds and noises of unknown origin. Panasonic's "Otaksuma" also
utilizes brief fragments and snippets of static and noise to create rhythm
and melody; it is an amazingly rich piece composed of the most minimal means.
Biosphere's contribution is possibly the most enthralling piece on the CD,
featuring the hypnotic rhythm of a train travelling over railroad tracks as
the foundation for "Knives in Hens." The closing track by Scala (including
members of Seefeel and Locust) is by far the most conventional song on the
CD. It is a compelling little pop tune with strong harmonic flow, and endearing
female vocals. The song returns the listener to the more commonly known world
of music, after a program of sounds and music of an originality and imaginativeness
that I have rarely heard the equal of."
number three for the Touch gallery presents 27 new 'tracks' of everything
from various (listed and unlisted) field recordings to odd 'sounds' to historical
and scientific content channeled from Touch Radio to various instrumental
percussive samples (can you say marimba?) to band rehearsals to birds chirping
to exclusive full-length 'songs' by the likes of Biosphere, Farmers Manual,
Panasonic, Rehberg & Bauer and Scala. In essence, a motley array of sound
-- be it music or not. Even Geir Jenssen, the (one and only) mastermind behind
the cool, ambient waves of the Biosphere machine, provides one of his most
experimental pieces to date with a track called Knives in Hens -- a stuttery,
rough slurry of grey noise, rainy waves and deep-sea pulsation that eventually
give in (but not entirely) to the soothing sounds of beautiful strings. While
it may have found a home on Substrata (Geir's latest work of pure brilliance
and one of 97's finest ambient moments), Knives serves a perfect interlude
amongst the bizarre field recordings and other head-scratchingly twisted snippets
of sound. Exclusive tracks from the other artists listed seem to follow form
as the robotic bass throbbing of Panasonic (who now call themselves Pan Sonic
after 4+ years of using the popular electronic manufacturer's name and logo)
pumps and circulates to a destination unknown much like anything from Vakio
or Kulma. And, of course, that zany Austrian contingent (Rehberg & Bauer,
Farmers Manual) are up to their usual tricks of time-manipulated sampling
and regurgitated sound frequencies. Wrapping up one of the wildest collections
of the year 98 (thus far) is a lovely vocal track by Scala (entitled Fuser)
-- a spacey, string-laden, hypnotic tune with some truly incorrigible lyrics,
namely "It's nice to be objectified / You never know, you might like it."
Without question, a compilation that will change every time you listen to
it. " (Review by: Aaron)
Cunningham (Piano Records):
Touch Sampler - it really takes the biscuit! It's ridiculous!"
- The Sound
compilation of aural exotica-philes and sonic scientists associated with Mr.
Mike Harding's Touch Label, here's a stimulating combination of musical and
environmental recordings, all spliced together with strange and interesting
fragments in between. It's a library of exotic and unusual documents, a species
of aural voyeurism. Quite simply, these sounds are amazing; they could reawaken
even the most entropic braindead moron to the wonders and mysteries of the
world - so many things which we simply take for granted or overlook, capable
of producing such astonishing sound events. One of my personal favourites
is the environmental taping here of the British Library round reading room,
a document that comes with an added dimension of sadness since this particular
feature of British life, history and heritage is now a thing of the past.
So it is meet that someone had the foresight to add this to our collective
archive of memories. This is the end piece from a tripartite collage
- by Jon
Wozencroft, starting with the old man in his attic finding a 'convertor',
leading to the found poetry of a language school lesson from the airwaves.
- The unassuming
Chris Watson is here with three minutes of atmospheric recording from Zambesi,
filled with sunlight and recommended listening to start the day with; he later
resurfaces with 'Demonic Laughter' courtesy of a lively magpie jay. Chris
has travelled extensively on account of his career in cinema production; the
unadulterated recordings he fetches back from his adventures are, strictly
speaking, almost peripheral to his purpose, yet they amount to more than a
taped diary - their utter vividness makes the listener into a traveller too.
