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Ark for the Listener

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Audio CD, September 28, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Philip Jeck works with old records and record players salvaged from junk shops turning them to his own purposes. He really does play them as musical instruments, creating an intensely personal language that evolves with each added part of a record. Philip Jeck makes geniunely moving and transfixing music, where we hear the art not the gimmick. Philip Jeck writes: "A version of "An ark for the listener" was first performed at Kings Place London on 24/02/2010. It is a meditation on verse 33 of "The Wreck of the Deutchsland", Gerard Manley Hopkins poem about the drowning on December 7th 1875 of five Franciscan nuns exiled from Germany. This CD version was recorded at home in Liverpool and used extracts from live performances over the last 12 months. The "coda:" tracks are remixes of 2 pieces from "Suite: Live in Liverpool". "chime, chime(re-rung)" was originally made for Musicworks magazine (#104, Summer 09) and "all that's allowed (remix)" is previously unreleased. All tracks were made using Fidelity record-players, Casio SK1 keyboards, Sony mini-disc recorders, Behringer mixers, Ibanez bass guitar, Boss delay pedal and Zoom bass effects pedal." An ark... is Jeck's 6th solo album for touch since 'Loopholes' in 1995. The Wire reckoned it was 'Stoke' (Touch, 2002) which 'made him great, but his body of work and his achingly brilliant live sets are rapidly defining him as one of our best artists, and his recent award from The Paul Hamlyn Foundation confirms him as such. Philip Jeck studied visual art at Dartington College of Arts. He started working with record players and electronics in the early '80's and has made soundtracks and toured with many dance and theatre companies as we as well as his solo concert work. His best kown work "Vinyl Requiem" (with Lol Sargent): a performance for 180 '50's/'60's record players won Time Out Performance Award for 1993. He has also over the last few years returned to visual art making installations using from 6 to 80 record players including "Off The Record" for Sonic Boom at The Hayward Gallery, London [2000). In 2010 he won one of The Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Composition.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 28, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Touch UK
  • ASIN: B003WKA7RG
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,157 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Egbert on May 4, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Little is wasted in Philip Jeck's workshop. I get the feeling that if he dropped a beer glass in his kitchen while his minidisk was recording, he'd sample the sound of the crash, loop it, bend it and twist it out of true until it was ready to feature on one of his recordings. For all intents, one would never know what the sound at which he arrived originally was, either. As you've read above in the product description, here Mr. Jeck manipulates bells of all kinds: cathedral, sleigh, market, hand bells, door chimes, music boxes for all I know. The result is an immense sound world like a killing fog at sea (appropriately enough), tiny eddies of synth working against the grain to clever effect; church bell tones drawn out like taffy, expanded top and bottom, transpose into booming minor chords until they become the impenetrable mist they themselves, had they not been repurposed by Jack, might have warned against in another context. An otherworldly miasma expands and contracts (mostly the former) through these 'compositions' (though you might as well listen to the whole thing in one sitting; it is that well sequenced) until we arrive at "The All of Water," in which the listener at last goes under and does not resurface, distant foghorns waving farewell. I for one hope that the five Franciscan nuns who didn't survive the wreck of the DEUTSCHLAND are in a better place. In this CD you'll hear some of their possible agony, and maybe a little of their transcendence.
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