"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Hidden burn

Drama - the sense of moment, event or even ritual - figures notably large in Touch’s recent output. It always has, of course (think Kiri No Oto or Without Sinking…). But ravishing new releases like Claire M Singer’s  Solas & Bethan Kellough’s Aven seem drenched in it - most obviously because of their string & organ parts, but more broadly because of their shade & light interplay of acoustic, electronic & field recording elements.

It also seems to reflect the imprint’s growing body of live releases this year. Aven is one; Floodlines by Simon Scott – whose gripping Insomni for Touch affiliate Ash International was part of LMYE’s 2015 Festive 33-1/3 - & Fennesz's Mahler Remix two more. All clearly gain great atmosphere & power from being captured in the moment... 

Touch’s US West Coast ‘conference’ in the summer amped up this emphasis on performance. Besides Aven, gripping shows by Philip Jeck, Daniel Menche and Mark Van Hoen were shared through Touch Radio – a wonderfully rich ‘platform for recordings from artists affiliated to or whose work appears on Touch’. 

To these ears at least, it connects too to drøne’s Reversing Into the Future. This thrilling piece – surely the most kinetic non-dancefloor record in an age ("sounds moan and sing, forming their own phonemes") – feels like an honorary part of Touch’s work even if formally a debut for Anna von Hausswolff’s Pomperipossa: a collaboration between Touch co-founder Mike Harding & Van Hoen (whose digital-only Artefacts I came out on the ‘audio-visual resource for ‘emerging artists’’ TOUCHLINE in October 2015). 

Much more Touch performance in tonight's 17th Spire ("organ works past present & future") at Organ Reframed - for which Singer is artistic director. Hope to see you there...

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