MIKA VAINIO: Fe304 – Magnetite (Touch)

themilkman on Aug 22nd 2012 09:35 pm

Mika Vainio: Fe304 - Magnetite

Fe304 – Magnetite
Touch 2012
07 Tracks. 55mins50secs

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Mika Vainio was once one half of Finnish exploratory duo Pan Sonic until he and Ilpo Väisänen decided to part for good after fifteen years two years ago, but this ever only represented one facet of his work. As well as contributing to a good few other formations, he has released a number of records under a variety of monikers, perhaps the best known of which, beside the music published under his own name of course, is Ø, a project he pursues to these days. Fe304 – Magnetite is his tenth solo record as himself, his fifth for Touch.

Over the years, Vainio has extensively experimented with noise and silence in various forms and to various degrees. Continue Reading »

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OREN AMBARCHI: Audience Of One (Touch)

themilkman on Mar 6th 2012 11:43 pm

Oren Ambarchi: Audience Of One

Audience Of One
Touch 2012
04 Tracks. 53mins54secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

Looking back at Oren Ambarchi’s extraordinarily vast and varied body of work, it seems almost impossible to believe that he only began releasing music fourteen years ago. The list of his collaborations alone is impressive, counting the likes of Sunn O))), Fennesz, Jim O’Rourke, Keith Rowe or Keiji Haino amongst many others, and his own solo outputs, published primarily on Touch, constitutes a truly singular collection of experimental music even amongst his peers.

Released almost five years on from his last solo outing, In The Pendulum’s Embrace, Audience Of One may initially prove something of an intriguing release for the usually poised Australian as he lines up vocals and drum beats, and appears to almost do away with guitars altogether in parts of the record. Continue Reading »

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FENNESZ + SAKAMOTO: Flumina (Touch)

themilkman on Feb 3rd 2012 01:12 am

Fennesz + Sakamoto: Flumina

Touch 2011
24 Tracks. 124mins06secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | DLD iTunes: DLD

Flumina is the third collaboration between Ryuichi Sakamoto and Christian Fennesz, following Sala Santa Cecilia (2005) and Cendre (2007), and, with twenty-four tracks spread over two discs, it is also by far their most extensive. The project began when Sakamoto was touring in Japan some time ago; opening each one of the twenty-four shows of the tour with a different improvisation, each played in a different key to cover the complete steps of the western tonal system, and documenting them all, he then sent his recordings to Christian Fennesz in Vienna for him to add textures and ambiences before the pair reconvened in New York to mix the record. Continue Reading »

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CHRIS WATSON: El Tren Fantasma (Touch)

themilkman on Jan 11th 2012 01:28 am

Chris Watson: El Tren Fantasma

El Tren Fantasma
Touch 2011
10 Tracks. 59mins38secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

Railways have often provided electronic-based musicians with a wealth of rhythmic and mechanical sounds, from Pierre Schaeffer’s early tape experiments to Krafwerk’s hypnotic journeys across Europe. A former member of Cabaret Voltaire and The Hafler Trio, Chris Watson may have at one time been keen to explore similar concepts, but his work as a sound recordist in the last thirty years has taken him on a very different path. Watson works primarily with wildlife, and his work has been featured on many natural history programmes for the BBC, most notably David Attenborough’s series, from The Life Of Birds to Life In Cold Blood, and Bill Oddie’s Springwatch and Autumnwatch series. Beside these, Watson has released three albums of field recordings on Touch and has collaborated with a number of experimental musicians on further recordings and installations. This album is his fourth solo record for Touch.

El Tren Fantasma is a slightly different project, as it documents a cross country train journey on board the Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México (FNM), from Los Mochis on the Pacific coast to the west to Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico to the east. Continue Reading »

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BIOSPHERE: N-Plants (Touch)

themilkman on Jul 1st 2011 01:17 am

Biosphere: N-Plants

Touch 2011
09 Tracks. 49mins49secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | DLD iTunes: DLD

What would happen if a nuclear power plant, located close to the sea, was hit by an earthquake or a tsunami? The story behind this album is nothing short of puzzling. In late 20101, whilst researching Japan in the optic of recording an album about the country’s post-Second World War economic miracle, Geir Jenssen stumbled upon a picture of the Mihama nuclear power plant, situated on a tiny peninsula on the west coast of Japan, just over three hundred kilometers west of Tokyo. The plant was still then the site of the worst nuclear disaster to have taken place in Japan, when, in 2004, hot water leaked from a broken pipe near one of the reactors, killing four people and injuring seven.The plant, situated in an otherwise beautiful spot prompted Jenssen to question exactly how safe such facility would be if it was hit by a quake or a tsunami. Further investigations revealed a number of other nuclear power stations located in earthquake-prone areas. This provided him with the focus for the record, his first in over five years. Continue Reading »

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BJ NILSEN: The Invisible City (Touch)

themilkman on Jan 27th 2010 12:55 am

BJ Nilsen: The Invisible City

The Invisible City
Touch 2010
08 Tracks. 62mins38secs

Amazon UK: CD Amazon US: CD Boomkat: CD

The sleeve notes of BJ Nilsen’s latest record read like the disparate inventory of a surreal junk shop. Chairs, window shutters, trains, dead trees, birds, various acoustic and electronic instruments, bumblebees, coffeepots all find their way into The Invisible City, yet, so drastic is the processing of this vast sonic palette that it is impossible to identify for sure which sounds have been used where or to what effect, leaving instead the listeners to feel the gaps and work out a path for themselves.

