J A C O B  K I R K E G A A R D
about   I   news   I   calendar   I   exhibitions   I   performances   I   field trips   I   releases   I   works   I   contact

Roling Stone: 20 Best Avant Albums of 2015. Number 9 : Jacob Kirkegaard - 5 Pieces (Posh Isolation)

Limited to just 200 copies but no less necessary, this three-cassette release anthologises five recent works by one of contemporary sound art's most subtle, intriguing figures. More artistically minded than field recordings, more naturally hewn than noise tapes, Kirkegaard amplifies hidden worlds into evocative drifts. The underwater recordings of Æsturarium turn Hudson River glubs and swirling sediments into a 29-minute white-noise suite; Iron Wind captures the vibrations of German fences for a haunting breath of ambience. Déjà Vu is a feedback conversation between eight empty rooms; Fool's Fire is an electrified needle picking up radio waves from crystals (it sounds like an orchestra of run-out grooves); and Under Bjerget is a 58-minute meditation for the rattling tubes in a Copenhagen basement, glacially moving from drone to pulse to rumble.


Jacob Kirkegaard - Arc - Holotype Editions LP - Review by Jim Haynes, The Wire, January 2016

Kirkegaard follows his exceptional 2014 soundtrack to 40 Days of Silence with this commissioned score for the 1928 silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc by Carl Theodor Dreyer. His composition is awash with the serenity found in the communion with the divine, even as the pyre has been lit from below. The luxurian minimalism of his suspended harmonic tones and slow rotational melodies slips and glides across emotionally charged surfaces of violence, prayer, holiness and conviction of throught. At the end of the first side a human voice breaks through the prolonged reverberation and resonant vibration with a simple plainsong.

JACOB KIRKEGAARD - Arc (LP/CD) Holotype Editions - Review by Freistil, January 2016

Auf dem vorliegenden Release präsentiert der dänische Klangkünst- ler und Komponist seine Interpreta- tion eines Soundtracks zu Carl Theo- dor Dreyers legendärem Film Die Passion der Jungrau von Orleans, ursprünglich eine seiner Arbeiten für das Filmfestival Inmute ’14, dessen künstlerischer Schwerpunkt sich mit der Erforschung neuer Methoden und Zugänge im Sinne der Synergie von Klang und bewegtem Bild be- fasst. Zwei getragene Stücke mit den klingenden Namen Arc 1 und Arc 2 und knapp unter 36 Minuten Spielzeit finden sich auf dieser, als LP konzipierten Veröffentlichung. Die bogenhafte Dramaturgie der Stücke, die sich anmutig jeweils über eine eigene Plattenseite span- nen, beschreibt adäquat den Zu- stand der Protagonistin zwischen Vision, Häresie und Wahnsinn. Sich dehnende, an Choräle angelehnte Drones und gläserne, orgelhaft an- mutende Schwebungskaskaden ver- sinnbildlichen die innere Zerrissen- heit einer Figur im gezogenen Tran- sitionsmoment, ihr meditatives Rä- sonnieren zwischen Brillanz und Horror der eigenen Gedanken. Sehr stimmungsvoll, sehr stark! (dr. wu)

Jacob Kirkegaard - Buda / Expulsion live på Mørke Dage i Ålborg, Oktober 2015

Fortidsmanipulation og fremtidssyner
Som et af festivalens hovednavne, præsenterer lydkunstner Jacob Kirkegaard sit værk Buda, som portrætterer et voldeligt etiopisk eksorcisme-ritual, hvor dæmoner lokaliseres og herefter bankes ud af de besattes kroppe. Dette komprimeret til et sammenhængende narrativt forløb på en halv time. Vi er på lydvandring gennem skoven og ankommer til stedet, hvor ritualet skal finde sted. Messende stemmer lyder, og det mørklagte rum vi sidder i, transformeres til den ceremonielle hal hvor det hellige vand hældes over de besatte. Hvis de reagerer er der en dæmon på færde. Det er ubehageligt, angstfremkaldende og dybt fascinerende på samme tid, og undervejs tænker jeg at det heldigvis er sjældent, man reelt har muligheden for at høre så autentiske skrig. Det her er ikke bare en film. Buda fremmaner mysticismens og de okkulte kræfters mørke på en måde der nærmest tangerer hørespil, og som med sin opklippede virkelighed flere steder har karakter af musique concrète. Det er billedskabende som en febervildelse og undervejs bliver jeg decideret svimmel. Jeg får konkrete associationer til György Ligetis ’sound mass’ ala Atmosphères (den der pryder den mørklagte intro til Rumrejsen 2001). Et blåstempel i min bog. Anmeldt af SEISMOGRAF

Politiken-anmeldese af soloudstillingen Earside Out på Museet for Samtidskunst, Roskilde, 2015


