June 2010 Touch Newsletter

Welcome to the 45th Touch Newsletter. Summer sees the return of the Touch Sevens series, with two new vinyl editions by Lawrence English and Philip Jeck & Marcus Davidson.

The Tapeworm's hot tapes for June come from Daniel Menche and Chugga. Menche's "Raw Fall" features two dramatic waterfall recordings from Oregon, USA. Masterminded by Terre Thaemlitz, Chugga's "Memphistophelis" pays tribute to the mixing styles of 70's DJ's such as Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa, while maintaining a relaxed flow that works just as well for deep listening. It's evil and all Memphis - Memphistophelis!

And finally - free with all TouchShop orders from now on - Matt 1: a Touch matt vinyl sticker.


Touch now has an official Twitter account. From there, we will be updating you with info on new editions in the TouchShop, TouchRadio broadcasts, and more... Follow us @touchmusic.
The Tapeworm tweets too! Follow the Wyrm's wormy words @the_tapeworm.


TS09 | Lawrence English "Incongruous Harmonies"

7" vinyl only, not available for digital download
Cut by Jason @ Transition
Artwork and photography by Jon Wozencroft

Track Listing
A: Without Sanctuary 4:59
B: One Thousand Miles of White 4:24

These pieces were composed for Circa's Regarding the Joy of Others.
Recorded and produced at 158, Brisbane, 09/09-01/10

Lawrence English is media artist, composer and curator based in Australia. Working across an eclectic array of aesthetic investigations, English's work prompts questions of field, perception and memory. He utilises a variety of mediums including live performance, audio/visual environments, found sound/vision to create his work that typifies his interests in creating experiences that create subtle transformation of space and ask audiences to become aware of that which exists at the edge of perception. English's work over the past decade, both in performative and gallery settings, has earned him a strong reputation as one of the unique voices producing sound artworks from within Australia. He has presented concerts and installed pieces for numerous festivals including Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), Observatori (Spain), Outro_Rio (Brazil), Unsound (Poland) and AltMusic (New Zealand) amongst others. He also curates the burgeoning ROOM40 imprint, the Someone Good label and organises numerous events and festival throughout Oceania. His solo album, Kiri No Oto [Touch # Tone 31] was released in 2009 and has been described variously as "gorgeous",  "A great piece of subconscious architecture" and "sublime".

Buy Lawrence English "Incongruous Harmonies" in the TouchShop

TS10 | Philip Jeck & Marcus Davidson "Spliced"

7" vinyl only, not available for digital download
Cut by Jason @ Transition
Artwork and photography by Jon Wozencroft

Track Listing
A: London Tenderberry 4:09
B: Tenderberries Version 4:22

Live at the The Museum of Garden History, London, 8 May 2010.
Keyboards: Marcus Davidson. Record players, editing & overdubbed bass: Philip Jeck.

"Trains of blossom, trains of music."

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. His latest album for Touch is due in the summer of 2010.

Marcus Davidson was a chorister at Worcester Cathedral.  He read Music at Birmingham University, studying composition with Vic Hoyland, and later received a masters degree in composition at City University, London, studying with Rhian Samuel. Marcus has worked particularly in the fields of music for dance and music-comedy, arranging and writing for stage, radio, video and television. He specialises in playing for Ballet and Contemporary Dance at London professional schools, and is a member of Spire, the Organ based project by Touch. Spire has performed at the Hardingtonar Festival 2008, York Minster in 2007, the Festival of Holland 2006, the Fuse Leeds 2006 contemporary music festival, the Gas Festival 2005 in Stockholm, La Batie Festival 2004 in Geneva, and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. He has recorded an album of Celtic-inspired music, Ribbon of Time, with Rob Millner, and is also writing a ballet.

Here the two artists collaborate on vinyl for the first time...

