Tonight at 10pm London time… broadcasting recordings made at Union Chapel on 8th October 2016, featuring Philip Jeck, Simon Scott, Charles Matthews, Claire M Singer & The Eternal Chord
The 17th Spire took place at Union Chapel, London on 8th October 2016 as part of the ORGAN reframed Festival (7-9 October 2016)
Union Chapel, London
700pm – 1030pm Saturday October 8th 2016
Spire: organ works past present & future performed by
Charles Matthews (organ)
Philip Jeck (turntables)
Fennesz (organ & electronics)
Simon Scott (Electronics)
John Beaumont (Tenor)
Claire M Singer (Organ & electronics)
The Eternal Chord (Organ)
The 16th Spire took place on 26th February 2016 in The Unitarian Church, Cambridge
The Unitarian Church
5 Emmanuel Road
This concert was recorded and the entry fee guarantees you a free copy of some of the recordings [wav files]. Which tracks we make available will depend on the quality and suitability of the recordings, of course…
More info and tickets and for full progamme click “continue reading…” below
Live 6.xi.15 Kunststation St Peter, Jabachstr. 1, Köln, Germany. Recorded by Achim Mohné. Peformers are Claire M Singer & Mike Harding. With thanks to Georg Dietzler
Recorded on 1st November 2013 as part of Bergen Kirkeautunnale, Norway
Featuring BJNilsen & John Beaumont’s Black Death, a new project using voice (tenor) and electronics; Charles Matthews’s repertoire includes performances of organ pieces by Arvo Pärt, Giacinto Scelsi and Johan Sebastian Bach; Marcus Davidson’s Ananta is released for the first time, and Spire regulars The Eternal Chord and The Spire Ensemble also perform.
This cassette will be released in July 2014
A1: Charles Matthews plays JS Bach “Komm, Heiliger Geist”, A2: Charles Matthews plays Giacinto Scelsi “In Nomine Lucis”, A3. BJNilsen and John Beaumont “Black Death”
B1: The Eternal Chord “The Eternal Chord (Live)”, B2: Marcus Davidson “Ananta”, B3: The Spire Ensemble “Live In Bergen”, B4: Charles Matthews plays Arvo Pärt “Pari Intervallo”
Recorded on 1.11.13 as part of Bergen Kirkeautunnale 2013, with thanks to Kjetil Almenning and Møyfrid Fuglestad. Published by Touch Music [MCPS] except – A2: Editions Salabert/G Ricordi & Co.; B4: Universal Edition.
Illustration – Art I Cho.
This cassette is an aspiring product of The Tapeworm – “give the peasants champagne and they still want dirty water” TTW#70, copyright 2014 The Tapeworm.
This cassette item is now sold out
2 tracks – FLAC Audio download – 18:31
Track listing and notes:
1. The Passing 9:14
Recorded at St. Stephan’s Church, Mautern, Austria as part of Spire live at The Kontraste Festival, Krems, 11th October 2013.
Marcus Davidson – Organ & Electronics
EVP samples by Raymond Cass from “The Ghost Orchid – An Introduction to EVP” [PARC CD1]
NASA recording of the winds of Saturn from The Voyager Spacecraft
Natural VLF Radio Phenomena of the Magnetosphere and space weather recording by S.P. McGreevy
With thanks to Charles Matthews
2. Sacred Space 9:17
Recorded at PassionsKirche, Berlin, Germany as part of CTM12 Festival, 5th February 2012
Marcus Davidson – Electronics
Charles Matthews – Organ
Part one: Notations from the NASA recordings of the Rings of Uranus
Part two: The Sun dawning over the dark rings of Uranus
320kbps MP3 – 4 tracks – 42:09
Mastered by Giuseppe Verticchio
320kbps MP3 – 2 tracks – 27:36
2 tracks – 30 piece teenage choir and organ
1. Hover 19:29
2. As Is 8:07
As part of the Spire project, Touch is pleased to announce this download-only release by
“I work at a high school library here in Portland, Oregon. Once a week there’s a choir class and occasionally I will poke my head in to hear the fantastic sounds of the kids singing. The singing can be a bit rusty mainly due to the shyness factor in their young voices and the reluctant learning of the music notation from the choir teacher. I really liked hearing that rough-awkward singing from the kids and it remind me of myself being in a choir as a little kid and remembering how much I HATED IT! Mainly because I didn’t understand music notation… nor did I want to and also I was incredibly shy just like these kids.