JACOB KIRKEGAARD, “5 PIECES” Posh Isolation, 1.23.2015

When it comes to modern field recordings and processed, situational drone music, you’d be hard pressed to find a more apt or agile producer than Jacob Kirkegaard. The Danish sound artist, currently based in Berlin, has issued work after work of dark and weighted meditation on a number of grimly beautiful concepts. For example, Four Rooms, issued in 2006 by Touch, is Kirkegaard’s “breakout” record in many respects, perfectly capturing the producer’s talent for focusing a minimal but expansive rumination on massive themes. In the case of Four Rooms, Kirkegaard set up a series of recorders and playback systems to capture the hollowed-out desolation of “four abandoned spaces inside the Zone of Exclusion in Chernobyl,” thus highlighting the “sonic experience of time, absence, and change — in an area haunted by an invisible and inaudible danger, amidst the slowly decaying remains of human civilization” according to the label. Since his earliest works, Kirkegaard has ventured outside of so called “non music” and into modern classical (Conversion, 2013) and physical, bodily experiments (Labyrinthitis, 2008).

The latest chapter in Kirkegaard’s narrative comes with 5 Pieces, a stunning, three-tape boxed-set issued by the austere noiseniks of Posh Isolation. Gathering five previously unreleased works ranging from 2006 to 2014, the set provides several hours of captivating experimentation presented in a minimal, white-on-black package, complete with extensive liner notes explaining some back story, recording information, and other tidbits of information associated with the work. Each recording finds Kirkegaard mining peculiar aural settings for his studies, from the depths of the Hudson River’s murky waters in the New York Harbor Estuary to iron fences along the Rhine around Cologne, Germany.

The first of the five pieces brings “Æsturarium,” in which Kirkegaard sources the Hudson River for dingy, aquatic diagetics. Specifically recorded at the New York Harbor Estuary, a “transition area where the tides, waves and salty water of the ocean mix with the flow of fresh water and sediment from the river,” the piece effectively sets you in a sturdy, microscopic vessel to get a zoomed-in view of the various physical elements of the sub-aquatic surroundings. Each grain of sand and anonymous granule of floating flotsam and jetsam adds the subtlest amount of character. Movement is both violently kinetic and powerlessly slow, adding the the muted sense of chaos underneath the choppy waves. At times almost entirely silent while at other times buried in a layer of foggy noise, the piece is the perfect primer to Kirkegaard’s M.O. and a fitting beginning to the whole boxed-set.

Next up is “Iron Wind,” a thirty-minute drift of eerie sound riddled with rust and decayed metal, culled from the previously mentioned fences in Cologne. More specifically, “the flowing river, the wind in the air and the large passing tugboats [that] vibrate the fences and case them to produce tones.” Originally composed for WDR – Studio Acoustic Art” in 2006, “Iron Wind” plays out like a doomed, protracted exploration of an aeolian harp. Where the stringed instrument played by wind blowing across its strings performed affirmative, inspiring sounds, the faded metal and slow, drifting machinery in the water create ominous, tragic tones for the sullen. Ghosts of sound and distant motion divine their way through the guardrails as conductors. Over time, physical clatter meanders its way into the picture, occupying the haunted tones with light but destructive clangs and ricocheted sound. Distant, siren-like tones chime in with an immense sense of weight and size, overburdening the senses with surprising ease.

“Déjà Vu” leads the second cassette in a similar vein as Four Rooms, setting up microphones and speakers in eight empty broadcasting studios of Deutschlandradio and orchestrating a “circular chain reaction” wherein the ambient sound in Studio 1 to play through the speakers of Studio 2, which is then played and recorded in Studio 3, which is then played and recorded in Studio 4, continuing the line through Studio 8, only to be replayed back into Studio 1. Micro-tones morph into massive, earth-shaking waves of pure, tonal study as each room reveals its own personality. Drifting from elegiac highs to wrought, pitiless lows, Kirkegaard shows his talent for creating something great out of something incredibly, unassumingly simple.

Jumping over to the flip brings “Fool’s Fire” and a half-hour traipse through more geological, elemental sounds. Created by “attaching an electrified needle to the crystals of a negative/positive charge,” thus creating “isolated charged spots” wherein “atoms jumped across the barriers and made the crystals receptive to radio waves,” then picked up by the needle, the piece is slow and quiet drift textured with gritty static. But rather than resembling a harsh noise record turned with the volume turned almost completely down, “Fool’s Fire” ebbs and flows in gradual movements that expose a disarmingly multi-faceted recording. Quiet storms of noise remain afar, distant just enough to raise alarm without destroying or maiming the scenery.

