Published by Ashgate, this book by James Saunders features a chapter on Philip Jeck (and Phill Niblock). It is available from Amazon, but it is very pricey…
Using different media, both Philip Jeck and William Basinski explore the gradual decay and manipulation of recorded sound. Jeck, using turntables, is fascinated by the inherent flaws and sonic detritus amplified by his record players, each crackle and undulation woven into the very fabric of his work, imprinting a personal history into every layer of sound. Basinski, in turn, investigates the gradual and physical deterioration of material recorded to tape, most famously on his four-part ‘Disintegration Loops’ whereby recordings he made in the 80’s were re-examined after years in storage, marking the passage of time and circumstance through every dilapidated moment. Although their work loosely falls into what Simon Reynolds has termed Hauntology, Jeck and Basinski stand apart from most of their contemporaries by working within a precise physical methodology, one that allows involuntary and gradual physical erosion to shape the material, rather than just formulating a revisionist re-enactment of the past. This 14 track selection offers an overview of their work, etching years of recorded sound through a kind of environmentally autobiographical bubble that’s both endlessly fascinating and, often, emotionally overwhelming.
Faster Than Sound presents The Suffolk Symphony by Touch, featuring Philip Jeck, BJNilsen, Jon Wozencroft, Mike Harding and Philip Marshall.
8pm – 11pm, Saturday 22 August
Hoffmann Building: Britten Studio and Jerwood Kiln Studio, Snape
Box Office: +44 (0)1728 687110
Book tickets online
Faster Than Sound bring more imaginative experiments with sound and image to the Snape Proms with The Suffolk Symphony, a specially commissioned residency and new work by leading sonic and visual production company Touch. Inspired by the historic coastline of Aldeburgh and its surrounding area including Aldeburgh Music’s Snape Proms and its history, Touch will create a new audio-visual symphony from scratch, using only locally sourced sounds and images. Beginning on 16 August, Philip Jeck, BJNilsen, Jon Wozencroft, Philip Marshall and Mike Harding will go on a week-long treasure hunt to unearth old records, field recordings, home-made sounds and images to create a new multimedia Suffolk Symphony, culminating in its first performance on the 22 August.
Following the offer of an Aldeburgh Residency by Faster Than Sound’s creative producer Joana Seguro, Mike Harding responded with the idea of creating a new multimedia work purely from locally sourced sound and image. Mike and BJNilsen went on an exploratory field trip in May to make initial field recordings which are being made into vinyl to be used in the performance, plus to kick start the project website www.thesuffolksymphony.net. The artists are already busy exchanging ideas in preparation for the residency in August, with Jeck drawing inspiration from the work of Benjamin Britten, especially his Simple Symphony, and Jon Wozencroft planning to describe the special place of Aldeburgh on film, shot in real time during the residency.
Directed by Mike Harding with sound by Philip Jeck and BJNilsen and images by Jon Wozencroft, the whole week will be documented for an interactive website by Philip Marshall. The residency will feature workshops and presentations by Philip Marshall and Mike Harding, including interviews with the other artists and a Touch showcase, culminating in the performance which will take place in the recently converted industrial space of the Hoffmann Building. The Suffolk Symphony will be subsequently released through Touch.
The interviews by Mike Harding during the residency will include a discussion with his partner Jon Wozencroft about his vision for Touch, now nearly 30 years old, and an assessment of the changes which have occurred in that period. Philip Jeck will discuss his work, particularly the method behind his live and recorded output, which eschews conventional instrumentation. BJNilsen assesses how field recordings have developed as source material for his work, and Philip Marshall describes the way artists communicate their ideas online and how this affects the relationship between them and their audience. Each interview lasts for one hour, including a 15 minute Q & A session, and dates and times will be shortly be announced via the website.
Hortense Ellis – I Am Just A Girl [Studio One, 1979] – designer unknown
Philip Jeck’s Sand [Touch # TO:67, 2008] was voted No. 2 in The Wire’s Top Albums of 2008
Pitchfork Media (USA) – reviewed in 2008:
Music built from found sounds is fascinating because it violates a traditional tenet of creativity – namely, that the artifact must be a pure expression of the artist’s will and talent. But it can seem purely academic if the results aren’t engaging. The best process-based art moves us intellectually if we’re aware of the concept, but still moves us emotionally if we aren’t, and that’s what Philip Jeck achieves with Sand. He manipulates, layers, and loops the dead spaces of vinyl – run-out grooves and scratches – and breathes them full of life. That’s awesome, but you don’t need to know it in order to feel the surging power of the “Fanfares” trilogy (which emanates from scraps of Aaron Copland’s wartime anthem “Fanfare for the Common Man”), or to become entangled in the fine-woven web of “Shining”. You could write a dissertation on Jeck’s rehabilitation of lost and damaged bits of cultural information, or you could just get lost in his strange world – as flat and sprawling and complexly shifting as its title implies. [Brian Howe]
“Off the Record” – The Hayward Gallery, London 2000 [part of Sonic Boom, curated by David Toop]
“Vinyl Coda V” – Bangkok, Thailand 2007
“Vinyl Graveyard” – Haarlem, The Netherlands 2003
“Vinyl Pond” – Bruges, Belgium 2002
“Vinyl Pond” – Szczecin, Poland 2005