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The Eternal Chord
Charles Matthews & Marcus Davidson
“Organology”, group improvisation
To conclude the Festival and celebrate its own thirtieth anniversary, British label Touch invites us to one of its Spire events, which are centered on the sonic power of the organ. Almost no other instrument can trace a vector from the deep time of technology through to the present, and thus equal the several thousand-year history of the organ. Consequently, the curators of Touch are just as interested in transferring this instrumental concept to modern technology (the organ as a forerunner of the synthesizer), as they are in the psycho-physical impact of its sound, in the history of the political instrumentalisation of the organ, and in the first experience and ritual appropriation of its underlying principles in prehistoric times – namely of wind, whistling through natural cavities and chimneys. As a deep-listening event with works by Giacinto Scelsi, Jana Winderen, Olivier Messiaen, Marcus Davidson, György Ligeti, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Frank Martin, Charles Camilleri, Stephen Montague, Arvo Pärt, Eleh, Diana Burrell, The Eternal Chord, and a group improv session, Spire makes manifest the metaphysical focus that has permeated the Touch label program since its inception.
CHARLES MATTHEWS (UK)
Charles Matthews pursues a varied career as pianist, organist, composer, and teacher. In avant-garde circles he is most widely known for his work as the organist for a number of Touch collaborations. He has studied at the Royal College of Music, London and at Trinity College, and is currently the organist for St Catharine’s Church in Gloucestershire.
MARCUS DAVIDSON (UK)
Marcus Davidson is a composer, producer, keyboard player, and longtime participant in Spire. A chorister at Worcester Cathedral, Davidson also reads music at Birmingham University, where he studied composition with Vic Hoyland.
HILDUR GUÐNADÓTTIR (IS)
Hildur Guðnadóttir is a gifted cellist and composer with an impressive history of collaborators including Pan Sonic, and Ben Frost, and releases on Oral, Quecksilber, and Touch. She likes to conjure the somber rapture of multi-tracked cello.
THE ETERNAL CHORD (INT)
An ongoing Touch project, initiated by label co-founder Mike Harding, The Eternal Chord is an improvised organ piece without end, performed by a constantly-changing roster of invited guests.
JANA WINDEREN (NO)
Constantly exploring new sound and recording technology, Jana Winderen is preoccupied with revealing the complexity and strangeness of the unheard (and often unseen) worlds of hidden sound sources, as well as qualities in natural sounds that are ea-sily audible but not easily recognizable.
A project that is not often performed live, the mysterious apologist(s) of analog sound synthesis, Eleh, create a powerful, deep listening experience that places an emphasis on creating tonal juxtapositions, spatial explorations of sound, low bass tones, and various spectral acoustic phenomena.
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