The final tape in the set brings the hour-long reverie of “Under Bjerget,” broken out into equal parts on the A- and B-sides. Sourcing Carlberg’s main factory in the center of Copenhagen shortly before being shut down, Kirkegaard mic’ed the basement of the 150-year-old building to record “the vibrations of its many tubes and kettles.” The vaporous transmissions lose sense of direction, origin, and pace, blurring into an amorphous blur of metallic drones that are both warm and frozen. Steam and other aqueous ephemera form an aural smog that permeates the dingy room, flowing around pipes and filling vacant vents alike. Phasing sets of chugging, lightly shuffling feedback saunters from channel to channel as dim and dulled serrations of feedback bounce from wall to ceiling to wall to floor and back again, trailing down errant corridors until returning with new, eroded facets. While the tape document of the piece is beautifully addicting in its own right, one can’t help but feel empty after learning the piece was used in a 16-channel sound installation inside four pitch-black rooms in the same basement where the piece was recorded.

Whether choosing to sit through its entirety as a set one extended morning, afternoon, or night or breaking it out piecemeal, 5 Pieces is an overwhelming experience in all the right ways.


Jacob Kirkegaard: 5 Pieces
[Posh Isolation]

How important is it to understand the process of how something was created? Certainly context is good, but how does one weigh the results of an effort with the process of the effort?
The results on Jacob Kirkegaard’s “5 Pieces” are breathtaking. Three cassettes of manipulated field-recordings and experimental drone, finely-tuned for auditory exploration. There is so much space in which to get lost. Focus on one curiosity-inducing sound in each piece and try to follow it through a forest of alluring ambient sound or just allow the whole fog of noises to engulf you and pull you down.
What pushes it from just “extremely good” to “fascinating” is the liner notes about the process. We are given descriptions of the creation of each track; where and when it was recorded and the exact way the sounds were produced. It gives the listener mental toys to play with, like the prompt for an act of improvisation.
Do we need this though? Well, “need” is a strong word, but I can’t honestly say I would be as enamored if that information were not provided. It adds a richness, making the music not just exciting listening but exciting to think about.



Else Marie Pade & Jacob Kirkegaard: SVÆVNINGER. Review of first concert - in Danish: HERE

For reviews on Kirkegaard's new vinyl release CONVERSION on TOUCH, click HERE

Screaming "Silence"

The multifaceted show at the Menil, curated by Toby Kamps, offers an overabundance of riches.
By Kelly Klaasmeyer Wednesday, Aug 15 2012

In the natural world, silence can mean all the other herd animals are frozen in fear and your oblivious grass-munching ass is about to get eaten. In the human world, we link silence to things like tranquil contemplation, mourning and spirituality. The exhibition "Silence" at The Menil Collection presents a diverse range of works that all in some way address ideas and aspects of silence.

Curated by Toby Kamps, "Silence" illustrates that, barring deafness, true silence is impossible. It's not just people shifting around or sneezing in church, or the hum of the air conditioner or the chirping of birds that fills "silent" moments. Even if you shell out cash for an isolation-tank experience, you can't buy silence. Your own breath, your heart or your ears themselves create sound. Our concept of "silence" is about our associations and expectations rather than any attainable reality.

Kurt Mueller's Cenotaph is a CD-playing jukebox the artist has filled with recorded "moments of silence." A cenotaph is a monument to the dead, and the glowing Rock-Ola "Legend" is filled with commemorative silences for loss. Many of them are the official kind, opening and closing with some politician's speech, the silence punctuated by people coughing and babies crying.

There are quarters lined up along Mueller's jukebox so visitors can play their selections. You press buttons and the pages flip, more physical than flat electronic screens for mp3s. There's silence for Tupac, fallen soldiers, terror and earthquake victims, mining accidents and Dale Earnhardt. I picked the one for Kim Jong-il; I wondered what a moment of silence for a dictator who starved millions of people to death sounds like. It has to be one of the loudest "moments of silence" ever. It's a three-minute air horn blast. It echoes through the quiet museum, and it is somehow fitting that Kim Jong-il would be as oppressive and grating in his death as he was in life.

If any place should be silent it's Chernobyl, and the ghostly exclusion zone is the setting for Jacob Kirkegaard's film AION (2006). (The title is Greek for "infinity" or "eternity.") The Soviets moved everybody out of the zone (now 1,660 square miles) after the nuclear reactor disaster. But the area is teaming with wildlife now — in addition to a few hardy and rebellious elderly babushkas who moved back home. (Once you've survived Stalin and the Nazis, what's a megadose of radiation?) Kirkegaard set up microphones and video cameras in four formerly public locations, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, a concert hall and a village church. All of them evidence the mold, peeling paint, dust and rot of a quarter century of abandonment.

Shown in what seems to be accelerated time lapse, the sun moves over the rooms and across the floors, illuminating and enlivening the decay with dappled sunlight. They're very beautiful in a Detroit, ruin-porn kind of way. And they also look pretty much stripped clean for places that were supposed to have been quickly and completely abandoned. There are gaping holes in the church's iconostasis where the icons would have been. (I'm thinking pre- and post-Soviet economic conditions led to a lot of radioactive artifacts and bric-a-brac making their way into art markets and flea markets.)

