Album Review

Jeck, Philip – “Surf ” – [Touch]

Rococo   7/5/2005   A Library, CD

SURF is a 1999 release from sound sculptor Philip Jeck, utilizing turntables, tape decks, and Casio keyboards. Originally recorded to accompany live theater and dance projects, these dark ambient soundscapes lose none of their power by sacrificing the visual element. Like fellow deconstructionist Christian Marclay, Jeck is just as concerned with the processes of analog recording and playback as he is with the content. Consequently, you’ll hear lots of analog skips and scratchiness in Jeck’s sampled source material. My favorite track is ‘Spirits Up,? an 11-minute investigation into melody and distortion. The album’s final track, ‘I Just Wanted to Know,? is very unsettling, beginning with some quietly whispered words to a dying loved one, then gradually mutating into an electronic requiem. Powerful stuff.

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