Touch Five

TO 091CD TO 091CD

This is the fifth album on Touch from New York-based minimalist composer and multi-media musician and director of Experimental Intermedia, Phill Niblock. "These CDs have pieces made in two different ways. Traditionally (since 1968), I recorded tones played by an instrument (by an instrumentalist), arranging these single tones into multi-layered settings, making thick, textured drones, with many microtones. In the early days, I prescribed the microtones, tuning the instrumentalist, when I was using audio tape. Later, I used the software ProTools, and made the microtones as I made the pieces. 'FeedCorn Ear' and 'A Cage of Stars' were made this way. In 1998, Petr Kotik asked me to make a piece for orchestra, so, I began to make scores for the musicians to play from. The form of that piece, and the subsequent six scored works, were patterned after a piece in 1992-1994, where the musicians were tuned by hearing tones played from a tape through headphones. These are the instructions for the scored piece on the second CD, 'Two Lips.' The score was prepared by Bob Gilmore, from specific directions by me: 'Two Lips,' aka 'Nameless,' is conceived as two scores, A and B, to be played simultaneously, lasting 23 minutes. Each score consists of 10 instrumental parts. The 20 separate parts should be distributed randomly amongst the musicians of the ensemble; the 'A group' and the 'B group' are not separated spatially. In each part, one note changes to the next in a graded sequence of microtonal steps. In score A, G gradually goes to F#. In score B, G# gradually goes to A. The piece calls for very subtle gradations of tuning in order to achieve a richness of ensemble sound, full of beatings of near-unison pitches, and with clouds of overtones and difference tones...'Two Lips' is interpreted via three different guitar quartets; Zwerm (of Belgium), Dither (of New York) and an assembled group of world-widers, Coh Da (ad hoc spelled backwards). Each quartet recorded 40 tracks from the score, each playing the 23-minute piece 10 times in one day. 'FeedCorn Ear': This is the third piece that I have made with the Belgian cellist, Arne Deforce. The title, 'FeedCorn Ear,' is an anagram of his name, and it was suggested by the composer Tom Johnson. We recorded the material that I used to construct the piece (in a multi-track, computer environment) in the studios of Marcus Schmickler (Piethopraxis) in Cologne, using a fantastic Brauner microphone. I work with a laptop Macintosh computer, so I progressed with the piece almost anywhere, constructing the score in a 32-track file, in a very tactile fashion. I began the work on this piece in my studios in New York (Experimental Intermedia), but I finished it in a tenth floor apartment in East London, looking out of a window to the west, over all of central London." --Phill Niblock