To create the audio, Kirkegaard took ten-minute sound recordings in the spaces and then played them back into the rooms and re-­recorded again and again, which concentrated and distorted the ambient sound into an otherworldly hum. One wonders if the sound of the reactor's concrete sarcophagus cracking is in the condensed mix of bird and bug sounds, undetectable to the human ear. But it is time that truly dominates the video. The two and a half decades of the structures' physical decay is a microsecond compared to the 720,000 or so years necessary for the reactor's nuclear fuel to decay. The radiation is an invisible, silent and deadly presence in the videos.

Next to the entrance to Kirkegaard's piece and focusing on more minor tragedy is Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset's The Date, (2009). It's a video phone next to a door. It seemingly monitors the street outside, where a handsome young man stands with a single rose, waiting to be buzzed in — which never happens. Pick up the handset and you hear the street noise and buzzer as he waits in silence, shifting his feet, looking expectant, nervous and then dejected as no one answers. He walks off. It's a poignant little bit of grainy black-and-white footage that captures a host of human emotions.

(Read the entire review HERE)


Reviewed in The Wire (October 2009)


(JANUARY 09) POLITIKEN http://ibyen.dk/kunst/anmeldelser/article631611.ece

Udstillingen 'Motion... Matters' er båret af kunstneren Jacob Kirkegaards fascination af videnskabelige lydeksperimenter.

Billedkunstneren Jacob Kirkegaard arbejder med lyd. Lydbilleder kunne man kalde hans værker på udstillingen 'Motion ... Matters' hos Helene Nyborg.
Alle involverer de referencer til lyd – eller rettere lyd som bevægelse. En serie fotografier 'NAGARAS' ligner umiddelbart smukke naturoptagelser af en sandstorm i ørkenen. Men det er ikke en vilkårlig sandstorm.
Det er en sandstorm i Oman, et af de få steder, hvor man kan være heldig at opleve fænomenet 'det syngende sand'. Det skabes af vinden, når den sætter millioner af sandkorn i bevægelse. Og det er denne sandets syngende dans i vinden, som Kirkegaard har fastholdt i fotografisk form.

En anden billedserie på udstillingen består af tre kvadratiske metalplader, en i jern, en i kobber og en i messing, hver monteret med mikrofon og højtaler. Pladerne opfanger og reflekterer rummets lyde via resonans. De sættes i vibration. De vibrerer.
Fænomenet forstærkes via mikrofon og højtaler til hørbare lyde. Syngende billeder kunne man kalde dem.
Men for Jacob Kirkegaard drejer det sig nok i højere grad om at udforske et videnskabeligt fænomen: de tre metallers forskellige resonans.
Det er nemlig sådan, at selv om de tre metalplader er lige store, lyder de helt forskelligt – fra svage metalliske, næsten etiske toner (jernet) til en stemning af symfoniorkester (messingpladen).
Der er mange billedkunstnere, som er optaget af lyd og arbejder med lydkunst. Men det er sjældent, resultaterne får så visuel en form som hos Kirkegaard.
'Motion ... Matters' er tydeligvis båret af kunstnerens fascination af videnskabelige lydeksperimenter – det vidner hans tekst også om – men den færdige udstilling er samtidig konceptuelt og ikke mindst visuelt overbevisende.

[Kristine Kern]




DUSTED MAGAZINE (JANUARY 2009) http://www.dustedmagazine.com/reviews/4744

On Maryanne Amacher’s Sound Characters (Making the Third Ear), the CD’s output is crafted specifically to elicit sounds that come from within the ear. The phenomenon is called otoacoustic emissions (OAEs), where the inner ear is manipulated by external sound in such a way that its own vibrations become audible to the listener. Distorted product OAEs, or DPOAEs, involve tones generated at a specific ratio, causing a natural distortion effect on the OAE, and subsequently a third, lower tone in the listener’s ear. Amacher’s use of OAEs invited listeners into the creation process, but the disc was, in the end, a solitary endeavor - it is impossible for the naked ear to hear another human’s OAEs, so each listen of Sound Characters created a performance for one, even with others in the same room.

Jacob Kirkegaard aims to do Amacher one better. Labyrithitis, named for a disorder of the inner ear, also entails the playback of tones to elicit DPOAEs in the listener’s ears, but the conceptual kicker here is that all of the sounds on the disc evolved from a single series of source tones: DPOAEs recorded (using highly amplified microphones) from Kirkegaard’s own ears. On Labyrithitis, Kirkegaard uses his own DPOAEs to create the phenomenon in the ears of his listeners, presenting the tones at the 1:1.2 ratio required to generate the microscopic audio events. Kirkegaard begins with two tones, then, after a time, replaces the pair with a third, played at the frequency at which the prior DPOAE was created in the ear. Kirkegaard then uses the 1:1.2 ratio again to create a new DPOAE, and the disc continues in this manner for almost 40 minutes.

