***NEW RELEASE ON TOUCH – “Aven” is available on CD at the Touch Shop in a limited edition of 500.***
“Aven” released on 26th August 2016 – buy it now at the Touch Shop
A Closer Listen (net):
Aven refers to that which is hidden, yet still is heard: underground shafts through which air reaches the surface. Fascinated by Iceland’s natural geothermal activity, Bethan Kellough recorded the subterranean rumbles and upper-level hisses, and augmented them with wind recordings made in Iceland and South Africa. Only the very trained ear will be able to distinguish the difference between South African wind and Icelandic wind (Savannah bush, strands of straw), but neither identification nor deception is her intention. This soundscape is inspired by the very nature of sound.
While field recordings are the lead story, the artist also plays violin. Her gentle strings allow her to shape the soundscape into a personal reflection. What do you hear in these sounds? she asks without words. What drama can be heard in rising rumbles and twists of wind? To escape through a shaft from an underground cave is to act out a myth, and Kellough provides just the right balance of darkness and light.
For the most part, the success of the strings is in their subtlety, but a few exceptions apply. When Kellough shifts from light drone to composed notes in “Vision”, the attention shifts from the earth to the artist, performing a pas de deux with the planet. Her sound design is exquisite, as she allows the growing rushes to battle and briefly overwhelm her own music. “Canopy” includes both violin and piano, challenging the listener to define which sound source is canopy and which is shade. Again the earth’s drones rush in to dominate the sound field, but this time, Kellough matches them with a rising volume of her own. Only in the aftermath does the wind subside, although it is more proper to say that the artist causes the sound of the wind to subside. Job may have rued the futility of chasing the wind, but at least in one sense, this sound artist has managed to capture it. [Richard Allen]
Norman Records (UK):
A marriage of untouched field recordings and arranged stringwork brings Bethan Kellough’s Aven together. These tracks came into existence via captured sound from Iceland, a great spot to capture the audibly intense “geothermal activity” that goes on in the ground. By using violin alongside these sound discoveries, Kellough offers something both earthy and fantastical, taking the natural world’s slice of life and developing new narratives. This CD for Touch includes a similar smelting of sound design and composed music for field recordings captured in South Africa.
Touch introduce a set of keen, new set of ears to the field with Bethan Kellough’s divine debut, Aven; offering a sweeping demonstration of her sensitivity towards spatial aesthetics, natural sounds, and string composition. Where Richard Skelton, Chris Watson and Anne Guthrie leave off, Bethan is subtly shaping up a gorgeous sound of her own. Definitely check this and keep an eye out for what may come!
Tym razem brytyjska kompozytorka prowadzi nas niby w głąb wyimaginowanego świata przyrody. Ale czy na pewno jest to przestrzeń wykreowana tylko w jej głowie?
Od razu odpowiem – że nie. Ponieważ Bethan Kellough przygotowując swoje utwory na płytę „Aven” sięgnęła po nagrania terenowe z Islandii i Republiki Południowej Afryki, które zresztą sama zarejestrowała w 2015 roku. Oprócz tego spoiwa, jakim jest tu field recording, Kellough przetwarza także brzmienie skrzypiec, po czym całość nasyca ambientową elektroniką.
Odnosząc się do nagrań terenowych to w obu przypadkach artystka uchwyciła wiatr: na Islandii mikrofon kontaktowy ukryła pod cienką warstwą trawy, zaś w RPA „złapała” silny powiem powietrza zwiastujący nadejście sztormu – tam mikrofon umieściła pośród krzaków porastających okoliczną sawannę. To, co jest charakterystyczne dla jej kompozycji, to to, że potrafi w nich balansować między ciszą a narastającą dynamiką, zachowując przy tym nieskrępowaną elegancję i lekkość. Chyba najlepiej to słychać w dwóch intrygującym nagraniach, czyli „Canopy” i „Low”.
Da alcuni anni il marchio Touch non equivale più alla sola attività di label discografica – tra le più autorevoli degli ultimi trent’anni in materia di sperimentazione elettronica, ambient e drone – ma anche ad attività collaterali volte a promuovere e sostenere le ricerche più interessanti del settore. Ciò avviene principalmente attraverso conferenze, con la partecipazione di importanti artisti del roster, e mentorship volte a fornire un affiancamento tecnico e didattico alle giovani promesse che l’etichetta ritiene meritevoli di supporto.
A quest’ultimo programma ha preso parte, nel 2015, la compositrice e sound artist britannica Bethan Kellough, che ha catturato suoni in presa diretta nei suoi viaggi e residenze artistiche in Islanda e Sudafrica, al fianco di numi tutelati del field recording come Chris Watson e Francisco López.