Likewise, the two central segments of ethnic music on this disc - one heavenly
episode of Temple Gamelan music (recorded in 1983), and six tracks of African
music from the Bagamoyo Group of Tanzania, recorded (at Holland Park in London)
in 1984. Given the currently hep status of this strain of 'World Music' just
now, you'd be foolish to pass up a listen to these irresistible rhythms, and
the deeply pleasing sound of the 9-string iseze here.
the African solace the CD goes wild - entering a noisy, dirty chaos zone as
embodied by the near-incoherence of Rehberg and Bauer, Farmers Manual and
Bruce Gilbert's horrifying 'Voice' cut-ups. Truly, these are manifestations
of electronic glossolalia from possessed spirits. These are spliced either
- of Joe
Banks performing Disinformation 'live' from an event at the Museum of of Installation,
a heavy bass drone in all probability generated by a National Grid.
fragments are possibly taken from domestic objects, familiar everyday items
going mad before our very ears. The TV set (obviously) beams out strange messages;
the refrigerator hums ominously or comfortingly. This latter sound phenomenon
has been noticed by Masami Akita as 'interesting' that people have recently
to be music, and by Robert Crumb as a potent reminder of one's mortality in
his Existentialist one-page comic strip. I'd be disappointed to learn its
not a fridge at all, so let me cherish my illusions. This domesticity-subverted
factor extends to the old retired couple clearing out the attic (see above),
a similar document not heard since Alvaro recorded his German wife Hildegard
reciting her recipe while baking brown bread, as a filler for side two of
his second LP.
title for this comp has to be 'Teleform' - analysed to mean something new,
Tele = 'recording at a distance' and Form = 'having the shape of'. These pieces
were all recorded from the margins of life, by quiet and unassuming artists
observing the miracles of life from the borderlines. This mix carefully selects
items that display the most worrisome and alarming emotions alongside the
most reassuring and relaxing, with very little in between. Touch releases
are among the gentlest and least aggressive in the world, surely a welcome
balm to the torrent of banal MTV-styled youth culture that is increasingly
World is so full of a number of things...I'm sure we ahould all be happy as
has issued a third in the series of samplers, inventively named "SAMPLER 3".
Names such as FARMER`S MANUAL (www.farmersmanual.co.at), PANASONIC, CHRIS
WATSON, PHILIP JECK, BRUÛE GILBERT and SKALA are found in the section
"site recording at the banks of Zambezi River, with required sounds of gamelan,
bizarre dialogues, disorienting overtones and recordings from the British
Library". Relax at the sound of the pages turned over! No doubt, this sampler
will be a true gift for those interested in "ambient music" (ambient in a
sense of particular sound, not of circle-painted T-shirts). They will immediately
recognize this cold alien electronics. Anything can happen within the next
30 seconds... They call themselves sound-explorers, which is, basically, the
meaning of the release. Surely, it is not a pop music, and much of what you
hear is not music in the common sense. Yet, it could serve as a perfect soundtrack,
as well as a good starting point to further exploration on the capabilities
The second volume of the TOUCH sampler comes from back 1997. Here, the collection
of songs is often broken up by small speech samples which were used as breaks.
( answering machine messages, air traffic conversations etc., the most interesting
one is titled "Runaway Train" which's a black box recording of a runaway train
) Also a little catalogue of TOUCH & ASH Int. (R.I.P.) is printed on the 2
pages of the CD booklet. The featured artists of this volume are: Polyphony
Group Of Lapharda > Cold Warrior: warm rhythmic collages by the ambient electro
project of Richard H. Kirk, from the album "Step Write Run" , one of the Alphaphone
series' releases. The Hafler Trio: A short monologue for the answering machine.
Philip Jeck: looped sparkles of a minimal synth melody hovering on the disquieting
layer of reverberated noisy percussions. The freewing waves of music wash
your ears as barren routin sounds, but evokes an audio-fanfare in your mind.