Since a DPOAE is always lower in pitch than the tones that create it, each new tone on Labyrithitis is lower than those that preceded it, though Kirkegaard appears to vary it up so that the projection isn’t too easy to predict. The experiment results in a beautiful collage, with shimmering intersections of sounds entering and leaving the mix. (Speaker arrangement and any number of factors likely play a part in the process.) The rich drones, sliding across each other like bolts of silk, are attractive enough, but the smaller sounds, the overtones and DPOAEs created by the carefully paired pitches, are what make for Labyrithitis‘ most interesting output.

To make music that interacts with its listener is quite a feat. To do so in a way that results in sound that’s as alluring aesthetically as it is conceptually is an even bigger coup. With Labyrithitis, Kirkegaard has achieved the latter, engaging with an idea that is draped in academic formality in its explanation, but in practice echoes the golden sky above the ivory tower more than any discussion going on inside. Other musicians may aim for shaking booty, heads banging, or feet that won’t stay still, but Kirkegaard looks to make ears sing, and the duet created by the output of his ears and those from the listeners’ is such a joy that when Labyrithitis ends, we all ought to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done.

[Adam Strohm]

FACT MAGAZINE [http://www.factmagazine.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1450&Itemid=32] November 2008

Labyrinthitis is an interactive record, in the most fundamental and fascinating of ways. Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard relies on a principle observed and sometimes relied upon in the practice of medicine and music alike: when two frequencies at a certain ratio are played into the ear, additional vibrations in the inner ear produce a third frequency. This third frequency is known to medics as a DPOAE (distortion product otoacoustic emission); musicians prefer the snappier handle of ‘Tartini tone’.

In our cochleas, there are thousands of microscopic hair cells that act as sensory receptors; when sound enters the ear, these hairs vibrate in the liquid that surrounds them, allowing us to perceive sound. Depending on the amplitude and frequency of the sound waves, the movement of hair cells will be strong enough to make the basilar membrane vibrate too; and it’s this basilar vibration which produces the Tartini tone. Neither an echo nor an auditory hallucination, this tone can apparently be measured, and recorded with a microphone – which is exactly what Kirkegaard has done – the very building blocks of Labyrinthitis are Tartini tones generated by his own ears. At this point, my tiny brain shuts down, and to adequately explain Kirkegaard’s production technique I have to quote verbatim from the (thorough) sleevenotes:

“In [Kirkegaard’s] composition, he starts off with to specific tones (both recorded from his ears) at a ratio of 1:1:2 and plays them at the same time. Stimulated by the distortion that these two tones will create in their own ears, the audience will be able to perceive a third tone. In a next step, Kirkegaard lets the two primary tones disappear and adds the third tone to the composition: it can now be heard “for real”, not just individually, in the room. Once this tone is established, a new tone is added in order to create, in combination with the earlier (third) tone, a further distortion in the same manner as before. By feeding more and more of these pairs of frequencies intro the spiral structure of the ears of the audience, Kirkegaard goes on to create a descending tonal structure which is then being taken up in different parts successively, so that the imitations overlap. While the audience is listening to this composition, their own ears will emit sounds in response to the sounds from the artists’ ears, thus joining the piece like voices in an increasingly complex and compressed canon."

If you’re still reading, chances are you’re intrigued by this mind-bending (or is that ear-bending?) proposition – and rightly so. But there’s a question you’ll be compelled ask: does Labyrinthitis stand up on its own? Is it an enjoyable and/or rewarding listening experience without the accompanying scientific exposition? Well, yes, as a matter of fact – this half-hour piece has moments of real beauty. The project’s grounding may be in science, but make no mistake, there is art at work: Kirkegaard brings an incredible, ineffable musicality to his tonal experiments, elevating them above the merely academic and up into the realm of the sublime.

While the quoted para-literature isn’t essential, it’s still important, and reading it will deeply enrich your experience of this record. Kirkegaard highlights, with amazing literality, the mutable, spectral quality of sound - as well as the essential subjectivity of listening. So yes: for all its palpable artistry, Labyrinthitis is first and foremost an experiment. And unless my ears, not to mention Kirkegaard’s, deceive me, it’s an incredibly successful one.

