Welcome to the 127th Touch Newsletter. “Faith” is the first full-length sound release by media researcher and curator Heitor Alvelos under his own name. Heitor Alvelos has been a long-time on/off collaborator of Touch, having on occasion provided photography and stage visuals for Biosphere, Fennesz, BJNilsen, Rafael Toral and Philip Jeck, as well as releasing sound pieces under the aliases Autodigest, Antifluffy and Before Surgery, on Ash International, TouchRadio and The Tapeworm. Details on his Touch debut below…
Touch Radio 113 by Simon Scott is now broadcasting. Scott is a multi-instrumentalist, sound ecologist and composer from Cambridge, UK. His new album (and journal) “Below Sea Level” was recently released by Touch’s TOUCHLINE imprint – details below. His work explores the creative process of actively listening, the implications of recording the natural world using technology and the manipulation of natural sounds used for musical composition. He plays in Slowdive and has recently collaborated with artists such as James Blackshaw, Nils Frahm, Taylor Deupree, ISAN and Machinefabriek.
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TO:97 | Heitor Alvelos “Faith”
CD - 12 tracks - 40:20
Released 1st June 2015
Photography: Jon Wozencroft & Heitor Alvelos
Mastered by Denis Blackham
6. Vicarious Solace
7. The Way of Malamat
9. The Other
10. Home, Elicited
11. The Hopeful Night
“Faith” is the first full-length sound release by media researcher and curator Heitor Alvelos under his own name. Heitor Alvelos has been a long-time on/off collaborator of Touch, having on occasion provided photography and stage visuals for Biosphere, Fennesz, BJNilsen, Rafael Toral and Philip Jeck, as well as releasing sound pieces under the aliases Autodigest, Antifluffy and Before Surgery, on Ash International, TouchRadio and The Tapeworm.
“The essence of the present piece is autobiographical: therefore the use of my own name”, the author clarifies. “And yet it aims at being resonant to others”: in this context, resonance may be regarded as both semantic and visceral, as the sound frequencies on Faith are often of the kind that “rearrange one’s organs”, to quote the recently departed Bernadette Martou. A necessity in order to carry the gravitas inherent to the subject, a confessional confrontation with the zeitgeist.
All sources have been gathered, recorded and produced throughout five decades, all the way back to a recording by Francisco Alvelos in 1972 that closes the release. Elsewhere, sounds have been processed to various degrees, the bookends retaining their original contexts, others mutating into deep abstraction. Overall, they flow as one single composition, evocative and foreboding in equal measures.
Buy Heitor Alvelos "Faith" [CD] in the TouchShop
…also available as 24-bit WAV Download files
Touch Radio 113 | Simon Scott
27.04.15 - Simon Scott - Caxton Gibbet - 31:36 - 320 kbps
The word 'gibbet' is used both to refer to an executional structure and to a hanging iron cage that used to display the remains of executed prisoners; when someone is thusly displayed, it is known as ‘gibbeting’.
Recording the wooden gibbet in 2012, believed to be haunted burial site and located at Caxton in Cambridgeshire, to capture the sound of the gallows wood (elm) and saproxylic (dead wood) invertebrates (beetles) that lived within it was a challenge because of the vast amount of traffic that passes by. It is located beside a busy roundabout (A428 to Cambridge) and I initially found it difficult to capture the wooden gibbet creaking and moving in the way I had envisaged. I therefore used contact microphones to get inside the construction. I was inspired by the grim history of this location, the place of multiple murders and capital punishment, and also from reading about Bernie Krause (b.1938) who, on the CD included in his wonderful book "Wild Soundscapes", explains that “recordings are an illusion… the best microphone systems and recorders cannot possibly reproduce exactly what our ears hear in the holophonic way that we hear it” (2002). He documented acoustic environments that faced dramatic change or extinction but often needed to recreate the sounds of nature by double tracking or changing microphone placement.
This location has changed dramatically recently as a McDonalds fast food restaurant opened a restaurant on this site recently.
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Play Simon Scott “Caxton Gibbet”
TOUCHLINE2 | Simon Scott “Below Sea Level”
Digital Download - One track (wav) - 34:07
74pp PDF booklet of photographs, maps and text
1. Below Sea Level [you can listen to an extract here]
Robert Macfarlane: “It’s an amazing sound world, into which you fall (subside).”
￼fen |fen| n. a low and marshy or frequently flooded area of land: a flooded fen. (the Fens) flat, low-lying areas of eastern England, formerly marshland but largely drained for agriculture since the 17th century.
“Below Sea Level” follows the creative process of tracing the contours of the landscape to discover the ephemeral acoustic environment. There is very little evidence of previously detailed musical, acoustical or aural studies of the Fens despite music composition and the natural sonic landscape being associated together since the eighteenth century (Vivaldi wrote his composition The Four Seasons in 1723). Books have been written, maps drawn and photographs taken, but never a sonic exploration of areas that reside below mean sea level.
To contextualise this project, the history of the Fens and previous writings on sound ecology will be discussed. In particular, the work of the Pierre Schaeffer (1910-1995), R. Murray Schafer (b. 1933) and Bernie Krause (b. 1938) will be considered. The creative process of actively listening, the implications of recording the natural world using technology and the manipulation of natural sounds used for musical composition are also explored.
Buy Simon Scott “Below Sea Level” [WAV Download + .pdf] in the TouchShop
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The previous Touch NewsLetter can be found here.