Benny Jonas Nilsen first appeared in 1991 with a series of dark ambient records released as Morthond, then Morthound, published for the most part on Swedish experimental imprint Cold Meat Industries. Continue Reading »

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BIOSPHERE: Wireless – Live at The Arnolfini, Bristol (Touch)

themilkman on Jun 1st 2009 11:16 pm

Biosphere: Wireless - Live At The Arnolfini, Bristol

Wireless – Live At The Arnolfini, Bristol
Touch 2009
11 Tracks. 62mins08secs

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In 2007, the excellent Touch imprint celebrated twenty five years at the forefront of experimental music with a series of events across the UK and beyond involving some of the label’s most prominent artists. Recorded at the Arnolfini art centre in Bristol, as part of Touch25 Live, Biosphere’s Wireless, his first live album, documents Geir Jenssen’s work since he joined the Touch stable at the turn of the millennium. The set was arranged into an hour long track made up of compositions lifted from Jenssen’s albums for the label together with a handful of additional pieces.

Using material spanning eight years, from the seminal Substrata, originally released in 1997 on Origo Sound and All Saints and later re-issued on Touch, to Jenssen’s most recent output, Dropsonde (2005), all woven into one long piece Continue Reading »

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Max Richter/Jóhann Jóhannsson, Union Chapel, London, 29/06/2008

themilkman on Jul 1st 2008 12:42 am

Feature: Max Richter/Jóhann Jóhannsson, Union Chapel, London, 29/06/2008

Max Richter gave a rare live performance at the Union Chapel in London’s Islington, ahead of the release of his latest project, 24 Postcards In Full Colour, on Fat-Cat in July, and, opening the evening for him was Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.

Jóhannsson took the stage accompanied with a string quartet and one additional personnel on electronics. With the string quartet positioned centre stage, Jóhannsson found himself stuck in the background between a baby grand piano and his keyboards. Jóhannsson has, since the release of his debut album, Englabörn, in 2002 on Touch and reissued last year on 4AD, established himself as one of the best contemporary classical composers around and has, beside his own records, composed music for films and plays and has also been involved with a handful of side projects. For this London performance, Jóhannsson focused exclusively on his solo work, presenting tracks taken essentially from Englabörn and IBM 1401, A User’s Manual, with a couple of more rhythmic pieces sourced from Dis. Continue Reading »

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GAVIN BRYARS with PHILIP JECK & ALTER EGO – The Sinking Of The Titanic (1969-) (Touch)

Colin Buttimer on Feb 26th 2008 12:02 am

Gavin Bryars/Philip Jeck/Alter Ego: The Sinking Of The Titanic (1969-)

The Sinking Of The Titanic (1969-)
Touch 2007
01 Track. 72mins35secs

Crackle inhabits the first four minutes of this new version of Gavin Bryars’s The Sinking of the Titanic. It’s an ominous sound. Heard on old blues records it’s the sound of time passed. And cultural distance. Here it also suggests, perhaps rather inevitably, the cracking of ice.

Strings ebb and swell in mournful, elegiac fashion and are occasionally pierced by reverberating percussion that could be the dripping of water into pools. An elderly, well-spoken woman recalls going up on deck at the twenty minute mark. Her confident chatter and sudden eruption into song make for a simultaneously familiar and completely otherworldly experience. Continue Reading »

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CHRIS WATSON: Oceanus Pacificus (Touch)

themilkman on Jan 30th 2008 12:21 am

Chris Watson: Oceanus Pacificus

Oceanus Pacificus
Touch 2008
02 Tracks. 05mins35secs
Format: 7″

Chris Watson returns to Touch with this limited run, the second in the label’s new Touch Sevens series. One of the best known and most highly regarded wild life recording artists, Watson delivers two recordings made in the Galapagos Islands in April 2006. Documenting the Humboldt current, and recorded at depths of 3 and 10 metres, the two short tracks capture underwater movements as rarely heard by the human ear. As the current pushes ahead continuously, it appears to affect the water in a slightly different way as the pressure increases. While the sound palette is clear and open at 3 metres, it becomes slightly more muffled and sombre deeper. The recordings on Oceanus Pacificus have been left totally untouched. Each represents a snippet of life, extracted from its original setting and brought to the surface. Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Feb 19th 2007 09:46 pm

Chris Watson / BJ Nilsen: Storm

Touch 2007
03 Tracks. 50mins09secs

Back in 2000, Swedish musician recorded a series of storms over the Baltic sea, and consequently suggested that him and fellow Touch sound artist Chris Watson coolaborate on a project focusing on weather conditions.

Watson, once of pioneering electronic outfit Cabaret Voltaire and, later, of The Hafler Trio, is an established wildlife recordist, who has, beside his three albums for Touch, worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and recorded nature for a variety of wildlife programs for the BBC. After a few years away from the music scene, he returned in 1996 with his first solo album for Touch, Stepping Into The Dark, which was built from recordings he had made all around the world during previous years. Continue Reading »

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ROSY PARLANE: Jessamine (Touch)

themilkman on Jan 17th 2007 04:23 pm

Rosy Parlane: Jessamine

Touch 2007
03 Tracks. 48mins50secs

After a spell in experimental rock outfits Thela and Parmentier, New Zealand-born Rosy Parlane established himself as a sound artist with a series of releases for Sigma Editions and Synaesthesia. He has also collaborated with artists such as Fennesz, AMM founder Eddie Prevost and avant-garde musician Mattin. In 2004, Parlane joined the ranks of influential UK label Touch and released the magnificent Iris. Continue Reading »

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