Well anyways I’m always thinking of ways to get young folks to have fun with sound and such and also I had an idea to use these fine choir students for a recording utilizing their awkward singing sounds. My strategy for the kids was vowels because every kid knows vowels! A-E-I-O-U and just sing those letters as long as possible is what I will instruct the kids to do. I mentioned to the choir teacher that I will be coming in and taking ten minutes of the student’s time to record them for a recorded composition and the teacher approved with this idea but she was also very confused. How can I be a known recording musician and not know about music notation such as ‘flat C or sharp D’ or whatever that jargon is. I told them… “Don’t worry… kids will have fun and it’ll sound fantastic.” And so I barged into the classroom and hit record on my little recorder and began the vowel singing game with the kids. The sheer state of confusion on their young faces was rather beautiful and the singing was fantastic to my ears. I noticed immediately that they couldn’t get the low sounds very well because well… they’re kids and baritone sounds just aren’t in the picture yet for them. So I utilized a Hammond organ for the bass sounds for the final piece of music titled “HOVER”.
Included is the raw unedited “as is” recording document of myself having fun with the kids and getting sounds out of them for this “HOVER” recording. This raw recording has a charm to it of the kids being confused and having some fun. Teenage cathartic-ism to say the least. The look on the choir teacher’s face when I had everyone screaming in different vowels was priceless. I can see her facial expression screaming at me “Music notation blasphemy!!!”… I respond back “Yep, sure is and now look at all the smiles on our kids faces.”
320kbps MP3 – 1 track – 45:14
Download-only; a TouchShop exclusive.
1. Songs from Ruined Days
As part of the Spire project, Touch is pleased to announce this download-only release by Italian artist Enrico Coniglio. You can preview an extract from this release in the
Enrico Coniglio is a Venetian musician who focuses his musical research on the representation of the contemporary landscapes. In relation to his studies in urban planning (University IUAV of Venice), his interest is directed towards the loss of identity of places and the uncertainty of the evolution of the urban territory. If his music comes mainly from the ambient genre, mixing a droning guitar with field recordings and digital manipulation, on the other hand he’s just interested to document the landscape, meaning to build his personal catalogue of soundscapes, with a particular reference to the Venetian lagoon.
Over the last year he has collaborated with various musicians including Joachim Roedelius, Arve Henriksen, Oophoi and others, and he has releases and podcasts with Psychonavigation, Glacial Movements, Cronica electronica and Laverna net. You can hear a previous release “Sapientumsuperacquis” on Touch Radio.
The present release is a long-drone track mostly based on recordings made in Porto Marghera, a big industrial coastal area on the mainland of Venice, Italy (Winter 2009), now largely on disposal and afflicted by a severe economic and environmental crisis. Part of this work was originally used for a sound work in the “Antares” pavilion of VEGA Park (VEnice GAteway for science and technology) for a photography exhibition as a part of the project “Le nuove vie di Porto Marghera”. Other field recordings were made in Vienna, Austria (December 2009), in an attempt to explore the sacral spaces of the city. ‘Song from ruined days’ is a mix of industrial and liturgical soundscape, a brief journey in the space of a full desolation.
“Enrico Coniglio is among the best kept secrets of the Italian ambient scene”
(Roberto Mandolini, Rockerilla)
“He deals in a warm, soothing blend of guitar drones, field recordings and digital post-production” (Ewan Burke, Cyclic Defrost Magazine)
“Coniglio’s atmospheres, meanwhile, take turns at being ethereal and lightflooded, obscured by clouds, ominous and abstract” (Tobias Fischer, Tokafi)
“Enrico Coniglio creates a series of absorbing ambiences that have a moody enigmatic quality about them – dark, deep pools of sound morphing crackling in places with electrical damage” (Morpheus Music Reviews).
“Coniglio’s multi-varied collection provides a rich and oft-surprising listening experience”
“This is a must have for ambient DJs!”
A3 print + digital download no longer available from the TouchShop
Features an image (depicted to the right) by Jon Wozencroft, output onto high quality heavyweight matte paper.
