Philip Jeck
Philip Jeck

Philip Jeck

About Philip Jeck

Philip Jeck is an English avant-garde composer and performance artist who utilizes antique turntables in order to make haunting audio sculptures as well as ambitious large-scale installations. Using looping devices and a variety of analog and digital effects, he uncovers hidden rhythms in forgotten records, embracing surface noise and distortion. His recordings can range from jarring rhythmic noise excursions to ghostly, longform drones. He started experimenting with turntables and electronics during the early '80s, and began releasing music on British label Touch in 1995; the label has issued many of his best-known recordings, such as Surf, Stoke, and 7. He has collaborated with musicians such as Gavin Bryars, Jah Wobble, Jaki Liebezeit, and Janek Schaefer. His visual artworks and installations have been presented at numerous prestigious galleries. He has also composed music for opera, ballet, and film.

After studying the visual arts at Dartington College in Devon, Jeck began a performance career that found him at art galleries as well as warehouse parties, where he emulated the turntable tricks of American hip-hop DJs like Grandmaster Flash. It was during a five-year collaboration with contemporary dancer Laurie Booth, though, that Jeck developed a more personal and experimental style of music-making allied with Canadian John Oswald's style of plunderphonics sampling. Jeck's 1993 Vinyl Requiem installation with Lol Sargent utilized 180 turntables as well as 12 slide projectors and two film projectors, and won a Performance Award from Time Out magazine. The following year, he appeared on the Blast First! compilation Deconstruct alongside Christian Marclay, John Oswald, Bruce Gilbert and Stock, Hausen & Walkman and in 1995, Jeck released his debut album, Loopholes, for Touch. Surf followed four years later. Vinyl Coda I-III, a double CD containing live radio broadcasts and performances, appeared on Intermedium Records in 2000, with Vinyl Coda IV appearing the following year. Also in 2001, Jeck contributed to 4 Parabolic Mixes, a double CD on Sub Rosa containing works based on 8 Études Paraboliques by Henri Pousseur, featuring mixes by Pousseur as well as Main and Oval.

In 2002, Jeck collaborated with fellow turntablist Claus van Bebber for a live performance which was released as Viny'l'isten by Intermedium Records. Another collaborative effort called Invisible Architecture #1, a document of a live performance with Otomo Yoshihide and Martin Tétreault, was released by Audiosphere. Jeck also released Stoke (one of his most critically acclaimed solo albums) and Soaked (a collaboration with Jacob Kirkegaard), both on Touch. 2003 saw the release of two solo albums by Jeck: 7 (Touch) and Host (Sub Rosa). 2004 brought two more collaborative albums: Songs for Europe (Piosenki Dla Europy) (Asphodel) with Janek Schaefer and Live in Leuven (30 Hertz Records) with Jah Wobble and Jaki Liebezeit. In 2007, Touch released a recording of a 2005 performance of Gavin Bryars' The Sinking of the Titanic by Italian ensemble Alter Ego that featured Jeck on turntables. Sand, Jeck's first solo album in five years, was released by Touch in 2008, as was Amoroso, a split 7" with Fennesz in which both artists manipulated a recording of organ player Charles Matthews. A limited vinyl-only solo release titled Suite: Live in Liverpool was issued by Touch and Autofact Records in 2009, and The Tapeworm issued a Jeck cassette called Spool, created entirely using as bass guitar, the same year.

In 2010, Touch released Spliced, a collaborative 7" between Jeck and Marcus Davidson. Jeck's next solo album, An Ark for the Listener, was also released by Touch that year. TablesAreTurned, a double-LP collaboration between Jeck, Alter Ego, and Bernhard Lang, and based on a song by Amon Düül 2, was released by God Records in 2011. Following a few digital-only releases of live performances, Jeck returned to record shops in 2015 with Cardinal, a double LP issued by Touch. God Records reissued Vinyl Coda in two double-LP installments, with I-II appearing in 2016 and III-IV arriving two years later. In between, Touch released Jeck's live CD Iklectik, recorded at the London venue of the same name. Digital release Arcade, also recorded at the same venue, appeared in 2018. ~ John Bush & Paul Simpson, Rovi

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