TTW#01 - Philip Jeck - Spool
Edition #1: cassette only - limited edition of 250 copies.
Edition #2: cassette only - at the request of Philip Jeck, a limited edition of 100 copies only, to celebrate “The Night of the Long Worms”, Café Oto, 19.xi.09. Different inlay design and cassette shell to the first edition.
A1: A4.30 - 4m30s
A2: D4.48 - 4m36s
B1: D1.20 - 4m42s
B2. A7.87 - 4m34s
We are really chuffed to have Philip Jeck as our first release! Recorded in June 2009, at home in Liverpool. On “Spool”, Jeck eschews his usual prepared vinyl technique, instead playing bass guitar through various effects boxes.
“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. Philip Jeck makes geniunely moving and transfixing music, where we hear the art not the gimmick.”
Most of Jeck’s audio work is released on Touch.
First release from this mysterious new tape only label, and it comes from long time favorite, turntablist Philip Jeck! If you're anything like us, you'll buy ANYTHING with Jeck's name on it, his record is that solid, his records are, well, that solid, every single release is gorgeous and expansive and dark and otherworldly, multiple aQ Records Of The Week, maybe more than any other artist. But that makes perfect sense as his sound, and his technique, his aesthetic is so amazing, and so demonstrates what we love about music. The unrestrained creativity, the recontextualiation of other sounds, the physicality of his performances, but mostly the sound, at once warm and crackly and familiar, at the same time, otherworldly and alien and fantastical.
Needless to say, a new record by Jeck was a no brainer, we got as many as we could of the 250 copy run, only to discover that there were in fact no turntables, that Spool instead featured Jeck on solo bass! Hmmm. Well, any trepidation we had lasted all of 5 seconds, as Spool seems to explore the exact same sonic space as Jeck's turntable records, the bass rendered unrecognizable, more a soundscaping tool than a rock instrument, run through a bank of effects, had we not been told that this was a bass record and not a turntable record we might never have known. Gorgeous hazy swirls of deep textured rumble, soft scrapes and distant keening shards of feedback, dark buried melodies, layered and textured expanses of warm fluid drift, occasionally building into an almost cacophonous squall, but always managing to settle into some sort of raga like buzz or epic glacial whir. Haunting and so beautiful. We'd love to see what this guy could do with a whole band, especially a whole band of Jecks!
WAY RECOMMENDED. And be warned, we only got about 30 of these, of the only 250 made, which means most likely these will be the only copies we can get.
Armchair Dancefloor (UK):
The Tapeworm is a cassette-only imprint that's come into being with this engaging limited edition EP from the superb vinyl manipulator Philip Jeck. Eschewing his usual method of coaxing ethereal walls of sound from old records and turntables, Spool sees the Liverpudlian running his bass guitar through effects boxes to create an eerie, turbulent soundworld. A4.30 sets menacing stabs of staticky noise shooting through ghostlier frequencies, Jeck's typical melancholy shading into something closer to anger. In terms of his ouevre this is almost a spiky punk track, albeit one without chords, beat, words or a discernible tune. Which is quite a bit more punk than most punk. D4.48, too, has an icy spikiness to it, its roiling frequencies imparting a tortured sense that they're trying to escape their confines.
On the other side (after pondering a question I haven't asked myself for a long time: fast forward and then flip the tape, or flip it then rewind?), D1.20 picks up where D4.48 left off, although the main action now seems to be happening at a distance. This sense of space is a constant of Jeck's work: whether cavernous or claustrophobically tight, his compositions always feel compellingly three-dimensional. Alleviating the gloom slightly, closing track A7.87 has a burbling, respiratory feel to it, its huge bass pulses suggesting a nearby power plant or some slumbering beast. There are only 250 copies of this bad boy (as I'm sure Jeck doesn't refer to it), so click here if you fancy owning it.
The Wire (UK):
[…] on the mildly mysterious cassette-only label The Tapeworm. Their releases are available through TouchShop; fittingly, since these cassettes restore tactility to the listening process, not only by making us handle a physical object, but also because playing a cassette (taking it out of the case, turning it over) involves an interruption on the ‘total flow’ of digital media, something that is both irritating and pleasurable. And, like Touch releases, The Tapeworm cassettes are delectably designed objects.
Spool is an EP of Philip Jeck playing the bass guitar through a series of effects pedals. Not that you would have known if you hadn't been told; the four tracks are bathed in the same doleful haze as his turntable based releases. At the same time, there's more abrasion and aggression here than you would associate with a typical Jeck recording, a grumble and a rumble lurking beneath all the translucent skeins of sound, and sometimes the glutinous trails of echoed bass puts you in the mind of Sunn O))) or Main if they had been put through Jeck's phantasmagoric filters.
Foxy Digitalis (US):
I've pretty much given up on Jeck's “proper” solo albums at this point since none of them have ever really grabbed me... I mean, there’s good moments to be found, but on a whole - eh. Last year's “Live in Liverpool” LP took it to another level, though - seriously one of my favorite LPs in recent memory, it had a lot of the things his album seemed to lack. Well, “Spool” continues on in that mindset. Killer drones, two pieces per side - short & sweet (sucker's only a c20). Simple is as simple does but Jeck is cooking on here. Seriously hope his next album goes this route so I can actually be interested.