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Phill Niblock

Touch Works, For Hurdy Gurdy And Voice

Label: Touch

Format: CD

Genre: Experimental

In stock


*2023 stock* "Phill is a sixty-something New York-based minimalist composer and multi-media musician and director of Experimental Intermedia, a foundation born in the flames of 1968's barricade-hopping. He says: 'What I am doing with my music is to produce something without rhythm or melody, by using many microtones that cause movements very, very slowly.' The stills in the booklet are from slides taken in China, while Niblock was making films which are painstaking studies of manual labor, giving a poetic dignity to sheer gruelling slog of fishermen at work, rice-planters, log-splitters, water-hole dredgers and other back-breaking toilers. Niblock writes: 'In October 1999, I made a concert at Merkin Hall in New York, as part of the series Interpretations, produced by Thomas Buckner and the World Music Institute. The concert was shared with Ulrich Krieger, a composer and saxophonist living in Berlin.

Normally, concerts in this series have two parts. Since Ulrich and I are collaborators for some years, we decided to interleave our works, and also to make a long concert. It was about three hours, nearly twice as long as is usual in this recital hall. I was preparing two new works for this concert. You guessed it, the pieces on this CD. The works are for hurdy gurdy, a stringed instrument played by cranking a resined wheel, and voice. I had met Jim O'Rourke some time before, and had asked him if I could make a piece using samples of his playing the hurdy gurdy. I recorded the samples in the studios of Robert Poss sometime in the winter of 1999. Tom Buckner and I had talked for some years about a possible piece. I asked him if we could do it for this concert. Later, he explained that he commissions works, so that was a pleasant surprise. When we were recording in Poss' studio, Tom was interested in doing some throat singing. I expected to work on these pieces during the summer of '99. I didn't, of course. I didn't start until two weeks before the concert date. I finished the voice piece on October 11, made the hurdy gurdy piece on the 12th and 13th. The concert was the 14th. On the hurdy gurdy piece, we hear only the samples recorded by O'Rourke.

In the first version of A Y U, we hear only the original recorded samples of Tom Buckner singing. On the second piece, Tom recorded again in the studio, singing a line along (listening with headphones) with the first version of A Y U, and four channels of pitch shift were added to his live voice. He did this three times, for the entire length of the piece. Thus version one has twenty four voices, multitracked from samples. Version two has an added 15 tracks of the live voice. In each piece, I constructed some pitch shifted samples, and some of them were one and two octaves down. These were used along with the original samples as source material. There is not any other modification of the samples during the recording and mixing process.' - Kyle Gann

Cat. number: TO:49
Year: 2001
Hurdy Hurry (October 1999) A Y U, aka "as yet untitled" (October 1999) A Y U, Live (October 1999 / 2000) All were completed with Protools software in a Macintosh computer, and are 24 tracks mixed to stereo. There are two version of the voice piece, one the original tape piece, the other a version with three added voices, live, plus four tracks of pitch shift on each. Samples and live elements were recorded at Trace Elements Studios in New York. Constructed and mixed in ProTools at Experimental Intermedia in New York. Mastering at Foothill Digital Productions, New York. AYU was commissioned by Thomas Buckner. Published by Touch Music. Photos by Phill Niblock in Schezuan, China. ℗ & © 2000 Touch Made in England Released in a standard jewel case with a 12-page booklet.