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Composer Jeck works with old, Casio keyboards, Ibanez bass guitar, Sony MiniDisc players, Ibanez and Zoom effects pedals, assorted percussion, a Behringer mixer, in his first album in 5 years, blending hallucinatory soundwork with surprisingly harder tones.

Jeck, Philip
Cardinal [VINYL 2 LPS]

Jeck, Philip: Cardinal [VINYL 2 LPS] (Touch)

Label: Touch    
Released in: Great Britain    

Philip Jeck writes: "To make this record I used Fidelity record players, Casio keyboards, Ibanez bass guitar, Sony MiniDisc players, Ibanez and Zoom effects pedals, assorted percussion, a Behringer mixer and it was edited it at home with MiniDisc players and on a laptop computer."

"...and they sparkled like burnished brass" "Out of the depths of our complaints, it could be all so simple. To be never fooled by the finesse of a long-yearned for solidity, but in the momentary aplomb of a sleepy walk threading through familiar streets we'd hum our way, alto, baritone and tenor toward some harmonious end. An effect like some wonderful recollection of one or other of those technicolour movies. Not real for sure, but if you are in the mood..."

"I would like to acknowledge the influence the writer Marilynne Robinson has had on this work. I would recommend reading any/all of her four novels and also When I was a Child I Read Books (Virago, 2012). This collection of essays includes 'Austerity as Ideology,' which dissects prevailing economic thinking, and 'Open Thy Hand Wide,' which continues with a celebration of liberal thinking as Generosity (and also turned over my received knowledge of Calvinism). Her ability to convey a love of humanity and sense of wonder about the great mystery of existence in her writing has, since I first read a book of hers, found a way into the way I think about my work -- not illustrating but meditating upon." (April 2015)

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. Jeck makes genuinely moving and transfixing music in which one hears the art, not the gimmick. He started working with record players and electronics in the early '80s and has made soundtracks and toured with many dance and theatre companies in addition to his solo concert work.

His best-known work, Vinyl Requiem (with Lol Sargent), a performance for 180 '50s/'60s record players, won the Time Out Performance Award in 1993. In 2010, Jeck won a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Composers Award. This gatefold double LP comes with a download code for Jeck's "Live in Caen," recorded by Franck Dubois on February 28, 2015, at Impressions Multiples #4 (ésam Caen/Cherbourg), with thanks to Thierry Weyd."-Touc

"At their best, the records of experimental British composer and producer Philip Jeck can make you reimagine the way you hear the world. For most of his career, Jeck has used the record and the record player as both primary inspiration and chief instrument. He processes the static sounds archived on forgotten LPs, sampling and obfuscating the source material until it yields and blurs into new pieces. Though he uses little but effects pedals and processors to transmogrify the music, it can seem at times that Jeck physically warps the grooves themselves, turning concentric circles into Catherine wheels or paisley vectors or interconnected figure eights. If hip-hop's architects sampled aging sounds to create their own modern world, Jeck uses many of the same tools to create an alternate, individual one that he then invites you to enter.

Jeck had been at this for decades when, 13 years ago, he seemed to find an enviable stride. Released between 2002 and 2008, a triptych of records-Stoke, 7, and Sand-turned his tests into solo turntable symphonies, fully formed compositions meant to be inhabited and analyzed. Jeck merged the audio on the records with the essence of the records, creating new music that popped and cracked beneath the charm of vinyl antiquity. The process seemed to break linear time by giving a universe of lost voices and performances new life at once. You, the listener, went away with Jeck and his record-store finds for a pleasant spell.

But on Cardinal, Jeck's first new album in five years, that motion and those feelings have calcified a bit. The edges of his sources and samples have hardened, as though he's confronting the harsh exigencies of the moment rather than escaping to the drift and peace of fantasy. The voices and instruments Jeck once built around slink into the background here, ceding instead to an unexpectedly discomfiting vision. Brittle dins and soft tones, beautiful drones and static shocks participate in a theater of revolving reality and intentional violence.

Jeck indeed created Cardinal with turntables, a technique best heard here through the fractured loop that anchors "Broke Up" or the sunbaked wobble that defines "The Station View". These 13 tracks, however, often feel powered more by their accessories-"Casio keyboards, Ibanez bass guitar, Sony MiniDisc players, Ibanez and Zoom effects pedals, assorted percussion, a Behringer mixer," he lists-than the source records. There are jarring moments, as during the menacing "Brief" or the lurid "Called In", that suggest Jeck has suddenly slammed his palm against a distortion pedal, like some much younger noise lord gunning for the set's climax. During "Saint Pancras", he seems to shake sleigh bells in the distance; pitted against the neon whirr of his electronics, the addition is strangely disconcerting, like a threat voiced from the lips of a longtime ally.

That is the prevailing sentiment of Cardinal, an album where Jeck's general sense of wonder slips toward dystopian bewilderment. The move makes for a more fragmented listen than expected from Jeck, whose albums are typically immersive and enchanting. Still, the transition comes with unlikely rewards. Rendered in short spans that overlap until they form casual rhythms, the hovering bass and shredded treble of the terrific, terrifying "...bends the knee 1" recall the successes of the Haxan Cloak's Excavation. During "Barrow in Furness (open thy hand wide)", Jeck slowly mutates a simple carousel melody until it becomes a dense web of ghastly oscillations, a little like Prurient's electro phase. Yes, those are surprising references for a British sexagenarian with highbrow bona fides, but again, Jeck's music has always recast the established world in a singular image. Does it come as any mystery that, now more than ever, he would conjure a setting as or more odious than our own?

Records are now in vogue in ways they've never been during Jeck's career. For decades, he repurposed a medium that seemed bound for obsolescence. At times, his use of the LP felt like a moral imperative, a valiant attempt to spin voices and ideas and forms that might be lost. But records, of course, have become such desirable commodities that it's now difficult to have them made due to an overburdened market that once seemed destined for dismantling. It's fitting, then, that this is one of the least turntable-centric albums of Jeck's career, rendered so that you may be able to hear it all without guessing at the signal path at all. Rather than try to stake some here-first claim with vinyl or turn his past with it into new cachet or credibility, Jeck has used the turntable as a platform for exploring larger sounds and asking bigger questions. Cardinal is a break in his once clear direction, and it's not his most cohesive album. But it is a logical and necessary leap for Jeck, who has always turned at oblique angles so as to reorder the sounds around him."-Grayson Haver Currin, Pitchfork Media

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Price: $19.95
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Shipping Weight: 24.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 5027804139816

Label: Touch
Catalog ID: TO 098LP
Squidco Product Code: 21233

Format: 2 LPs
Condition: New
Released: 2015
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: LP - Gatefold
Recorded by the artist.


Philip Jeck-composer, performer

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Track Listing:


1. Fleeing

2. Saint Pancras

3. Barrow In Furness (Open Thy Hand Wide)

4. Reverse Jersey


1. Bend The Knee 1

2. Called In

3. Brief


1. Broke Up

2. Bend The Knee 5

3. Called Again


1. And Over Again

2. The Station View

3. Saint Pancras (The One That Holds Everything)

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