Phill Niblock - Touch Three

Touch # TO:69
3CDs in digipak
Artwork: Jon Wozencroft
Photography: Phill Niblock
Barcode: 502780314692

Track Listing:

CD one

"Sethwork" (21:48, 2003) Seth Josel, acoustic unamplified guitars played with e-bow
"Harm" (24:43, 2003) Arne Deforce, cello
"Lucid Sea" (20:24, 2003) Lucia Mense, recorders

CD two

"Parker's Altered Mood, aka, Owed to Bird" (16:27, 2004) Ulrich Krieger, alto saxophone
"Zrost" (23:32, 2004) Martin Zrost, soprano saxophone
"Not Yet Titled" (22:20, 2003) Franz Hautzinger, trumpet

CD three

"Valence" (2005, 23:02) Julia Eckhardt, viola
"Alto Tune" (25:08, 2004) Ulrich Krieger, alto saxophone
"Sax Mix" (25:08, 2004) Ulrich Krieger, alto, tenor and baritone saxo

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.

"Harm" (24:43, March 18, 2003) Arne Deforce, cello . The recording of the tones was done by Johan Vandermaelen (Amplus) in the Orpheus Institute in Gent, Belgium, direct to the hard drive. The piece was finished in Berlin and premiered at Maerz Musik Festival (the day after finishing). It was commissioned by Maerz Musik.

"Sethwork" (21:48, 2003) Seth Josel, acoustic, unamplified guitars played with e-bow, June 21 2003

"Lucid Sea" (20:24, August 8, 2003) Lucia Mense, recorders

These two pieces were commisioned by Deutschland Radio in Cologne, Germany. Frank Kaempfer, producer; Michael Peschko, recording engineer for the recording of the guitar samples and the recorder samples at the Deutschlandradio Studios in Cologne.

The piece was constructed in the Experimental Intermedia studios in New York (Sethwork) and in Gent (Lucid Sea), in Protools. The broadcast was on Saturday October 4, 2003 at 2205 on Deutschland Radio in Cologne, "ATELIER NEUER MUSIK". There was a commentary and an interview by the critic and author Egbert Hiller.

It was for the 70th birthday of Phill Niblock, which was October 2.

"Parker's Altered Mood, aka, Owed to Bird" (16:27, 2004) Ulrich Krieger, alto saxophone. The tones for this piece and for "Alto Tune" were recorded in Berlin in Ulrich Krieger's apartment (very nice sound; high, peaked ceiling) with Thomas Ankersmit recording, using his Neumann microphone, direct to HD through Mac Powerbook/Protools/Mbox. For 'Mood", I asked Ulrich to pick a Parker tune for the theme. We decided on "Mood", a slow blues, a thirteen note theme. We recorded Ulrich playing each note for about 15 seconds, the thirteen notes in succession, and for six repetitions of the theme. Ulrich did not listen to the previous takes, so the notes are slightly out of tune with each other, creating the microtones I would have made in Protools. The piece starts with all six playings of the theme, superimposed.

"Zrost" (23:32, 2004) Martin Zrost, soprano saxophone. Martin had just bought a new soprano, which sounded great, so we recorded in his work room in Vienna.

"Not Yet Titled" (22:20, 2003) Franz Hautzinger, trumpet. The tones were recorded in Volker Straebel's apartment in Steglitz, Berlin, on a summer afternoon, with the balcony door open, the sounds of birds and planes coming through. Melvyn Poore was the engineer, using Franz's Neumann microphone, mostly in the bell of the trumpet. Franz produced the low bass sounds with the horn. We premiered the piece in a Musikprotokoll concert in the Steirischen Herbst Festival, Graz, Austria. It was commissioned by them as well.

"Valence" (2005, 23:02) Julia Eckhardt, viola. "Valence" was commissioned by the Q O2 Ensemble, Brussels, and the tones were recorded by Johan Vandermaelen in his studio in the Belgian countryside.

"Alto Tune" (25:08, 2004) Ulrich Krieger, alto saxophone. Recording info noted above.

"Sax Mix" (25:08, 2004) Ulrich Krieger, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones.

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Phill Niblock - Touch Three

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Track 1:  Sethwork

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