PHILL NIBLOCK
Touch Three

[Touch, www.touchmusic.org.uk]

The liner notes to Phill Niblock's latest grand oeuvre start off like this. "These nine pieces were made from March 2003 to January 2005. They were all made (except "Sax Mix") by recording a single instrument with a single microphone. The recordings were direct to the computer/hard disk, most of them using my Powerbook G4, Protools, an M-box and an external firewire drive. The resulting mono sound files were edited to remove breathing spaces, leaving the natural decay of the tone, and the attack of the subsequent iteration of the same tone. Each note was represented by several repetitions, perhaps ten for each tone, of about 15 seconds duration each. Each piece uses a few tones. A simple chord, perhaps. Additional microtonal intervals were produced in Protools using pitch shift. The pieces were assembled in multitracks, usually either 24 or 32 tracks. The recording environment varied from a simple apartment in Berlin (Ulrich Krieger's) to a very large hall used for symphony orchestra performances and recordings, with a sizable audience space (Deutschland Radio, Cologne). The recordings were generally done quite closely miked. One hears only the sound of the instrument. There is no electronic manipulation in the recording, the editing of the tones, or in the mix. The only changes to the recorded tones are the pitch shifts to create microtones. The microtones are doing the work." Over the course of almost 2 1/2 hour span, 70 year old Niblock reclaims his position as one minimalist composer the world has long overlooked. Not only are the pieces on this 3 CD set enrapturing, they're also ideal in drilling a near perfect tone into your brain. Persistently stubborn in his approach, Niblock approached each piece as a newborn. Each one is different in its appearance and each one has something entirely new to offer. "Sethwork" for instance is a longish tone-world [all pieces are in the realm of the 20 minute mark] that features Seth Josel on acoustic unamplified guitars that are played with an e-bow. Throughout the piece's 22 minute length, a single tone is initiated that is gently drawn out to its natural conclusion. So it goes through "Lucid Sea", where recorders are utilized by Lucia Mense. Caressing, still atmosphere once again emerges and is kept boiling at low heat. In fact, nothing on the project indicates any sort of explosion or upheaval in mood. Named after the player, "Zrost" features soprano saxophonist Martin Zrost who just bought a new soprano, which Niblock decided to record. Once again, smoothed out tones are prevalent and atmosphere is thick as a fog. One of the stand-out pieces is "Not Yet Titled", featuring the talents of the quarter-tone trumpeter Franz Hautzinger. A microphone was placed inside of the bell of the trumpet and "outside" sources - sounds of birds and planes - were left as is. Though there is a distinct trumpet sound that comes through, overall the piece feels more like a cheap synth solo. This is the beauty of the whole enterprise - making individual instruments either retain their own sense of identity or making this identity nonexistent. Oddly enough, Niblock reconciles the two well. As on "Valence", where Julia Eckhardt's instrument resembles an alp horn rather than the viola that she's actually playing. At the end of this enormous opus, I was left with my jaw hanging from my mouth. Rarely have I heard something that stunned me so quickly and affected me to such an extent. More demanding than "Touch Works for Hurdy Gurdy and Voice" this is an album that demands absolute concentration and a firm, patient ear. Firmly positioned in the here and now of contemporary music, Niblock's "Touch Three" is a new paradigm by which future minimal works will be judged.