New Order: The missing middle section of the 23 minutes song of this well-known
band. Recorded in 1982 in Manchester. Igusti Ngurah Togog & His Son: A little
piece performed with the eccentric instrument "Genggong", whose sound is reminding
the typical frog sound. Mark Van Hoen: ambiance of highly resonant synths
and steady beats. Rjoyi Ikeda: Structurally amalgamated extreme frequencies,
sounds and holes on the layer of plus and minus infinites. As TOUCH says "an
exploration at the edge of one's perception" ... or beyond minimalism . From
the previous album of the Japanese artist. Mother Tongue > Scala : a nice
echoed female voice; cold , throbbing percussions, and an experiment on the
reverberativity, recoilles and decadence of sound. Brilliant sound, brilliant
track... John Duncan > Disinformation: both tracks are manipulations and convertions
of S/L wave radio frequencies. Antony Philips: an emotional etude on classic
guitar. Chris Watson: contributes 2 tracks of beautiful natural ambiance,
recorded in Costa Rica and Kenya. Folk Orchestra Of Albania: Again a traditional
tune of Albania. Daren Seymour & Mark Van Hoen: elegant and melodious ambiance
mixed with natural sound samples. Later begins to vapour a sorrowful air by
the joining of the whispering vocals.. [ O.S. ]
All-out bid to out-eclecticise the rest of electronica by letting everyone
- and we mean everyone - from New Order to the Folk Orchestra of Albania join
the 22-track sonic shindig. Oh, and a black box recording from a runaway train
for some reason.
The runaway train of course, at least it is if your appetite for the macabre
CHOICE: Lo-fi New Order oddity "Video 5863" - half Blue Monday, half mean
TRACK RATING: 17/5 - and even the baddies are, at least, a laugh." (Ben Wilmot)
the detritus of the Touch catalogue, then, all manner of esoterica: "Sampler"
collates public domain recordings, unusual electronica and shortwave radio
manipulation. And, actually, I prefer hearing much of the compilation's material
in this bite-sized context - much of it is too demanding (of patience, of
time) in its original full-length form. Highlights: New Order's "Video 586",
originally recorded for the opening of the Hacienda and a precurser to "Blue
Monday"; Seefeel splinter-projects, Scala and Daren Seymour/Mark Van Hoen;
Anthony Phillips' Vini Reilly-esque "Danza Cuccaracha"; and the inner sleeve,
an incredible photograph of the sky over London, on the 23/10/96. Worth Investigation."
The top sonic explorationist imprint unearths a whole host of treats for all
sinewave trainspotters and ambient envelope-pushers.
Lost New Order (yes, that New Order!) recording from 1982, "Video 586". And
who could possibly live without The Folk Orchestra of Albania, The Polyphony
Group Of Lapharda or the on-board tapes from the control booth of a runaway
SUBS: Myriad other forms of pure strangeness, including the bizarre sound
experiments with interference and feedback, and original recordings from all
around the globe.
THE TOUCHLINE: See it, feel it, Touch it. (CB) 8/10"
folk music, fragments of speech, ANTHONY PHILLIPS plucking his trusty acoustic,
Balinese "frog music" and a long-lost experiment by NEW ORDER are just some
of the highlights of this months star CD, Sampler (Touch, distributed
by Semaphore/ Pinnacle)*****. This eclectic disc also takes in the ascetic
HAFLER TRIO, sparse electronics from COLD WARRIOR (aka RICHARD H. KIRK), and
a 1948 recording of railway controllers in New Brunswick, Canada, trying to
prevent a runaway train from causing a catastrophe. Many buyers will of course
want the disc for the New Order track 'Video 586/3', a previously unreleased
"missing segment" of an avant-garde piece written in 1981 on an Apple ll computer.
It gives an intriguing hint of the direction the group might have taken."
with an astounding track by the Polyphony Group of Lapharda (Albania) taken
from an as yet unreleased CD titled 'Where The Avalanche Stops' (hurry up
!). The there is a track by Richard H.Kirk from the recent Touch release Alphaphone
Vol.1 Step.Write.Run. This is followed by unconvincing self-indulgent twaddle
by Andy MacKenzie. Layers of loops are gradually dropped out by Philip Jeck
in 'Nelson Surfs' - good track this ! Then there's just under four minutes
of The Runaway Train (in my opinion, one of the best etc, etc on Ash International/Touch).
