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Review of: VARIOUS | Touch Sampler.3 (Touch), CD
Reviewed by: ASG, Aaron
Date: ~ 1998\

Installation 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 of: VARIOUS | Touch Sampler.3 (Touch), CD
Rviewed by: Sound Projector (UK)
Date: ~ 1998\

"Terrific 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.

After 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 side 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.

Linking 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 discovered 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.

Unofficial 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 becoming inescapable."

The World is so full of a number of things...I'm sure we ahould all be happy as Kings.


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