Life Just Bounces don't you get worried at all. (A weblog of music and otrogenerica)

Monday, 2 March 2009

#1: Philip Jeck – "Sand" (Touch, 2008)

The first in an ongoing series wherein i review every new (to me) record i hear this year (or until i regret this decision or am overwhelmed by circumstance).

Liverpool sonician Philip Jeck must have developed some kind of sonic alchemical device, judging by what we know about his compositional methods versus the sounds on Sand. Jeck is a kind of plunderphonic turntablist, using a variety of antique and modern turntables (apparently he's got about 200 now) to process sounds lifted from found records into new music.

The result is seven description-defying screeds of echoing, pulsating soundscapery wherein loops of glitches and rhythmic clicking rise and subside while high, ethereal washes take solos like jazz horn breaks and textured drones avalanche in and out behind it all. This is not by any means to suggest that it's some kind of bland wash of sound; "Residue"'s sudden interplay grabs the attention, for instance, and the jarring cut at 4:39 on "Chime Again" has you wondering momentarily if the needle's fallen off the record, before the sound pulls back the focus to reveal a subtler bed of textures underneath. Imagine (sometime Jeck collaborator) Fennesz covering The KLF's Chill Out at incredible volume at the other end of a very long (Mersey?) tunnel, and you still don't come all that close.

How he does all this with turntables and existing records is beyond me, unless, like i say, the turntables are actually a front for some kind of sound-melting consolidation contraption, or the records he's sampling accidentally fell off the back of a lorry and into a timewarp as a job lot in about the year 2274. The reason so many folk in the experimental music-type communities placed Sand so high in their end-of-year lists, however, is more readily apparent.

— Hear "Chime Again" as part of February mixtape

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