Something with historic value, perhaps, by New Order...all bleeding 7'00 of
it (hurry up!). Then, a wonderful recording of two men imitating frogs of
the Balinese gonggong, an oral device. Mark Van Hoen rasps up against oddness
on his way through a dropchord Channel Of Light and then there's an item from
Ryoji Ikeda's recent Headphonics CD (the first 15 or 20 minutes of which are
more than effective at inducing strange hysteria). Stereo madness from Scala
off their vinyl-now-CD (which I'm going to listen to again...under headphones,
dammit!). The something off the wonderful R & D CD by Disinformation,
aka Joe Banks, champion surfer in the extreme sea of radio waves (of waves
of waves of waves etc) crashing down on the sandy beaches of FAR. An excellent
insertion regarding lengthy therapy is follwed by Anthony Phillips in a plucky
mood, who slowly twirls his way through a 'Danza Cuccaracha'. Chris Watson,
now a 'legendary' (!) sound recordist, has documented two very weird places.
The first is surely one of the best vocals by a beast ever. And some of the
second something is going to live in my sampler for a while. What sounds like
Nusrat's back-up is really more Albanians ululating. From penultimate to 'Omnipotent'
- the title of the last track on this CD, which is by Mark Van Locust and
Daren Seefeel circa Aurobindo (one of the best etc, etc on Ash International/
Touch) An unusually buoyant track and far too cheerful to have been included
on the original full length release. Makes for a happy ending here tho'!"
Sampler", como o nome indicia, é uma compilaçao de apresentaçao
do catálogo da editora inglesa Touch (responsável por ediçoes
de, entre outros, The Hafler Trio e Sandoz). Editora caracterizada pelas suas
preferências experimentalistas, nao é propriamente uma surpresa
o facto de nao estarmos perante uma vulgar compilaçao. Por um lado,
a editora nao se limita a escolher uma meiadúzia de faixas de maior
apelo comercial e, por outro lado, metade das faixas sao inéditas.
Ainda a contribuir para a mais-valia deste trabalho encontram-se a continuidade
sonora (nao há espaços em branco a separar os temas) e a excentricidade
estética no seu todo, onde se pode destacar o esboço para "Blue
Monday", dos New Order(em "Video 5863"), o folclore xamanista do Polyphony
Group of Lacerda (Albânia), o minuto e meio de conversa para atendedor
de chamadas dos HaflerTrio, a pop ambiental de Daren Seymour (dos Seefeel)
e Mark Van Hoen(dos Locust) ou a gravaçao de Igusti Ngurah Togog &
Son, onde estes interpretam o som de ras com uma folha de palmeira (o genggong
balinês). Ao todo, sao 75 minutos de ecletismo sonoro-musical, onde
o factor surpresa está sempre presente. Epistemologicamente, antifonia
tem dois significados: a) o canto antifonário de uma composiçaomusical
por dois coros; b) qualquer efeito musical ou sonoro que responde ou ecoa
a outro. O termo inclui o conceito de espaço e a relaçao pergunta-resposta.
Neste duplo CD (126 minutos, carteira de plástico com postais ilustrados)
editado pela Ash International (uma editora-irma da Touch), "Antiphony" surge
como um conjunto de interpretaçoes e remisturas de gravaçoes
psicoacústicas realizadas pelo projecto hertziano de Joe Banks, Disinformation.
Dado o mote, refiram-se alguns dos nomes aqui envolvidos: Bruce Gilbert (Wire),
Chris Carter e Cosey Fanni Tutti (Throbbing Gristle), Mark Van Hoen (Locust),
S.E.T.I., Zbigniew Karkowski (The Hafler Trio) e John Duncan, entre outros.