Buy Philip Jeck & Marcus Davidson "Spliced" in the TouchShop

TTW#19 - Daniel Menche "Raw Fall"

Cassette only - limited edition of 250 copies

Track listing:
A: Raw Waterfall Recording Of Tunnel Falls At The Eagle Creek Trail In The Columbia River Gorge In Oregon, USA - 19m54s
B: Raw Waterfall Recording Of The South Falls In Silver Falls State Park Located In The Oregon Cascade Mountains, USA - 20m01s

"There is a reason for this madness and that is the waterfall" - Roger Steen

Daniel Menche documented the field trips he and his dog Arrow took, to capture these two recordings, on his blog: here and here.

"DRAMA is the goal. Maybe to you it's noise and maybe it's music yet DRAMA is my only goal. I only desire to create the most dramatic energy possible with sound. Whether it's quiet or loud the aim will always be DRAMA." - Daniel Menche

Buy Daniel Menche "Raw Fall" in the TouchShop
Release details on www.tapeworm.org.uk

TTW#20 - Chugga "Memphistophelis"

Cassette only - limited edition of 250 copies

Track listing:
A1: Get Down
A2: Big Galactic Strut
A3: Theme for the Buck Rogers Light Rope Dance
A4: Sittin' On Your Face
A5: Sugar Crash
B1: Blue Icee
B2: John's Theme (Shock It)
B3: Big Pickles at the Skate Corral
B4: Wriggly Worm
B5: Gremlin
B6: Fucked Up

Recorded: 1996, Memphis USA. All tracks by Lester Fuero and Jeff Hanes. Human beatbox on "John's Theme (Shock It)" by John Consigli.

Original mastering by Terre Thaemlitz for Comatonse Recordings. Illustration - Michiel de Vreede.

Comatonse Recordings press release, 14 Mar 2010:
"Fresh... for '96!" Memphistophelis by Chugga (a.k.a. Lester Fuero and Jeff Hanes) is a deliciously dated blend of trip-hop, 70's disco, funk, Jeep-dub and lounge, mixed well and served chilled. Each track on Memphistophelis picks up on a different 70's sound while tying in that unique Memphis combination of sparsity and orchestration. The album was mastered by an unlikely culprit - and friend - transgendered electro-acoustic/ambient/house Jack-of-all-genres Terre Thaemlitz (a.k.a. DJ Sprinkles). Although it was shopped around and two or three cuts trickled out over the years on obscure vinyl and compilation releases, Memphistophelis never found a home... until The Tapeworm. And what a suiting label indeed - nostalgic, obsolete, lo-fi... is this even in stereo?

"When we started making Memphistophelis we just wanted to emphasize that wicked Memphis 70's sound - Isaac Hayes and crew," said Jeff in a 1996 press release, "but as we got going we found ourselves working in all the old roller-disco camps we grew up with as well, from the DeLite label to Casablanca to shock-rock stylin'."

"Memphis is a long way from the Bronx," added Lester, "so the mixing we grew up with as kids had a strong pop-culture influence, although we thought it was really underground. K.C., Donna Summer, Sugar Hill and Funkadelic would all get thrown together, and we loved it all. We aren't stuck up about our influences - Memphis won't let us be. We keep the mixes lean with the best elements, slow down the groove and push that Jeep-bass. It's evil and all Memphis - Memphistophelis!"

And Chugga knows about pushing bass, each track front-lining a massive dose of subsonic vibrations from Jeff's home-built Low Frequency Unit (L.F.U.) so that you'll literally keep moving even when just kicking back.

"When Jeff first showed me the L.F.U. I just about shit my pants," laughed Lester, "That same sucker who flunked out of air-conditioner repair school with me had made the bomb!"

"The L.F.U. is a turd of a box that only does one thing," added Jeff, "but it does it well."

When Terre was asked what he thought of Memphistophelis finally being released by The Tapeworm, all he could say was, "Like a lot of other gay couples trying to have babies, it took those two lovebirds 14 years of delays and wondering. Congratulations - it's a cassette! I'm just glad I was there to witness the conception! What a night..."