Presentato e inciso pochi mesi fa nell’ambito della Touch Conference presso lo spazio South Of Sunset di Los Angeles, “Aven” rappresenta uno straordinario approdo nella contaminazione tra suono naturale, acustico e digitale.
Taluni artisti operano un contrasto più o meno netto tra le due dimensioni, mentre altri approcciano la polifonia dell’ambiente naturale con religioso rispetto, preservandone la ricchezza a scapito dell’impronta umana. La versatile Kellough si situa idealmente nel mezzo, armonizzando con estrema fluidità i moti d’acqua e vento con il suono gentile del suo violino – sovrainciso e riverberato sino a emulare le orchestre d’archi di Arvo Pärt –, in un dialogo di qualità e intensità sempre diverse dove realtà e artificio divengono una nuova istanza indissolubile.
Non sorprende che i primi pareri entusiastici siano stati quelli di Roly Porter e Paul Jebanasam: nelle poderose ondate elettroniche che attraversano “Vision” e “Low” risuonano tanto i moti astrali di “Third Law” quanto la realtà disgregata di “Continuum”; sono sferzate sparute e sfuggenti, e quindi ancor più efficaci, entro un grande quadro acustico che non forza mai la mano sulle modificazioni, generando come un minuscolo pianeta dall’equilibrio tormentato ma da ultimo incorruttibile.
Un gioiello di composizione contemporanea edito in sole 500 copie Cd, da avere e custodire come una rarità.
Driftworks @ Desert X, Ace Hotel, Palm Springs – 14th January 2017
Desert X and VOLUME present an evening of collaborative soundscapes at Ace Hotel & Swim Club. The event will present a quadrophonic sound installation of work by Jana Windren, Chris Watson, Philip Jeck and others from the acclaimed UK label Touch, organized by label head Mike Harding. The event will will also feature performances by Geneva Skeen and Bethan Kellough that will begin at 7:30pm.
Artist Talk at USF Verftet, Bergen – 25th November 2016
Bethan Kellough, current artist in residence at USF in Bergen, will talk about sound, space, field recording and creating sonic worlds…
Friday 25th November 2016, at 1400.
Room 355 / Entrance E (by the clock)
Multi: Bethan Kellough @ Ekko Festival Bergen 3rd November 2016
Surround version of “Aven” presented at Ekko Festival in November. Details and tickets on the Ekko Festival website
Touch vs Touch Vinyl: Touch Vinyl, Los Angeles, 30th July 2016 4.30pm
Live performances from Mark van Hoen, Bethan Kellough and Touch
From September 2015: Now Broadcasting: Touch Radio 117 | Bethan Parkes Live in Los Angeles
Nichola Scrutton::webSYNradio – Glasgow: Place, Space and Memory 16-30 June 2016
Interlude (2014) is included in Nichola Scrutton’s “Glasgow: Place, Space and Memory” broadcast on webSYNradio from 16th-30th June.
Noiseless Matter Exhibition – GRAD Gallery, London
Performance at Touch Conference – VOLUME @ South of Sunset
30th April 2016, 6-9pm, 1218 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Tickets available here
VOLUME is pleased to host the Touch Conference with presentations by Philip Jeck, Mark Van Hoen, Bethan Parkes & Touch.
** Seating is limited to 40 **
Touch (est. 1982) is one of the last surviving labels from the turbulent new wave period in London, which uniquely fused art, design and music. Hear artists from the label roster present and demonstrate their work to a discerning audience. Audio-visual.
Philip Jeck uses turntables and sampler to create a unique sonic improvisation, both emotionally captivating and technically involving. Audio only.
Mark Van Hoen, with modular synth and software pushed the analogue/digital envelope to create damaged melodies, drones and dense claustrophobia. Audio-visual.
Bethan Parkes – Her work spans across field recording, sound design, ambisonic composition and multichannel sound installation practices, drawing a focus on sonic spatial experience. Her works are designed to open out spaces with sound, exploring spatial aesthetics and the interactions between sonic and visually articulated spaces. Audio.
“angels i:8” – Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles
5th February 2016, 11:30pm-3am
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Grand Ave, Los Angeles
A 4 hour octophonic sound projection with multi-channel audio works from the roster of Touch sound artists, including Chris Watson, Jana Winderen, Bethan Parkes, Hildur Gudnadottir, The Eternal Chord, Philip Jeck, Simon Scott, BNilsen & drøne
Sonic Mmabolela, 17th-30th November 2015.
Workshop/Residency in South Africa, directed by Francisco Lopez. More info here.
Resonant Forms Festival, Los Angeles.
September 11th 2015, 8:00pm – 11:00pm, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions.
Simon Scott, Bethan Parkes, Jen Boyd and Touch (live mix)