The Eternal Chord – Semper Liber

There is no “correct” way to play the organ. Of course, there are strong and long traditions of how it should be played and by whom, but in the realm of time these rules count for nothing. The organ has the greatest frequency range of any acoustic instrument, and this unique aspect grants great freedom to the players. ALL STOPS OUT!!!

CD – 4 tracks – 78:40
Release date: tba

Track listing:

1. Aeternus
2. Perpetuum
3. Immortalis
4. Semper Liber

The Players: Marcus Davidson Hildur Gudnadottir Mike Harding
Charles Matthews Clare M Singer Maia Urstad Anna von Hausswolff

Performed on the 1893 Schlag & Söhne organ at Johanneskirken, Bergen; the 1967 Karl Ludwig Schuke organ at Passionskirche, Berlin; the Peter Bares organ, inaugurated in 2004, at Kunststation St Peter, Cologne; the 1885 ‘Father’ Henry Willis organ at Lincoln Cathedral; the 1877 ‘Father’ Henry Willis organ at Union Chapel, London; the Rieger organ at St. Stephan’s Church, Mautern & the 1897 Johnson & Son organ at St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, Riga between 2009 and 2016

The art historian and author Sydney Russell writes: “These photographs were taken in 1976 in Brazil. We eventually obtained minimum radio carbon datings for levels covering the paintings from approximately 3750-2500 BCE. They originate from the rock shelter sites of Sucupira, (Lagoa Santa) and Lapa do Cipo (Santana do Riacho), near Minas Gerais and Quadrillas (Montalvania), Bahia. Please refer to the website for more information.

Artwork by Philip Marshall
Compiled and edited by Mike Harding
Mixed at the Völlhaus
Mastered by Mark Van Hoen
Photography by Sydney Russell

P&C 2018 Spire
Published by Field Music

Pre-order The Eternal Chord – “Semper Liber” [CD + Download] in Bandcamp

The Organ: A Modern Classic

Premiering exclusively via The Wire, the documentary looks at the use of the organ in contemporary music

The Organ: A Modern Classic aims to highlights the various ways in which artists such as Squarepusher, Anna Von Hausswolff and Oneohtrix Point Never are adapting the instrument for contemporary music.

Created by music, art and culture platform Cone Magazine, the documentary “explores the social and political barriers that artists and composers may face when trying to work with the organ, and delves deep into the anatomy of the instrument”.

The Organ features contributions from award winning composer Craig Armstrong, organist Jamie McVinnie, the London Contemporary Orchestra, composer/sound artist Bill Thompson, and founder of the Organ Reframed festival and composer Claire M Singer.

Watch the documentary here

Meukusma Festival | Eupen, Belgium 8-10.09.2017

The Friedenskirche, a church in Eupen, hosted to the “Touch Presents…” program, featuring two organ concerts by Claire M. Singer and The Eternal Chord and a live performance by Philip Jeck. Claire M. Singer’s 2016 debut Solas spans 14 years of her work in acoustic and electronic composition. Together with Mike Harding, she is also a member of The Eternal Chord, a project that focuses on the sonic power of the organ. Philip Jeck started working with record players and electronic instrumentation in the 80s and is renowned for his soundtracks, music for theatre and dance companies and solo concert work.

Spire at Union Chapel | NTS Radio 2 14th December 2016

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

Organ reframed revisited

You can read reviews and hear podcasts of Organ reframed:

Pipe dreams: the line of best fit

NTS2 Radio with Simon Scott & Mike Harding

rte hosted by Luke Clancy

Spire live on NTS Radio | 7th October 2016


The 17th Spire took place on 8th October 2016 in London

The 17th Spire took place at Union Chapel, London on 8th October 2016 as part of the ORGAN reframed Festival (7-9 October 2016)

The Union Chapel Organ Project and Touch are proud to present…

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)

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The 16th Spire took place on 26th February 2016 in Cambridge

The 16th Spire took place on 26th February 2016 in The Unitarian Church, Cambridge

Recordings now available on Bandcamp


The Unitarian Church
5 Emmanuel Road


John Beaumont
Marcus Davidson
Philip Jeck
Charles Matthews
Simon Scott
Claire M Singer
The Eternal Chord

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

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Spire 6 – The Eternal Chord “Orga”


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

Now available on Bandcamp

TTW#70 – Spire “Live in Bergen”

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

Liner notes:

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

Spire 5 – Marcus Davidson “The Passing”

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

Buy Marcus Davidson “The Passing” [FLAC download] in the TouchShop

Spire 4 – Pietro Riparbelli “4 Churches”

320kbps MP3 – 4 tracks – 42:09

Mastered by Giuseppe Verticchio

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Spire 3 – Daniel Menche “Hover”

320kbps MP3 – 2 tracks – 27:36

2 tracks – 30 piece teenage choir and organ

Track Listing:

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

Daniel Menche.

“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.”

You can preview an extract from this release in the TouchShop.
Buy Hover in the TouchShop

Spire 2 – Enrico Coniglio “Songs from Ruined Days”

320kbps MP3 – 1 track – 45:14
Download-only; a TouchShop exclusive.

Track listing:

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!”
(Mixmaster Morris)

Buy Songs from Ruined Days in the TouchShop

Dave Knapik “Chicago”


The Eternal Chord | Live in Den Haag

The Eternal Chord makes its second outing at Today’s Art festival in Den Haag on this organ at Den Haag’s Lutherse Church.

The Eternal Chord will this time be performed live by Hildur Gudnadottir & Mike Harding.

Spire 1 | Jon Wozencroft – “The Spire Ensemble – Organology”

A3 print + digital download no longer available from the TouchShop

A3 print

Features an image (depicted to the right) by Jon Wozencroft, output onto high quality heavyweight matte paper.

Digital download
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

Spire Bootleg

Yes we have been bootlegged! Here you can find out more. Its from Ars Electronica 2006…

Tone 28 | Spire Live – “Fundamentalis”


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

Track Listing:

Side One
Philip Jeck – Live in St. Michel & St. Gudula Cathedral, Brussels
[as part of Les Nuits Botaniques] 7th May 2006

Side Two
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
locked groove

Side Three
BJNilsen – Live in Masthuggs Church, Göteborg
[as part of the GAS Festival] 4th October 2005

Side Four
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)

Can be read here

Mojo (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.”

New Website for Charles Matthews

Charles Matthews, curator, pianist and organist for Spire, has a new website here