Touch Newsletter #178

Welcome to the Touch Newsletter #178. We are incredibly sad to lose not only an extraordinarily talented artist, but also a friend. Jóhann Jóhannsson R.I.P.

Yann Novak tours Europe in March to announce his second release for Touch, “The Future is a Forward Escape into the Past”. He will be joined onstage by many Touch favourites, in Stockholm, Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam and London. February’s launch party for Yann’s album at Human Resources, Los Angeles featured performances from Jasmin Blasco, Robert Crouch, Garek Druss, Jake Muir, Yann Novak, Zachary Paul, Geneva Skeen and Byron Westbrook. A recording of the evening is now available from Touch’s Bandcamp page. A review of the album and launch party can be read at

The Tapeworm announces two new tapes by Hanno Leichtmann and The Dead Mauriacs. Both tapes will be shipping on 9th March. Details below.

Jon Wozencroft has contributed to In Wild Air – their 8th and final edition. Read here…

Now broadcasting: Touch Radio 137 is by Richard Chartier and was recorded at a free in-store performance at Noize after the 1st Mutek Festival.

We will be releasing Ipek Gorgun’s new album, “Ecce Homo” later this spring/early summer. Here you can listen to her concert in London which was broadcast on BBC World Service in February.

Jóhann Jóhannsson 1969-2018

The news that Jóhann Jóhannsson has died hits hard. He configured a personal and progressive spirit, making a bridge between experimental music and Hollywood, for whom success was always subjugated to a humble awareness. Above everything he was a friend, a lovely person to work with. In his short career, he changed the way the world thinks about alternative music, then film soundtracks, and had this exceptional talent to merge classicism with noise and disturbance.

In Summer 2002 we finished production for Jóhann’s first release for Touch, his first outside Iceland and the Kitchen Motors project – “Englabörn”. It was Andrew McKenzie, the two of them still living in Iceland, who introduced us and encouraged us to release it. Jóhann is on record as saying how much he owed to McKenzie’s presence in Iceland, being an education and catalyst for his work. Then, in turn, it was Jóhann who suggested we work with Hildur Guðnadóttir and so a continuing light shines through our story.

The situation changes, ambitions become unaffordable financially, so it was part of the sequence that Jóhann moved into the next dimension, first recording for 4AD and being supported by Forma for live events, and latterly recording for Deutsche Grammaphon and winning multiple awards.

While he only released his first two albums with us (“Englabörn” in 2002 and two years later, “Virthulega Forsetar”), Jóhann always remained close to our operations, contributing new compositions to “Touch 25” in 2006 and the more recent “Touch Movements”. One of our favourite moments was when he expressed his joy after a live performance of “Virthulega Forsetar” at Ultima, Oslo in 2005. All who were there will never forget it – or him.

Jóhann’s work has made a huge impact on various films, we don’t need to list them here. We remember his sensitive soul… His dedication. It is easily heard, in the great work which will last beyond a lifetime.

Shortly before his passing, Jóhann completed “Englabörn & Variations”. With the support of his family, a remastered version of his debut album “Englabörn” and reworks by himself and others will be released on March 23rd via Deutsche Grammophon.

The Guardian – “Jóhann Jóhannsson: the late Icelandic composer who made loss sublime” by Joe Muggs
Crack Magazine – “Music by Jóhann Jóhannsson – Mixed by Dave Howell (130701/FatCat Records)”

TTW#104 | Hanno Leichtmann “SY-4”

Cassette only – limited edition of 100 copies. Shipping 9th March.

A: SY-4 Berlin Mix
B: SY-4 Budapest Mix

Hanno Leichtmann writes: “SY-4 was a four-channel sound installation I presented at the SYN/CUSSION festival in May 2017. It is a homage to my most beloved of electronic instruments: the SY-1 Syncussion Drum Synth by Pearl.

The installation, an 18 min loop, was made exclusively with recordings of the SY-1, with only a touch of reverb added here and there. SY-4 Berlin Mix is more-or-less one loop of the installation, in a stereo mix.SY-4 Budapest Mix was recorded at 4D Sound, Budapest, during a residency in August 2017. For this mix I mostly worked with unused prerecorded sounds and samples of the SY-1, run through a ER-301 Sound Computer.” – Hanno Leichtmann, Berlin, 15.ii.2018

Buy Hanno Leichtmann “SY-4” in the TouchShop
More information on

TTW#105 | The Dead Mauriacs “Divertissements et malaises: airs à danser”

Cassette only – limited edition of 75 copies. Shipping 9th March.

A1: Italiens en canon
A2: Radio chiffrée, vague protocole
A3: Intermède grand band
A4: L’importance des chemises en rayonne
A5: Danses sacrées des ambassades
A6: Courte tension
B1: Aloha Titanic
B2: Clair de lune interrompu
B3: No da dada
B4: Révélation des hiboux

The Dead Mauriacs: field recordings, real and fake piano, files, computer, music.

The Dead Mauriacs’ music is a journey into post-industrial landscapes, non-sensical hörspiel, concrete exotica, Ballardian dystopia: a joyful nightmare. It is Olivier Prieur’s art and music project – primarily a solo act, but occasionally a collective with the addition of nice and lovely people such as Susan Matthews, Vincent Domeyne, Thorsten Soltau, Jan Warnke and Michael Esposito – with recent and forthcoming releases on Discrepant, NPH and Geräuschmanufaktur.