[Kiran Sande]



A jazz duo, a songwriter and an electronica composer has received honorable awards.
The Danish Arts Foundation's Rhythmic Music Committee is presenting awards to a number of artists who have excelled with CD music releases during the year.
The award recipients are:
• Little Red Suitcase: ’Temporarily out of Order’ (Suitcase Records)
• Jonas Villumsen: 'På Bagsiden af Europa' (Transistor Music/Bonnier Amigo)
• Jacob Kirkegaard: 'Labyrintitis' (Touch, London)
The Rhythmic Music Committee, which consists of Juliana Hodkinson (chair), Marilyn Mazur and Tobias Trier, has made the following remarks on the awards:

Jacob Kirkegaard: 'Labyrintitis'
A very well-thought-out work of audio art of a high international standard, this release is representative of Kirkegaard's work, though perhaps a slightly more 'musical' offering than some of his earlier recordings. In compositional terms, the recording plays with the frequencies generated by the inner ear itself – a rather hardcore conceptual starting-point, and one which certainly sets its stamp upon the listening experience. The work responds to John Cage's historical wish for active listening by increasing the technological efforts and opening up for sounds generated inside the ear – quite literally, by placing microscopic sound pickups and loudspeakers inside the composer's own ears. But despite this strictly monotonous origin, the recording is both accessible and pleasant, indeed moving, and manages to maintain a continuous and fluid movement.

Please click here for more 'LABYRINTHITIS reviews


Boomkat (UK): Touch 25
I don’t think I need to tell you about the Touch label, after 25 years of activity they have built up an unmatched reputation for themselves. Releasing classic albums from experimental electronic music guvners such as Biosphere, Philip Jeck, Fennesz, Mika Vainio and Oren Ambarchi has put them into a hallowed place for discerning music fans, and quite rightly each release from the label is hugely anticipated. It’s not only the music that’s attained them the reputation though, and the label’s founder Jon Wozencroft has continuously repeated ‘Touch is not a record label!’ – rather they are an ‘audiovisual’ label, a collective that puts just as much care and attention into the packaging and imagery as the music. And it shows, indeed their releases have garnered miles in column inches merely due to the fact everything looks so damned delectable – something difficult to say for a majority of Touch’s contemporaries. So 25 years on, why should we still care? Well, if a cd featuring EXCLUSIVE material from Oren Ambarchi, Biosphere, Fennesz, Ryoji Ikeda, Philip Jeck, Johann Johannsson, BJ Nilsen, Rosy Parlane, Peter Rehberg (Pita), Pan Sonic and Chris Watson among many more doesn’t get you hot under the collar then I don’t know what will. This disc features a lineup of the absolute cream of experimental electronic music right now, and will engross, astound and amaze in equal measures. It really doesn’t get much better...
Very rarely does a very interesting concept for an album translate itself into a very interesting album musically, but trust the Touch label to get it right. On ‘4 Rooms’ (nothing to do with the crappy Tarantino-related hotel flick) Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard explores the legacy of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl. Kirkegaard recorded four rooms in the abandoned military bunkers, rooms that were active meeting points for people and have been left totally abandoned since the disaster. He recorded the silence of the room for a set time and then played it back to the empty room, recording the results. These recordings became layered over and over the sound, building up into dense and haunting drones - the results simply harrowing. For some strange reason (probably my brain interpreting it badly) the pieces actually bring to mind Andrei Tarkofky’s classic post-apocalyptic mediation ‘Stalker’, the thick, moving drones taking me across deserted landscapes and into frightening, stark concrete bunkers. One of the most engrossing albums on Touch for some time, a big recommendation

Please click here for more '4 Rooms' reviews



  The Wire. January issue 2006. (under Electronica. Reviewed by Chris Sharp)
Jacob Kirkegaard is not so much a composer as a sound hunter - a man on a quest to capture sonic ineffabilities and bring them to our ears. In the past he has used his collection of probes, accelerometers and contact microphones to record the interior noise of ice crystals and the tiny transformative cries of nuclear fission. On Eldfjall (which translates as 'Fire Mountain') he offers an insight into the restlessness of the Earth's core by documenting the geothermal vibrations of Iceland's volcanic geyser regions. Given that they were made in such a tumultuous landscape, it's no surprise that these recordings are wonderfully and fascinatingly various - an utterly inhuman, but strangely immersive array of hisses, slithers, drones and swirls whose cumulative impact far surpasses that of many human contrivances.