Apesar da revista norte-americana Wired ter descrito este projecto como "música
ambiental para verdadeiros homens" e da MTV lhe chamar "heavy metal para o
século XXII", parece-me ser mais descritivo algo como frequências
alternativas, ora em estado de frenética excitaçao ora em estado
de revigorante repouso, ou modulaçoes de pressoes atmosféricas
que exploram as fronteiras entre arte e ciência. Esoterismo sonoro,
onde a instrumentaçao utilizada é tao importante quanto o próprio
músico, na verdade, o que aqui se ouve deve ser preferencial mente
encarado como "gravaçoes" do que propriamente como "peças musicais".
O seu propósito é mais informativo que de entretenimento, onde
o ruído, nos seus múltiplos significados, nao é encarado
como um virus a eliminar mas antes como motivo sonoro exótico a explorar.
Se "Antiphony" pode ser ouvido como um disco ambiental, entao o conceito de
ambiente nao deve ser lido como um transmissor de informaçao passivo
mas, ainda mais que activo, interactivo.
Much like David Toop's 'Ocean of Sound', this second Touch sampler stalks
many unexpected and unexplored avenues for its pan-global take on what we're
listening to as the twentieth century wheezes to an asthmatic close. Thus
alongside trax from New Order (a portion of a 23 minute track written for
the opening of the Hacienda in 1982), Richard H. Kirk (as Cold Warrior) and
Mark Van Hoen you get the Polyphony Group of Lapharda or Igusti Hgurah and
his son from Bali, producing the 'Gengong Frog Sound', the Folk Orchestra
of Albania or a recording from Canada involving the effrts to stop a runaway
train. Such breadth of vision and inclusive tendencies can only be applauded
- long may labels such as Touch continue to buck the reductivist nature of
the music industry where homogeneity is prized above all, and the dollar sign
is the loudest thing you're likely to hear... (Cal Gibson)
" Yet another superlative compilation from the Touch stable. Biggest suprise
this time out is the unreleased New Order track, Video 586, recorded in 1982
as part of a 23 minute piece for the opening of the Hacienda in Manchester.
As the inlay points out, it was a dry run blueprint for Blue Monday and this
is evident from the first few seconds. Many of my personal favourites are
featured on this disc which makes it an absolute joy; witness Scala's godlike
Hold Me Down, Mark Van Hoen's hybrid hard ambience, Ryoji Ikeda's always precise
minimalism, John Duncan's short wave transmissions, Chris Watson's startling
field recordings and a previously unreleased Aurobindo track from Van Hoen
and Seefeel's Daren Seymour. Touch have scored big time with this release,
one of the strongest compilations I've come across in the past year." LN
"This thoroughly excellent compilation contains 22 tracks, covering the bulk
of styles associated with touch and its Ash International susidiary. Amongst
the better known contributors (including the Hafler Trio, John Duncan, Chris
Watson and New Order) the latter's "Video 5863" is a fascinating
early version of the classic 'Blue Monday'. Other highlights include 'Channel
of Light' by Locust's Mark Van Hoen (a fine example of minimal, yet powerful,
dance music), Ryoji Ikeda's subliminal frequencies on 'Headphonics 0/0' and
'Air Traffic Control', 'Runaway Train' and Disinformation's 'Loran - C VLF',
all selected from recent Ash International releases. This album is an essential
collection of top-notch experimental music from this constantly evolving label."
this sampler is a collection of tracks of the highest efficiency - where the
mother wit and creative power are the key words within. Definitely experimental
should be a rather proper, yet too narrow rank to group and determine the
whole. While the prominent artists as HAFLER TRIO, NEW ORDER, MARK VAN HOEN,
RYOJI IKEDA, SCALA (and others as well) are unleashing their musical versions,
the listener is being chained for 75 min approximately with omnipresent universal
sounds. isn't this tested on animals?"
