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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

44.1 kHz Archive

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Various Artists
Touch 25

Numerous experimental print publications (E/I and Grooves come to mind) have been boarding up their doors recently, if only to shield their eyes from the glow of the Internet. All signs, written or otherwise, are becoming detached, disembodied from any real content, floating in an immaterial realm where everything seems exchangeable. This is an old story of which many have taken notice; Touch have taken notice of it, using it as a springboard for the tracks on their 25th anniversary album.

Touch 25 is not so much mourning for a real image as an attempt to reconstruct one. The tracks side with the digital realm, pushing compositions beyond the reach of gravity, beyond the plane of the real — but with the apparent intention that all this pushing will eventually bring about their collapse. Sound artist BJ Nilson (who's followed by Oren Ambarchi, Fennesz, Chris Watson, Peter Rehberg, Pan Sonic, Philip Jeck, Ryoji Ikeda and a host of others) opens the disc with "Gotland," burying the sound of rustling leaves beneath caustic digital textures and crashing waves, amplified so as to be recognizable yet unnatural. The spatial acoustics and microphonic recording process are manipulated to bring out a number of hidden themes, into which the following tracks delve further. Philip Jeck's contribution offers a spectral woodwind hum, swathed in crackling particles of static, rattling cymbals, with a wistful (though altogether out of place) string melody giving the piece an uncanny air. Selections from Peter Rehberg and Ryoji Ikeda, meanwhile, seem to find the group lodged all but entirely in some far-off hinterworld. Rehberg slips a flurry of sharp chords into jagged rhythmic sequences, while a more minimalist Ikeda pastes cold microtones and ultra-low frequency sine-waves into gray, cavernous drones.

The contributors' similar interests make the album flow well, especially for a compilation. Even molecularized pieces such as the Mother Tongue's "Rewording" manage to keep the album's momentum going. Tribal drumming gives the track a ceremonial atmosphere; unidentified noises growl as a disengaged female voice tells a story of "Words/ Once these words had been flesh/ Full like young lips/ Now without your breath, they are dried-out/ Footmarks in dry land." The standout work, though, is Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson's. "Tu Non Mi Perderai Mai" begins with the slow burn of a string section fighting against the steely dissonance of its background. Clusters of alien sonar signals soar above the turbulent violin winds, but the piece never crests, and gradually the howling drone breathes in the strings and high-frequency tones. A dreary, challenging and unrelenting album, Touch 25 allows each fragment to produce its own vertigo.

by Max Schaefer

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