Various Star Switch On

A sampler of the latest offerings from the Touch label featuring reinterpretations and remixes of field recordings made by Chris Watson by various artists such as Biosphere, Fennesz and Hazard, among others. All these artists, for the purposes of this recording, pursue the most abstract extremes heard yet from them. Some tracks sound like straight-up field recordings with only the slightest manipulation, while others are ambient drone, with only one melodic track on this compilation. Mika Vainio's "Outside the Circle of Fire" opens up with a hive of buzzing bees before falling into more subdued solitary insect-like clicking noises. Just when the listeners' mind drifts along to the sparseness of the track, several canon-like explosions erupt from the following track, "Capriole," by Philip Jeck. Quite jarring if one turned up the speakers loud to better hear the first track. Chris Watson's "Cassarina" is a fairly straightforward field recording of waves lapping against a beach, with various male voices eerily calling out in an indecipherable language. Then there is "Pannonique," by Christian Fennesz, which sounds unlike anything he has ever made. Rather than anything that resembles a processed pop tune, there is the rapid repetitive noise that might be the work of a woodpecker or a vigorously croaking frog. "Goat Behavior," by AER, is an interesting eerie drone piece with resonating whistles and ringing sounds that are likely attributed to wind chimes. Finally there is "Night and Dawn," by Biosphere, which is the most melodic (and likely best) thing they have ever done and admittedly, the most processed track here. Amidst several field samples of twittering birds are rhythmic patterns formed by dead static and loops of electrical hisses set amidst synthesiser overtones, then several moments of silence and the sound of several dogs wailing and moaning. This compilation is in keeping with the Touch aesthetic of sonic growth and sound evolution, where artists make sounds unlike anything they have previously created. (Touch)