Dusted Reviews

Philip Jeck - Suite: Live in Liverpool

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Philip Jeck

Album: Suite: Live in Liverpool

Label: Touch

Review date: Jan. 23, 2009

By now you probably know what Philip Jeck sounds like, and whether or not you like what he does. This record is unlikely to sway your opinion if you don’t, and if you do, it will simply reconfirm what you already know. If it noses out the rest of the pack, it’s because it finally answers a long-standing question; when is he going to put out an LP?

Vinyl has been Jeck’s medium since the early 80s, before changing formats made it an emblem of obsolescence. But as records and their players seemed ever more to represent something past, he found ways to use the eroded sound of time and wear to forge a link with things lost and half-remembered. His own presentations have grown leaner with time, from installations with dozens of turntables to his current live set-up with one or two; he’s also used fewer and fewer records within a concert, preferring to wring maximum effect from each looped and sampled phrase. But even though he’s made his music from records, until now he’s put it out on CD.

Suite: Live in Liverpool is Jeck’s first LP, and it doesn’t come in any other format. While there are doubtless some turntable-enabled folk gloating about that fact as they listen to the thump of the stylus hitting the groove and rolling directly into a thicket of craftily cut crackle, I kind of wish the label would relent and make it digitally available. This is top-drawer stuff, as affecting as anything the man has ever made. Suite shares some source material with Sand, which came out a few months earlier, but the edits are less obvious. The material’s underlying narrative is thus less overt, but just as affecting. The fragments of music that Jeck has appropriated — a woozy sitar lick, disembodied drumbeats, muzaky orchestral swells — range from cryptic to simply banal, but derive paradoxical power from their anonymity. The selections have a vague, could-have-heard-it-anywhere quality that draws you into a state of reverie; once there, phrases flicker past and around each other through a dense fog of echo and surface noise like memories you can’t quite grasp. But it isn’t formless; Jeck’s mastery lies in knowing how long to let it play out. The music may invite you to get lost, but it never loses its own way.

By Bill Meyer

Other Reviews of Philip Jeck


An Ark for the Listener

Read More

View all articles by Bill Meyer

Find out more about Touch

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.