- Tom Sekowski


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RECENZJE

+ Alan Courtis - Antiguos Dólmenes del Paleolitico
+ Afflux - Bordeaux TNT
+ Tony Conrad & Faust - Outside the Dream Syndicate. Alive
+ Ohkami No Jikan - Mort Nuit
+ Hati - Hati vs. Z'EV
+ Directing Hand - Bells for Augustin Lesage
+ Glenn Jones - This is the Wind that Blows It Out
+ Birgit Ulher - Scatter
+ Sascha Demand - Plakationa
+ David Chiesa - Phonemes
+ With Throats as Fine as Needles - With Throats as Fine as Needles
+ Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood - Goodbye
+ Slomo - The Creep
+ Anthony Braxton - 3 Compositions Of New Jazz / Anthony Braxton - 8 Duets: Hamburg 1991 / Anthony Braxton and Richard Teitelbaum - Duet: Live at Merkin Hall, NYC / Anthony Braxton/Chris Dahlgren - ABCD
+ 050
+ Das Bierbeben - Alles Fallt
+ Couch - Figur 5
+ Crowdpleaser & St-Plomb - 2006
+ Cuts & Pieces
+ Boogy Bytes Vol. 2 - Mixed By Sascha Funke
+ Eddie Zarook & Casio Casino - 6Ft Dunder/Was
+ ISAN - Plans Drawn In Pencil
+ Elbee Bad - Realisty Check 4 All
+ The Gentleman Losers - The Gentleman Losers
+ Lump 200 - Dizzyland
+ Motor Soul Vol. 1
+ SCSI-9 - The Line Of Nine
+ Sinner DC - Mount Age
+ Soylent Green - La Forza Del Destino
+ Stop Disco Mafia - You Don't Wanna Know
+ Joanna Słowińska - Live in Alchemia
+ Transkapela - Sound & Shadows

- - - - - - - - -

+ PUMICE - Yeahnahvienna / STAFRAENN HAKON - Ventill/Poki / WOODEN WAND - Harem of the Sundrum & The Witness Figg
+ BABYSHAMBLES - Down in Albion
+ VENOM - Metal Black
+ ROBERT PIOTROWICZ - Rurokura and the Final Warn
+ ÖLVIS - Ölvis
+ LOTUS - The Strength of Weak Ties
+ THE CONGOS & FRIENDS - Fisherman Style
+ LIZZY MERCIER DESCLOUX - Best Off
+ NO NECK BLUES BAND & EMBRYO - EmbryoNNCK
+ WILLIAM BASINSKI - The Garden of Brokenness
>> PHILL NIBLOCK - Touch Three
+ PUB - Single - Legless
+ THE IMPOSSIBLE SHAPES - Tum
+ ORBIT SERVICE - Songs of Eta Carinae
+ GEORG GRAEWE / ERNST REIJSEGER / GERRY HEMINGWAY - Continuum
+ IZU - Going Salamander
+ SUNDAYRUNNERS - SundayRunners
+ AMPARANOIA - La Vida Te Da
+ CARL LUDWIG HUBSCH LONGRUN DEVELOPMENT OF THE UNIVERSE - Is This Our Music? 2
+ PAUL BRADLEY - Memorias extranjeras
+ MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ - Live 1984-1985
+ SAO PAULO UNDERGROUND - Sauna: Um, Dois, Tres
+ BLOOD MUSIC - Sing a Song Fighter!
+ RICHARD YOUNGS - The Naive Shaman
+ ANOUAR BRAHEM - Le Voyage de Sahar
+ THE GREASEBALLS - Tombstone Wax
+ ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE / ROBERT MONTOYA / MARCOS FERNANDES / RENT ROMUS - Reverberations from Spring Past
+ KAI FAGASCHINSKI & BERNARD GAL - Going Round in Serpentines
+ DANIELSON - Ships
+ ROBERT POLLARD - From a Compound Eye
+ CHAS SMITH - Descent
+ PUPKULIES & REBECCA - The Way We / CODEC & FLEXOR - Killermachine / TOLCHA - Gestalt / SASCHA BOOSE - Feel The Flow / COSMIC SLAVE - The Spirit of Summer / HEIDI MORTENSON - Wired Stuff

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WYWIADY / RELACJE

+ Szaleństwo i tradycja - wywiad z Arturem Rojkiem [Myslovitz]
+ Wreszcie na swoim - wywiad z Jackiem Lachowiczem
+ Przekształcamy świadomość - wywiad z Dariuszem Wojtasiem [Hati]