Touch, February 2008

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Chris Watson - Whispering in the Leaves

Whispering in the Leaves

A major new sound installation at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
Presented as part of AV Festival 08: 29th February – 9th March 2008

Artists’ Talk & Desert Island TV: Sat 8 Mar, 2.30 -3.30pm
Chris Watson discusses his new work Whispering in the Leaves. The talk will be followed by Desert Island TV, where Chris will introduce and screen BBC nature documentary the Life of Birds made with David Attenborough. Free, for bookings contact

For AV Festival 08, Watson has created a powerful new sound work derived from his extensive archive of wildlife and on location recordings in Central and South America - habitats that host over half of the planet’s wildlife. Diffused through the tropical foliage of the enclosed botanical environment of the Winter Gardens, which is home to over 2,000 flowers and plants, the surround soundtrack of wildlife dawn and dusk choruses will be transmitted at hourly intervals throughout the day for 15-20 minute durations – the approximate time taken in the rainforest for the transitions from darkness into light, and from daylight to dark. The sound pieces feature the calls and voices of thousands of species, including the howls and shrieks of black howler and spider monkeys, the musicality of diverse birdsong and the shimmering and hissing of tree frogs and cicadas. A highly sensory and captivating experience, Whispering in the Leaves is a remarkable demonstration of the power of sound recordings and natural history broadcast to transport us to far flung, inaccessible and often extraordinary locations.

Venue: Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Burdon Road, Sunderland, SR1 1PP
Free entry, opening hours: Mon - Sat 10am - 5pm, Sun 2pm - 5pm.
T: 0191 553 2323 / W:

Installation: Fri 29 Feb - Sun 9 Mar 08

Live performance: Thurs 6 Mar 08, 8.30 - 9.00pm
FREE but limited capacity to register your interest contact

A full press release can be downloaded here

[photo: Sean Thamer]

Qwartz Awards, Paris | 3-4.04.2008

Touch has entries in 12 nominations for the Qwartz Awards 2008 and will be appearing live for these awards. A special edition of Touch Tone 25 has been manufactured for this event, with the kind permission of the artists.

April 3rd: Black venue: Maison des Métallos, rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, Paris 75011 (Metro Couronne).

Rosy Parlane | Fennesz

April 4th: Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione: 110 rue Amelot, Paris 75003 (Metro Filles du Calvaire). 1 hour after Blixa Bargeld, Max Mathews, Jean-Claude Risset and Beatriz Feyrrera [Qwartz d辿onneur attributions] from 23h to 1h30, with Radio France [France Musique] direct retransmission, Qwartz's official sponsor.

Chris Watson | Philip Jeck | BJNilsen

Free entrance

Fennesz/Jeck/Matthews - Amoroso

Touch # TS01
7" vinyl only

Due in the week beginning 10th March 2008

Side a:

Fennesz/Matthews 3' 34"

Side b

Jeck/Matthews 3' 24"

cut by Jason @ Transition
artwork and photography by Jon Wozencroft

For more information on this series of Touch Sevens, 7" vinyl only releases, please visit the TouchSevens website

n. 1. A lover; a man enamored.
adv. 1. (Mus.) In a soft, tender, amatory style.

Charles Matthews plays the Grand Organ in York Minster, during Spire Live [] on 20th January 2007. This release is a homage to Arvo Pärt...

Arvo Pärt is often identified with the school of minimalism and more specifically, that of "mystic minimalism" or "sacred minimalism". He is considered a pioneer of this style, along with contemporaries Henryk Górecki and John Tavener.

About the players:

Charles Matthews: "I felt you were pure music, not human flesh, music through time, music played from the Universe, without boundaries." [an audience member, July 2007] Born in 1966, Charles Matthews studied at the Royal College of Music, London, and was an organ scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge. His teachers have included Beryl Tichbon, Gwilym Isaac, David Pettit, Patricia Carroll, Nicholas Danby, Charles Spinks and Dr Richard Marlow.

Charles pursues a varied career as pianist, organist, composer and teacher, performing and broadcasting for radio and television within the UK and internationally. He has won numerous awards, perhaps most notably the first prize in the 1999 Franz Liszt Memorial Competition in Budapest. His recordings have been issued by Olympia, Priory, Guild and Touch; he is the organist for the Touch project, Spire, which also includes Christian Fennesz and Philip Jeck.

Christian Fennesz: Fennesz uses guitar and computer to create shimmering, swirling electronic sound of enormous range and complex musicality. “Imagine the electric guitar severed from cliché and all of its physical limitations, shaping a bold new musical language.” - (City Newspaper, USA). His lush and luminant compositions are anything but sterile computer experiments. They resemble sensitive, telescopic recordings of rainforest insect life or natural atmospheric occurrences, an inherent naturalism permeating each piece. He lives and works in Vienna and Paris.

Philip Jeck: Philip Jeck studied visual art at Dartington College of Arts. He started working with record players and electronics in the early '80's and has made soundtracks and toured with many dance and theatre companies as we as well as his solo concert work. His best kown work "Vinyl Requiem" (with Lol Sargent): a performance for 180 '50's/'60's record players won Time Out Performance Award for 1993. He has also over the last few years returned to visual art making installations using from 6 to 80 record players including "Off The Record" for Sonic Boom at The Hayward Gallery, London [2000].

Philip Jeck works with old records and record players salvaged from junk shops turning them to his own purposes. He really does play them as musical instruments, creating an intensely personal language that evolves with each added part of a record. Philip Jeck makes geniunely moving and transfixing music, where we hear the art not the gimmick.

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