Buy Chugga "Memphistophelis" in the TouchShop
Release details on www.tapeworm.org.uk

Chris Watson | Live in London

On 22 June 2010, 6pm, Chris will be performing at Barnard's Inn Hall, Gresham College. Throughout May and June the British Isles resonate to some of the strangest and most beautiful sounds on earth; the voices; rhythms and music of our wildlife.  In an acoustic journey from the vast seabird cliffs in the far north to nocturnal soloists hidden in deep cover within Home Counties woodlands Chris Watson celebrates the sonic biodiversity found across our unique landscapes. This is a part of the series of events which are to be held in collaboration with the 2010 City of London Festival.

Chris's Whispering in the Leaves installation at Kew Gardens' Palm House continues throughout the summer. A list of special events, performances, talks and workshops relating to the installation can be discovered at www.whisperingintheleaves.org

Chris's back catalogue is still available, and you can buy all 3 solo CDs [Stepping into the Dark, Outside the Circle of Fire and Weather Report] in a bundle at a discounted rate... See the Chris Watson catalogue page in the TouchShop.


TO:50DL | Biosphere & Jon Wozencroft "Substrata 2.1"

A3 archival print edition + exclusive digital download (MP3 or FLAC)

Image printed on 225gsm Somerset Photo Satin - this has the feel of watercolour paper, but captures the colour and detail extremely well. Hand numbered and signed (by Jon Wozencroft), limited to 100 copies.

Nb: free Registered Postage worldwide on this item. Prints to be shipped from Tuesday 1st June.

A3 archival print | Jon Wozencroft "The Planet is Blue"
The picture was taken from a vantage point in Taormina, Sicily, in April 2001. 1000s of people must have taken a photograph from this spot, so it surprises me that many people single this out as one of their favourite Touch covers and I don't disagree - how can one take heed of the other versions that will never be seen?

There were no postcards on sale. So instead of playing on the idea of "the photographic moment", possibly this is a place that conjures up "the photographic universal".

Giardini Naxos, a railway hub beneath Mount Etna, as seen from Taormina which has amazing food, a Roman amphitheatre and a film festival. I liked the idea of people swimming next to a railway station.

I was overjoyed to get the chance to do a cover for "Substrata". It is one of my favourite recordings of its time (the progressive year, 1997) and I'd observed how it had such a climatic effect... I'd listened to it, amazed, on holiday in Crete that summer, it became a hot record for me, whilst supposedly being from a cold environment.

Maybe Biosphere was the answer to dub reggae, especially the music of Augustus Pablo. One of the best compliments I was ever paid, came from a friend when she said the Newcastle concert on the 2001 tour was mixed like a Pablo version... Now I'm glad that these versions bear this out, vividly. King Tubby Meets the Rockers in a Coldhouse?

Instinctively, I shot this on 35mm tungsten film which gives it a blue cast, which was an attempt to get a "Day for Night" ambience, (referring to the film by Truffaut). What I didn't realise was how difficult this would be to print. We scanned it as RGB to get the detail and colour saturation, then we had to work out how to satisfy the CMYK format. There was hardly anything in the black channel.

Taormina features a lot in the film "Le Grand Bleu" (The Big Blue) by Luc Besson. It's about deep sea diving. It seemed to me an interesting counterpoint to Geir's love of the mountains, to think of the equivalent below the waterline. [Jon Wozencroft, May 2010]

Audio | Biosphere "Substrata 2.1"
1. Double Exposure 6:38
2. Infinium 7:07
3. The Things I Tell You 8:06

Track Notes:
Double Exposure
File saved: 16.May 2000, 14:08, Lunheim, Tromsdalen
A rebuild of an old track with none of the original elements left.

File saved: 8. June 1995, 18:17, Varden, Tromsø
A track that later split into "Hyperborea" and a remix for James.

The Things I Tell You v.4
File saved: 13. September 1995, 21:04, Alarmveien, Tromsdalen
Almost there. Version 5 ended up on the Substrata album.

Buy "Substrata 2.1" - A3 archival print edition + FLAC audio download
Buy "Substrata 2.1" - A3 archival print edition + 320kbps MP3 audio download

The previous Touch NewsLetter can be found here.