320 kpbs MP3, available only when purchasing the Spire print…
The Spire Ensemble – “Organology” 14:14
Recorded at Norheimsund Church, Norway during the Hardingtonar Festival, 21st June 2008. [2008 was the centenary of the birth of Geirr Tveitt, whose work was celebrated at this festival.]
Featured artists: Marcus Davidson – Grand Piano | Mike Harding – Conductor | Philip Jeck – Casio SK1 Keyboard | Charles Matthews – Organ BJNilsen – Electronics | Jana Winderen – Electronics
Albert Jenssen, son of Biosphere’s Geir Jenssen, kindly allowed us to post these photos of his Lego design of a church for a spire concert…
Yes we have been bootlegged! Here you can find out more. Its from Ars Electronica 2006…
Autofact FACT 12/Touch Tone 28
Double LP Vinyl only [Sold out – download now available on Bandcamp]
Art Direction & Design by Jon Wozencroft
Compiled and edited by Mike Harding October/November 2006
Cut by Jason at Transition, London, on a Neumann VSM 70 March 2007
Philip Jeck – Live in St. Michel & St. Gudula Cathedral, Brussels
[as part of Les Nuits Botaniques] 7th May 2006
1. Charles Matthews – Live in St. Michel & St. Gudula Cathedral, Brussels
[as part of Les Nuits Botaniques] – plays Giacinto Scelsi: In Nomine Lucis 7th May 2006
2. Marcus Davidson – Live in Masthuggs Church, Göteborg
[as part of the GAS Festival] – Standing Wave 4th October 2005
BJNilsen – Live in Masthuggs Church, Göteborg
[as part of the GAS Festival] 4th October 2005
Fennesz – Live in St. Michel & St. Gudula Cathedral, Brussels
[as part of Les Nuits Botaniques] 7th May 2006
Spire Live – Fundamentalis is a collection of live tracks recorded at various Spire events held throughout 2005 and 2006. Released in association with US label, Autofact, Touch presents a selection of tracks performed by the main performers of Spire: Fennesz | Philip Jeck | BJNilsen | Charles Matthews | Marcus Davidson. Improvised pieces from Fennesz, BJNilsen and Philip Jeck contrast with a performance by Charles Matthews of a scored composition by Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi, ‘In Nomine Lucis’, and Marcus Davidson’s self-penned ‘Standing Wave’, which ends side two with a locked groove. Cut to preserve and enhance the bottom end frequencies, Fundamentalis is not merely a document; the tension between and within the individual pieces is palpable. Fennesz’s set “…evokes the rolling centuries in all their pain and beauty, leaving us at once becalmed and energised, but never oppressed under the weight of time.” Electronics breathe new life not only into the organ, but also into the setting. But successor does not mean replacement. Ultimately, it’s the majestic sound of the organ, so steeped in centuries of tradition, that one remembers above all else.
Spire is one of the most innovative projects around, drawing on the full canon of organ works, from the very first annotation in the Robertsbridge Codex from the 14th Century, to max msp patches and software sampling… With two CD releases and 9 performances in cathedrals and churches throughout Europe, Spire remains a potent live force in harnessing the sounds of the ages.
The Wire (UK)
“The Touch label’s Spire project is all about restating the sonic power of the church organ in the modern age, pushing this awesome instrument to its terrifying limits. This majestic collection of live tracks, recorded in churches and cathedrals across Europe, unites organ maestros like Charles Matthews with such Touch-endorsed electronic explorers as BJ Nilsen, Fennesz and Philip Jeck, to create a euphoric drone of power, calm and beauty, that, played loudly enough in a far-away room, will soothe the chattering clamour of the urban brain.”
Charles Matthews, curator, pianist and organist for Spire, has a new website here
MTV used tracks from ‘Spire – organ music past present and future’ [Touch # Tone 21], for a show:
BJNilsen – Breathe
Philip Jeck – Stops
Biosphere – Visible Invisible
The name of the show is “Room 401”. The episode number is #104. The Touch tracks appeared in the Bus Crash segment within #104.
Fundamentalis [Autofact FACT 12/Touch Tone 28]
Fundamentalis, a double vinyl release due later this year on Autofact, was cut at Transition, London, on 13th March 2007. Tracks from Spire Live in Gothenberg and Brussels by Fennesz, Philip Jeck, BJNilsen, Marcus Davidson & Charles Matthews will appear on the final release, due sometime in the summer. You can see pictures from the cut here