Philip Jeck - Sand [Touch - 2008]Iíll have to admit in the past Philip Jeck's take on ambience and soundart has always underwhelmed me, it just felt too vague, too out of focus and wish-washy. But Sand has really impressed me, there seems a lot more focus, depth and listenability here; the tracks invite you in and make you want to stay and revisit them often.
I guess his sound is best described as a mix of slow monition dj-ing meets ambience and drone expanse; he uses old record players and vinyl to take elements of melody, texture and sound from them, then adds in minimal keyboard elements and some editing to come-up with these distinctive unfolding sound washes.They go from the opening tracks, droning ornate and slightly sinister locked string melodies swamped in crackle, pops and hisses. To the stuck and dizzy brass fanfare loops of the track fanfares, which builds in growing and shifting ambient textures and appealing surface noise over the fanfares drifts and folds. On to the mysterious distant stuck flute sunrise of Shining, where Jeck slowly and carefully builds up the atmosphere adding smaller sonic details and sound loops and finally opens up into an heroic analogue synth-meets-guitar-like throb. I think thatís the other thing Sand seems to do differently from his other works Iíve heard; he keeps the tracks active, interesting and often sonically on the move.
With Sand, Jeck has made something very real, un-synthetic and often very emotionally pulling. I heartily recommend anyone interested in ambience, drone or hypnotic sound art to step into Jeck's distinctive and rewarding soundworldsRoger Batty