Touch.30 Live in NYC

Michael Lavorgna reports on Philip Jeck and Ted Riederer’s performance, last night, at Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral, in Brooklyn. Jeck sat at a table, with access to a small keyboard and a few simple turntables. Meanwhile, Riederer played guitar and sang, sending his signals through various effects pedals, looping them and transferring them directly to lathe-cut vinyl. Upon the completion of a side, Riederer would hand the newly created record to an unsuspecting Jeck. In turn, Jeck, with a smile, would place the record upon a turntable and play along. It continued like that for some time.

Like ML, I was captivated by the total experience: the dim lighting, the attentive crowd, the lulling sounds, the rich scents, the soft feel of old floorboards and torn carpeting—it all worked to transfix and transport.

Still, I was reminded that I tend to enjoy this sort of art more in my own home, where I can create my own images and stories, or even allow myself to fall asleep, while the hi-fi handles the reproduction. I still haven’t managed to avoid wondering why I enjoy this sort of sound art. My thoughts interfere with my enjoyment. What is it that I’m listening for? It’s always the recognizable bits that turn on me, that turn me on: the shards of rhythm in the chaos, the accidental melodies in the noise. Then again, I was similarly delighted just to see Philip Jeck smile. Too often, we forget to have fun.

And, as ML says, the simple act of listening strengthens our humanity, reminds us of our connection to greater things—things outside ourselves, things outside our listening rooms.

The event was just one in a series celebrating Touch’s 30th anniversary. Home to outstanding artists such as Hildur Gudnadottir, Oren Ambarchi, Christian Fennesz, Phil Niblock, and Philip Jeck, Touch shares our interests in sound, listening, and beauty. For more info or to purchase tickets to one of this weekend’s events, visit Touch or Issue Project Room. Also see my review of Thomas Koner’s wonderful Novaya Zemlya, available now from Touch (CD, Touch TO:85), in our October issue.