Boomkat Product Review:
When we last heard from experimental turntablist Philip Jeck he was performing alongside Alter Ego as part of their fresh take on Gavin Bryars' The Sinking Of The Titanic, casting a sepia-tinged crackle over the recording. Sand is a return to Jeck's solo work, further exploring the quite unexpected emotional resonance stirred up by old records and their dismantled sonic properties. As ever, Jeck uses old vinyl and decayed audio as a portal into memories, and like the machinations of remembrance, his audio is hazy, obscured and coloured by distortions. 'Unveiled' is an apt re-introduction to Jeck's universe, constructed from waves of pure texture and mist, phasing out of control at first only to permit some recognisable streams of piano to permeate the deep, cavernous crackle. Following directly on, 'Chime Again' manipulates recordings of bells, sounding like some psychedelic campanologist's nightmare. Suddenly the tone shifts for 'Fanfares', a piece assembled from recognisable elements of Emerson Lake & Palmer's recording 'Fanfare For The Common Man' looped and detuned into a clamorous haze. This is a theme that persists over the course of much of this album's remainder, with 'Fanfares Forward' further making a mockery of this most grandiose of musical forms: the overwhelming, brassy qualities of the previous 'Fanfares' have been pared down to a more sedate, distorted loop format, before the lengthy album closer 'Fanfares Over' devours an escalating mass of anthemic sounds, coloured by the same spiralling phase effects that commenced the record via 'Unveiled'. "Sand" is one of Jeck's most beautiful and approachable releases to date: his source material is so thoroughly dissolved that the music enters the domain of outright ambience more comprehensively than on records like Surf or Stoke - albums that explicitly made use of old gospel and bluegrass 78s. Instead, Sand is more about the processes themselves than the content, forging music from raw texture and effects-driven manipulation. The result is, predictably enough for a Philip Jeck record, quite breathtaking. Highly Recommended.