Hi, everybody! Well, I’ve decided to kick off the first of my rants by bringing your attention to one of my favorite artists, Philip Jeck. (My apologies to those who may already know and love him.) Before I start, though, I want to throw it out there that if you only have a few minutes in your day to hit the blogs, go to the awesome www.spittingoutteeth.com before you read my posts on Highgate. Jay is a local aficionado of the highest order, and we’re lucky to have his website as a source of information and entertainment. I look forward to reading his posts every day, and his quips and insights make my mundane workdays much more tolerable.
So, Philip Jeck. You may be wondering, “Just how much do you love Philip Jeck, Josh?” Let me put it like this, you guys: As you’ll be reminded over and over (and over) in future rants, Radiohead has always been and will always be the first among my many loves. Jeck is a close number two. So yeah, I frickin’ adore the guy.
Based in the UK and signed to Touch, Jeck is one of the main players in the fascinating genre of avant turntablism, and he shares virtually no common ground with a traditional DJ other than an affinity for crate digging. He salvages old, damaged turntables from junk shops, stocks his studio with obscure, scuffed-up vinyl, and squeezes out profoundly gorgeous, haunting, and occasionally disturbing noises using these components, as well as delay pedals, a minidisc player, and the odd keyboard. He spins his records simultaneously using anywhere from six to 80 turntables at a time, and allows serendipity (to a certain degree) to negate how the compositions emerge. The various scratches, skips, and pops of the weathered vinyl are vital ingredients to the overall sound, as they provide rhythm, depth, and momentum to the pieces. To quote one of Jeck’s contemporaries, Martin Tetreault, “Everything you don’t want to hear on a record, I’m interested in.”
Jeck isn’t the first to create transcendent noise using these methods. Others such as Chrisitan Marclay, Otomo Yoshihide, and Tetreault have employed similar techniques for years, and each has his own eccentricities to distinguish one from the other. I’ve checked out the works of these artists, and while everything I’ve heard is certainly striking, I find Jeck’s creations to be far more pleasurable. His particular breed of vinyl crackle, warped, narcotic loops, and ghostly voices that perpetually float in and out of the mix resonates with me like no other music does.
I don’t really want to delve into describing particular albums at this point, because that’ll come later when I introduce a list I’m currently putting the finishing touches on. In the meantime, if you’re interested in checking out some of Jeck’s stuff, I suggest you start with his two most current solo works, Stoke and 7, and if you’re looking for more, grab 1999’s Surf and 2001’s Vinyl Coda IV.
I’m thrilled to report that I will no longer be able to end with the final paragraph I’d initially written up, which is the following:
“According to some, his piece-de-resistance is Vinyl Coda I-III, but I can’t seem to find that sucker anywhere. If any of you more savvy hunters can figure out a way to locate it, you’ll have a friend for life. Actually, I’ll be your friend regardless, but this would definitely speed up the process!”
Best-wife-ever, Cheryl, read my post when it was still up on the computer screen, and without me knowing, went online, and within 45 minutes found and purchased Vinyl Coda I-III for me on Germany’s Amazon! Oh hell yes. There were four sellers, and thankfully one of them was willing to ship it to the U.S., so it should be showing up in the next few weeks. Hooray for me! (And hooray for you if you ask me nicely for a copy…)
associated link: Buddy Rich vs. Animal on Spanish Television. (Ed. - ok, so there's no association. but i mean, damn this is awesome. )