Faith Coloccia & Philip Jeck – Stardust (Touch)

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Faith Coloccia is an American songwriter and musician best known via Seattle outfits Mamiffer and House of Low Culture. UK artist Phillip Jeck works with old junk shop record players creating this ephemeral almost melancholic hauntology. When Coloccia managed to catch one of Jeck’s Seattle concerts she asked if he was interested in a collaboration. This is the result.

It’s a collaboration, though it’s also a remix project – just not in the way you expect. Following the birth of her son Coloccia began recording melodies drawn from lullabies she would sing for him, enhanced with piano, organ, electronics, guitar. She released some of these as Mára’ back in 2019 on Here Behold Your Own. After the conversation with Jeck she started pressing material onto dubplates for him to manipulate via his unique use of pedals and record players.

The results are probably what you expect, warm woozy washes of sound that seem to arrive right at the intersection between the two artists. It’s fascinating to hear Jeck’s work on new records as we’re so used to hearing all the reverbed pops and skips and imperfections – which in a way has cloaked his music from the outset, yet here its relatively clean. Yet he is an expert in abstraction in elongating and distending the sounds from their original source – and this is what he does here. In Jeck’s music sounds appear for a few moments and then are subsumed by the whole, before another sound does the same. In this way the focus continually shifts across the piece.

Coloccia’s instrumental pieces in particular are quite amazing, progression no longer feels linear. Jeck creates whole new structures, density and modulations. Gentle minimal pieces become all encompassing waves of sound. Cadences are woozy, cyclical, and calming. Weird impediments appear. Yet these just make everything better. His handling of the vocals too is remarkable, Jeck offers heavenly drifting reverb and ghostly backup singers, restructuring the gentle lullabies into something entirely new. At times it feels like we’re heading in Gavin Bryars territory here. The transformation is remarkable.

It’s hard to know what this is. And that’s what makes it so great. Rather than the sum of the two artist’s parts it feels like this project has elevated both of them into entirely new realms.

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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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