Various Artists Touch 25 Review

Compilation. Released 2006.  

BBC Review

Touch celebrates its quarter century with unreleased work from Fennesz, Biosphere and...

Peter Marsh 2002

Over the last 25 years Mike Harding and Jon Wozencroft's Touch imprint has established itself as one of the UK's most worthwhile and challenging labels. To celebrate their quarter century, they've compiled previously unissued works from the likes of Biosphere, Chris Watson, Philip Jeckand Ryoji Ikedain a typically beautiful package.

As with the label's output in general, there's a lot of variety; from deep listening droneologyto field recordings to lush electronica. Much of it is staggeringly beautiful, and that seems to be the aesthetic that binds all this disparate stuff together.The sounds of a rusty dredger squealing its way up the River Clyde or the brutal distortotronica of Pan Sonic nestle snugly alongside the Oren Ambarchi's womblike drones or Fennesz's gauzy electro-acoustics.

Some bursts of found sound (from in-flight announcements to news reports to sundry 'field' recordings) appear between tracks, gently (and sometimes not so gently)disorientating the listener. There's some powerful stuff here; Biosphere's "Spring Fever" is one of the most hallucinatory, dreamlike three minutes and twelve seconds I've had for a long while.

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