Read more reviews on Elfjall here



Drenched in Sound (Dusted Magazine (USA) by Michael Crumsho)
Although many cite him as an experimental turntablist, over the course of a few great solo records Philip Jeck has built a beautiful world out of record players, and not just the beats they can create. His two most recent records, 1999s Surf and Stoke from earlier this year, nicely display his ability to weave complex patterns of sound, using vinyl to manipulate memories or older images, not rhythms. He's also quite accomplished in the realm of performance art (with his Vinyl Requiem piece) and radio, with Vinyl Codas I - IV.
Soaked emerges as a document of Jeck's performance with Jacob Kirkegaard, a noted Danish sound artist. The seven tracks here were documented during the Moers Jazz festival in Germany during this past May and display a wide variety of more ambient textures. The two artists' natural tendencies often overlap and dovetail nicely, so much so, that at times it sounds like the work of one intensely focused mind.
The first track sets the tone for many of themes visited on this set. Jeck uses his record layers wisely, coaxing longing, graceful sounds out of weathered vinyl. His locked grooves subtly shift the flow of the piece back and forth. Kirkegaard's electronics are delicately restrained, nicely punctuating the track's natural rhythm - a bit of a careful melody, with occasional bursts of low-end clattering in the background. The second track begins with a tired recording of a prayer recitation, a lullaby that gradually sneaks its way into song. These sounds are taken and looped and twisted, placed against Kirkegaard's electronic tinkering. Its effects are nothing short of haunting as the song shifts from voices in the crowd to the wild with ominous chirps and whirs placed into the background of the third track. A growing clatter builds amidst loops that grow more urgent and eerie as the track passes. The fourth track gives way to crackling and static from ancient discs, while the looped, plinking melody suggests something entirely different. As things shift even further, sounds emerge from forgotten satellites and are placed against growing washes of sound. Kirkegaard adds the finishing touches, dropping sine wave rhythms in and out amidst his clanking sound effects. The track ends with the sound of bowed cymbals that gradually fade.
As these collapse into themselves and the background, drones, skipping somewhere underneath the surface, emerge as Jeck's loops enter ambient brilliance. Touches of an Eastern melody emerge in place of the drones and a plundered vocal is gradually incorporated, only to be overcome by the low end throbs and urgent clatter that introduce the sixth track. Percussive elements struggle and kick in the background while the hums and whirs build in intensity before giving way to chaos. The frenzy calms itself as the percussion fades out and the gentle loops of gorgeous forgotten melodies wash over the beginning of the seventh and final track on the record. A shorter piece, this track relies upon another gradual build in sound, all before quickly giving way to the coming silence.
And then, as quickly as it began, it's over. The one thing that makes this collaboration work well is the two players' ability to complement each others styles so well. While Jeck favors weathered images built gradually within his records, Kirkegaard uses his sometimes jarring, sometimes soothing electronics in a variety of complementary ways. This disc doesn't fill me with the same sense of awe that some of Jeck's other work does, but it's an inspired addition to his discography, one that will appeal to fans and casual listeners alike. Which is not to say that it's all Jeck's show. Kirkegaard does a fine job establishing his role at times throughout the whole of the set, leaving his fingerprints firmly embedded on Soaked..

Read more reviews on Soaked here


The Wire. April issue 2003. Outer Limits. by Jim Haynes
Last year, the danish electronic abstactionist Jacob Kirkegaard collaborated with avant turntabilist Philip Jeck on the well recieved Soaked album, bringing complementary battery of digitised tricks to Jeck´s requiems for antique technologies. Kirkegaard´s solo album 01.02 continues down the same path, purposefully merging textural loops from beat-up vinyl with more cleanly concieved rounds of disintegrating electronica. Whereas Soaked seemed like a distinct departure for Jeck, the differences between the two artists are less clearly defined when comparing their solo works.
The sad melodic fragments culled from archetypical but unidentifiable motifs, the rendering of an abstract emotionally resonant space through slow motion repetitions, and the swells of vinyl crackle - all of which are typical of Jeck´s aesthetic - are the key components of 01.02. These similarities in the compositional and conceptual strategies for Jeck and Kirkegaard actually serve the artists well as Proustian meditations on the void between sound and memory.

Zeromoon / Vital Weekly  by Jeff Surak
This is the first solo CD by Danish artist Jacob Kirkegaard who recently worked with Philip Jeck and his own group Aeter. While listening to this cd Raymond Scott’s abstract soundscapes at times come to mind, but Kirkegaard employs a different sensibility. Here the sounds try to recall forgotten memories, recreating the sensation of events past. Delicate sonic patterns-sounds are reduced to the outline of structure rather than a direct representation. These very well can be aural memories, as the titles are city names and dates. Kirkegaard uses field recordings (perhaps from the cities listed in the titles) as instruments, integrating them into the rest of the sounds. A pensive melody, trying to move forward is overtaken by the crackle of vinyl and digital streams. Song constructions reflect Kirkegaard’s sensitive touch with fragile lines floating by heading in some unknown direction. The 9 tracks move seamlessly into each other without pause. Sounds thin as gossamer hover through the speaker. Towards the end of the CD does the fragility give way too a more aggressive sound of sine pulses and oscillations rendering an unsettling climax. (JS)

