PHILL NIBLOCK: Touch Five 2xCD Touch
Phill Niblock has been treading the boards for a few years now with albums that focus on sonic artistry and experimentalism. With five tracks spread over the course of two CD’s, you know you are in for the long haul in some respects and given previous output I would have expected nothing less.
‘FeedCorn Ear’ comprises mainly of cello parts drifting through various ranges that Niblock, (whilst not playing the initial parts himself) has recorded and layered into selected drones. Setting aside the fact it wasn’t actually him stroking the strings with the bow himself, in some respects he has effectively created a desperate ambience, which whilst teetering on monotony, does hold some weight over the course of 30 plus minutes.
‘A Cage of Stars’ at just over 28 minutes in length begins where its predecessor left off. It takes a lot of effort to complete one score and immediately take on another monolith of strings that differ slightly in tonal pitch from it’s counterpart, requiring as much stamina as it probably took to produce.
Disc two is three versions of the same track, performed by three different quartets. In some respects this is almost similar to way an electronic artist would approach a remix and has to be applauded, considering this is mainly analogue.
Each version of ‘Two Lips’ clock in at a little over 22 minutes, unfortunately showing little to differ one from the next, bar minor different pitches in key; if anything, because of the approach, much of disc two mirrors disc one.
‘Touch Five’ in its two halves, also divides my opinion. I respect the amount of effort and do enjoy key areas from disc one, but find the output of disc two a tedious addition to what would have been a stronger effort without it; ultimately resulting in a resounding feeling of overkill.