"Touch are probably one of the most interesting labels going. Sometimes releasing
atmospherics or noise, even contemporary classical, nothing seems beyond the
reach of Touch and Ash International. This becomes apparent when you play
the sampler. There is no war of favourites, it's a simple resumé of
what has been released. There are no biographies, discographies or other frivolous
pieces of pointless information about the artists, just 16 tracks and the
lable's own discography. Listen to this and witness a variety which is sadly
lacking in many labels. AS"
"An example to all. Bridging everything from the avant-garde and the post-electronic
to the intensely ambient, Touch leave no stone of the experimental world unturned.
From Soliman Gamil's sublime Egypto-folklore and S.E.T.I.'s Arctic ambience
to Richard Kirk's Sweet Exorcist, Sandoz 's techno-punk and Hafler Trio's
abrasive vacuums of sound, this is quite possibly the broadest compilation
youshould treat yourself to all year."
"Forgive me Lord, I confess that I have never heard of any of these folks
except The Hafler Trio, but I'm into it like we've known each other for years.
Briefly, the list of players: Philip Jeck, Soliman Gamil, Sandoz, Hilmar orn
Hilmarsson, Hafler Trio, Chris Watson,Daren Seymour and Mark Van Hoen, El
Far and Luiza Mica, Sweet Exorcist, Drome, Raxwerx, Z'ev, S.E.T.I., Koji Marutani.
There. Does that mean anything to you? I saw the trio and snagged this and
three stages later (dormancy, excitement, apogee) I'm sending thank you cards
to everyone involved. Largely percussion, little vocal, ambient at times (Watson's
recording/creation of "Mara River at Night"), sometimes abrasive (Rax werx
is almost painful), the entire disc is nicely understated, like latent feelings
that boil surface. Once again, the best things received in the service of
this small punk rock magazine have nothing to do with punk rock and everything
to do with timeless, boundless noises and rhythms that are simultaneously
innate and exotic. Nicely composed in silences and sentences pregnant with
mystery and promise. Highly recommended." (John Livingstone)
(Internet review, April 1996):
"In short, this is an excellent compilation. Laid-back, introspective, soothing,
sometimes disturbing, and always captivating. For the most part this is ambient
listening which sounds best late in the evening. The most striking feature
of this record for me, apart from its overall high quality, is the sheer variety
of musical styles it encompasses. Remarkably, all these diverse artists are,
or have been, signed to the small, presumably independent, label Touch, or
its subsidiary Ash International. "Touch Sampler" veers from intelligent techno
to neo-classical, Eno-esque wallpaper ambient to Aphex-style drones, and even
incorporates some world music along the way.
alternative guise for The Hafler Trio) kick things off with what turns out
to be something of an epic. An unusual, medieval-sounding chant ("Ooh-what-a-won-derful-world...")
intros, before complex tribal rhythms slowly emerge to claim the attention.
The percussion builds, then fades, and then builds again giving the piece
an expectant intensity. A climax is never reached but the anticipation is
probably better. Philip Jeck's "PS One" is similarly outstanding and even
more intense. Simplicity and unrefined power are its main characteristics.
Loud, menacing hum/buzz/drone sounds (think swarm of bees meets electric guitar
distortion) form the basis of the piece, remaining largely unchanged throughout,
while a raw, pounding bass drum (someone banging at a closed door) occupies
the foreground. Changes in the pace and volume of the beat provide "PS One"
with its third and final dimension. Soliman Gamil's middle eastern folk freshens
the palate and provides a nice interlude before the full-on techno pop of
Sandoz's "Orgasmatron." Another outstanding piece but this time for different
reasons: frantic rhythms, bass you could cut with a knife, and the gorgeous
looped rifs and melodies which characterise so much of Richard H. Kirk's work.
The next track, by Hilmar Orn Himarsson, is perhaps the best piece on the
record. Modern classical music which literally oozes melancholic emotion and
knocks most electronic ambient for six. The Hafler Trio's second offering,
"I Remain...," sounds like part of the soundtrack for a low-budget, seventies
sci-fi movie, does little for me and is the first track to let the side down.