Buy The Dead Mauriacs “Divertissements et malaises: airs à danser” in the TouchShop
More information on

Tone 60 | “Live at Human Resources”

Recorded live on February 23rd at Human Resources, Los Angeles, USA
Curated by Mike Harding and Yann Novak

To launch the release of Yann Novak’s second album for Touch, a live event was held at Human Resources on 23rd February in Los Angeles. The evening also included a tribute to Jóhann Jóhannsson by the ensemble. In performance: Jasmin Blasco, Robert Crouch, Garek Druss, Jake Muir, Yann Novak, Zachary Paul, Geneva Skeen, and Byron Westbrook.

Download “Live at Human Resources” from Touch’s Bandcamp page

Touch Radio 137 | Richard Chartier

28.02.18 – Richard Chartier – “Noize [Montreal, Canada] June 10, 2000” – 23:25 – 320 kbps

A free in-store performance at Noize after the 1st Mutek Festival. Heavy on sounds from his ‘pop’ album “PostFabricated”, it was accidentally recorded in mono at the event.

Subscribe to the TouchPod podcast of TouchRadio via the iTunes Music Store
Play “Noize [Montreal, Canada] June 10, 2000”

March 2018 | Yann Novak European Tour

Yann Novak’s tour of Europe will visit Stockholm, Berlin, Brussels, Amsterdam and London.

9.3.18 – Fylkingen, Stockholm, SE
Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Leif Elggren, Yann Novak
Further info:

11.3.18 – Spektrum, Berlin, DE
Yann Novak, Pedro André and Ignaz Schick
Further info:

14.3.18 – AB Salon, Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, BE
Philip Jeck, Yann Novak
Further info:

15.3.18 – De Ruimte, Amsterdam, NL
Philip Jeck, Yann Novak, Orphax
Further info:

23.3.18 – Iklectik, London, UK
Philip Jeck, Yann Novak, Simon Scott
Further info:

TO:105 | Yann Novak – “The Future is a Forward Escape into the Past”

CD – 4 tracks – 41:28
Gatefold ekopak + full album download

Photography & design by Jon Wozencroft
Mastered by Lawrence English at 158

Track listing:
1. Radical Transparency
2. The Inertia of Time
3. Casting Ourselves Back into the Past
4. Nothing Ever Transcends its Immediate Environment

All tracks composed and recorded by Yann Novak in Los Angeles 2017. Vocal sample on “Nothing Ever Transcends its Immediate Environment” by Geneva Skeen.

‘The Future is a Forward Escape Into the Past’ is the latest album by Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist and composer Yann Novak, and his second for Touch. It considers the relationships between memory, time, and context through four vibrantly constructed tracks that push Novak’s work in a new direction while simultaneously exploring his sonic past. ‘The Future is a Forward Escape Into the Past’ is composed as a quadriptych – a single gesture broken into four parts – that meditates on the inevitable progression of time, our relationship to the past, and our distortion of the past through the imperfections of memory. The album will be released February 23, 2018 on the London-based label Touch. Available digitally and on CD, the physical version will be packaged in a gatefold sleeve as a limited edition of 500.

The album’s conceptual roots stem from ‘The Archaic Revival’ by American ethnobotanist and psychonaut Terence McKenna. In it, McKenna theorizes that when a culture becomes dysfunctional it attempts to revert back to a saner moment in its own history. He suggested that abstract expressionism, body piercing and tattooing, psychedelic drug use, sexual permissiveness, and rave culture were proof of this default to a more primal time. The text’s idealism was influential to Novak in the ‘90s, but today the theory bears a darkly-veiled resemblance to the rise of nostalgia-driven nationalism. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the signifiers of a ‘better time’ – McKenna’s idea highlights our propensity for selective memory, seeing history through the lens of memory instead of fact. On ‘The Future is a Forward Escape Into the Past’ Novak looked back at his own older works through this lens as inspiration.

“For this album I was interested in expanding into a more emotive compositional style and palette. In doing so, I was reminded that this was territory I had covered early on in my career — the whole process became a way to reconnect with my own past and history.”

The Album’s four tracks dynamically shift and surge, where time is rendered as material and momentum compels it into movement. Subtle distortion throughout the album ties the tracks together and echoes techniques explored in Novak’s ‘Meadowsweet’ (Dragon’s Eye, 2006). Tension gives way to a halcyon vision of place in “Radical Transparency,” immediately followed by the austere swells of “The Inertia of Time,” a piece that captures the twin impulse of generating optimistic beauty in harshly muted tones. Both tracks introduce subtle bass swells and stabs reminiscent of ‘In Residence’ (Dragon’s Eye, 2008). From there, the album grows darker with “Casting Ourselves Back into the Past,” and “Nothing Ever Transcends its Immediate Environment,” two icier tracks that preserve the album’s core: a layer of something long since passed that locks us into the very moment we inhabit. The latter introduces a processed vocal sample of Geneva Skeen, similar to Novak’s collaborative work with Marc Manning on ‘Pairings’ (Dragon’s Eye, 2007). The album is a study in perception and alteration, manipulation and awareness, effectively capturing Novak’s command of emotional texturing.

Buy Yann Novak “The Future is a Forward Escape into the Past” in the TouchShop

Guerrilla Audio

Guerrilla Audio is a new series of audio raids by Simon Fisher Turner.

noun: guerilla
a member of a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger regular forces.

Each audio edit will be posted for 14 days and then removed from the site, although the information about each guerrilla activity will be archived, but without the audio. There will be two postings per month with the first (also featuring Klara Lewis & Rainier Lericolais) on 1st August 2015, so please check in regularly to listen to the latest offering. We are well into the 3rd year and have just posted episode 63…

Guerrilla Audio

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