Esteemed audio-publishing imprint Touch has launched a new series of print + download editions.
The first in the series presents three exclusive and previously unreleased tracks from Biosphere, AKA ambient maestro Geir Jenssen. They all have their origins in the recording sessions that gave rise to his classic 1997 album Substrata: ‘Double Exposure’ is “a rebuild of an old track with none of the original elements left”, ‘Infinium’ the source for Substrata stand-out ‘Hyperborea’, and ‘The Things I Tell You v.4’ an alternate version of the album’s fourth track.
To accompany these digital tracks – collected under the title Substrata 2.1 and available in FLAC and mp3 formats – Touch co-founder Jon Wozencroft has prepared A3 archival print of his photograph, The Planet Is Blue (detail pictured above). The Planet Is Blue was first used for Touch’s 2001 reissue of Substrata.
“ The picture was taken from a vantage point in Taormina, Sicily, in April 2001,” says Wozencroft. “Thousands of people must have taken a photograph from this spot, so it surprises me that many people single this out as one of their favourite Touch covers and I don’t disagree – how can one take heed of the other versions that will never be seen?
“There were no postcards on sale. So instead of playing on the idea of ‘the photographic moment’, possibly this is a place that conjures up ‘the photographic universal’.
“I was overjoyed to get the chance to do a cover for Substrata. It is one of my favourite recordings of its time (the progressive year, 1997) and I’d observed how it had such a climatic effect… I’d listened to it, amazed, on holiday in Crete that summer, it became a hot record for me, whilst supposedly being from a cold environment.
“Instinctively, I shot this on 35mm tungsten film which gives it a blue cast, which was an attempt to get a Day for Night ambience, (referring to the film by Truffaut). What I didn’t realise was how difficult this would be to print. We scanned it as RGB to get the detail and colour saturation, then we had to work out how to satisfy the CMYK format. There was hardly anything in the black channel. Taormina features a lot in the film Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue) by Luc Besson. It’s about deep sea diving. It seemed to me an interesting counterpoint to Geir’s love of the mountains, to think of the equivalent below the waterline.”
Wozencroft goes on to suggest that this edition might prompt us to view Substrata in the dub tradition. “Maybe Biosphere was the answer to dub reggae, especially the music of Augustus Pablo,” he reflects. “One of the best compliments I was ever paid, came from a friend when she said the Newcastle concert on the 2001 tour was mixed like a Pablo version…Now I’m glad that these versions bear this out, vividly. King Tubby Meets the Rockers in a Coldhouse?”
Touch tells FACT that it has another print+download editions scheduled for release this summer – from veteran sound recordist Chris Watson (August). More information on this when we have it.
Substrata 2.1 is available now. Click here for details.
Substrata 2.1 tracklist:
1. Double Exposure 6:38
2. Infinium 7:07
3. The Things I Tell You 8:06
File saved: 16.May 2000, 14:08, Lunheim, Tromsdalen
A rebuild of an old track with none of the original elements left.
File saved: 8. June 1995, 18:17, Varden, Tromsø
A track that later split into “Hyperborea” and a remix for James.
‘The Things I Tell You v.4’
File saved: 13. September 1995, 21:04, Alarmveien, Tromsdalen
Almost there. Version 5 ended up on the Substrata album.