Chris Watson's "Mara River at Night," on the other hand, is rather good. It
apparently amounts to nothing more than the recorded sounds of frogs and crickets
around a tropical river at night, but it does the trick. Daren Seymour (of
Seefeel) and Mark Van Hoen (of Autocreation) combine forces to produce a spooky
little number (I can't get "If you go down to the woods today..." out of my
head) which is very nice but all to short. More eastern promise from Eli Fara
and Luiza Mica, before Richard H. Kirk returns, this time as Sweet Exorcist.
"Ghettoes of the Mind" is unmistakably Kirk's creation but is quite different
from the Sandoz track, the emphasis being on soothing the mind rather han
moving the feet. The jazzy funk of Drome's "Mesmerized" is low-slung, laid-back
and loose, and takes "Touch Sampler" into yet another field of music. The
following two pieces (Rax Werx and Z'EV) join The Hafler Trio's "I Remain...."
in the waste basket, but these are the only three poor tracks. The offering
from S.E.T.I. is deep, surging Orb-esque ambience of the beatless variety:
a powerful piece which starts to bring us down before the close. Soliman Gamil
returns, this time with a solo cello, before Koji Marutani finally wraps things
up with "Calcutta." Indian street babblings gradually fade as a soft, repeating
guitar melody emerges. The guitar is underlain with glorious, sweeping cello
before the music ends abruptly and we return to the Calcutta street scene."
Dated back to 1995, this is the first volume of the sampler series, we've
been sent by the English label TOUCH the home of 3E (extreme, experimental,
extraordinary) art. It seems that my sweet suffering in reviewing compilation
releases will be doubled here due to the superb diversity of these collections.
Ranging from ethno/traditional tunes to the obscure edges of digital experimentalism,
from neo-classical rituals to World Music pieces , all three volumes offer
a rich menu of musical forms, still addressing the faithful researchers of
the obscure area. Here's the contributor index of the first volume: H3OH:
An impressive opening track with solid tribal rhythms & deep male choruses
and exotic animal sound samples on the background. Philip Jeck: Taken from
the "Loopholes" album, first TOUCH labelled CD of Philip Jeck, this track
sounds like a duel between the soft and swarming machinery beats & harder
and echoing ones. During the war, deep waves of synths wash the wall of the
ongoing clamor. Soliman Gamil: Ancient Egyptian Music with traditional instruments.
Sandoz: The same Sandoz essence of dance poetry with different elements and
less complexive percussions. Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson: a short neo-classical
suite of string instruments and synths, drenched in a pastorale insence. The
Hafler Trio: A 5 minutes spot of deep electro-magnetic sonorities from these
legendary sound researchers. Chris Watson: Taken from the 1996 dated CD ,"Stepping
into the Dark" of Chris Watson, the experimental artist utilizing with close-up
recordings of sounds of nature, this piece evokes a more spacious air of wild
environment, in comparison with his new piece "Outside the Circle of Fire"
, of which's selected songs featured in the 3rd volume of the sampler series.
Daren Seymour & Mark Van Hoen: a couple of cold and swarming melodies, spread
on various different exhaling points of voice with snarling moisture or fiery
noises that pump the tension. Eli Fara & Luiza MiŤa: A folk hymn ( probably
of Balkans), sang by a duo of vocals in native language. Sweet Exorcist: Electro
Rock with looped sound samples. One of the projects of Richard H. Kirk. Drome:
Experimental jazz embelished by miniature electro-noises and treated vocals.
Rax Werx: harsh noise assault... Z'EV: a structured composition of bells and
gongs that used as alarms before the radio announcements. S.E.T.I.: Taking
on more open and sensual sound emissions, the sametitled track of the previous
S.E.T.I. album "Knowledge" differs from the lucid experiments of "Above Black"
noticeably. Still enveloping the listener with the intense feeling of desolation
and being lost, the experiment contains a deep floating synth harmony (which
we can even call a melody), instead of the nearly-motionless picture of the
background, sailing along the mysterious speech samples and murmuring & droning
of deep space. Very fitting music for the odd scenes of a science fiction
movie. Koji Marutani: a short guitar piece moving along the sonic- photo of
Calcutta's streets [O.S ]