[DE:BUG review]
Von den 4 Bottrop Boy und Semishigure Releases auf CD die grade erscheinen ist diese clickend knisternd stille CD definitv unser Favorite. Sehr schöne Tracks die klingen als würde an den kleinsten Elementen immer noch wieder herumgepflückt werden, als hätte der Sound es verdient bahandelt zu werden wie ein Garten den man in jeder freien Minute pflegen muss. Musik die sich auch zwischen Recordings und purer Digitalität bewegt, aber darin einen sehr stillen Moment sucht in der das Betrachten, Hören, der Blick und der Raum in sich zusammenfallen als wäre nur dort eine Stadt (die Tracks haben alle Städtenamen, Köln, Bourgongne (äh), Kopenhagen, Paris) wo man für einen Moment innehalten kann. bleed *****

Politikken 28 feb. 03 Af Ralf Christensen
Skønheden afslører sig gennem fordybelse på 27-årige Jacob Kirkegaards '01.02' - en titel, som refererer til de to år, hvorunder han har skabt de ni numre, der alle er indspillet live på hans elektroniske udstyr, herunder laptop, sampler og minidiskafspillere. Resultatet er en anderledes abstrakt, til tider atonal, støvet, svært håndgribelig electronica, som slipper mange af de gængse musikalske virkemidler, mens Kirkegaard trænger længere ind i det elektroniske vildnis. Her finder man en musik, der kan være både idiosynkratisk støjende og ekstremt afdæmpet.
Et samplet klaver kan danse med loopet pladeknitren. Strukturerne kan være så ikke repeterende, at de kan virke decideret fraværende. Lydkilderne så skrøbelige og underbelyste, at man må skrue op for at kunne høre dem. En ridset cd med jødisk musik kan blive klikkende og hikkende fejlaflæst - og blive til ny musik.
Kirkegaard vil videre. Det er der ingen tvivl om. Videre ind i musikken på egen hånd, selv om man kan finde parallelle ruter hos spansk-amerikanske Alejandra & Aeron, tyske Random_Inc og amerikanske Matmos.
Kirkegaard er tidligere medlem af det københavnske eksperimentalband Æter, men studerer i dag i Köln. Og det er her samt i Bourgogne, Paris og København, at han har optaget lyde fra instrumenter og omverden, som han siden har bearbejdet og organiseret på forunderlige måder. Til sidste minut undres man over den krævende og særegne musik, som Kirkegaard har skabt uden for kortlagte ruter.

Ekstra Bladet 5 april 2003 weekend Henrik Queitsc, 5 Stars *****
Hvordan lyder Køln, Bourgogne, København eller Paris på en række tilfældige datoer i årene 2001 og 2002? Det afhænger selvfølgelig af ørerne, der hører, men 27-årige Jacob Kirkegaard, der har en fortid i det eksperimenterende ensemble Æter, giver et gådefuldt, men stærkt dragende bud på sin fremragende solodebut. De ni 'kompositioner' består af en blanding af hverdagslyde, samplinger, nålestøj og en hel masse andet, hvor de konkrete lydkilder ofte fortaber sig i skrattende, støvede og susende billeder, der ikke minder om nogen eller noget andet. Det skulle da lige være Titanics danseorkester, hvis sidste vals' svage ekkoer endelig når os efter 91 år på havbunden.



VITAL Review october 2001, Vital Weekly 295, Jeff Surak
Aeter is a Danish trio that produces electronic music with vocals. Gry Bagoien's voice ranges from sounding carefree/wispy to passionate/dark. The vocals add a much needed human prescence lacking in most present day electronic music. Never once does Aeter suffer from sounding dry or sterile, even when the vocals are not present. The mood is cold and nocturnal yet you can feel the warmth of the blood that pulses forth from the sounds. The fragmented songs form themselves over time-bits of rhythm and melody are introduced until they are tied together towards the end of each piece. This gives a visual/narrative tonality to the music. The fragmentation creates enough space in this music that it invites you to crawl in between the sounds. Or else it will crawl into your
head. Soft music that you can play loud. Essential.

Blender 1998. af Ralf Christensen.
Dansk musik kan være et eksotisk bekendtskab. Tag nu fx. det lille, københavnske selskab Helicopter Records´udgivelser, der udgives på grammofonplader, allermest interessant trioen Æters debutalbum.
Luftantænder kan karakteriseres som en rejse i lyd, et imaginært soundtrack man kan forsvinde i og fantasere vidre på. her er ingen nemme kategoriseringer, men sære stilleståenede stemninger, isprængt båndsløjfer, perlende skønsang, human beatbox, alskens slagtøj, støvet akkustisk guitar og samplinger af alt fra tandbørstning til motorvæddeløb på for hurtig hastighed. Lydene bevæger sig sært besværede, forsvinder ud af lydbilledet, skumpler tilbage under den underbelyste sanglærke Gry Bagøien. Melodierne kæntrer og klangene er rustne, støvede, mumlende ellers støjsprængte. Alt er anløbent og intet er hvad det giver sig ud for i denne på én gang underskønne og spøgelsesagtige lydverden. En rusten elverdrøm.