In early 2004, Touch released a two-CD compilation album titled Spire: Organ Works Past, Present & Future. The project featured the church organ (or various conceptions of the church organ) in all kinds of natural and processed settings. On September 5 of that year, a concert event was held at St. Pierre's Cathedral in Geneva. The first part of the program consisted of a set of acoustic church organ pieces performed by Charles Matthews and Marcus Davidson. The latter's "Opposites Attract" opens the album with majestic chords. The piece is a bit pompous but also striking and resolutely modern. André Jolivet's "Hymne à l'Univers" tightrope-walks between chaos and order. Henryk Gorécki's "Kantata for Organ" is an orgiastic organfest, ferocious and brutal. All these works explore the grandiose aspect of the instrument, its power and its spirituality. Afterwards, B.J. Nilsen (once known as Hazard) performed a 30-minute set in the Small Chapel, shifting back and forth between organ and computer. The piece is ethereal, dreamy, slightly lacking in focus yet interesting in its deconstruction of the organ sound's defining elements. Disc two begins with a riveting 45-minute set by Philip Jeck who, playing in the crypt underneath the cathedral, combined all kinds of organ sources on vinyl, from liturgy to rock and beyond, to create a shocking piece of music. Significantly cruder than what can be heard on his previous Touch release (the disappointing 7), this marathon work takes us back to his Vinyl Coda days. Fennesz closed the event with a delicate 25-minute set back at the Small Chapel, opting for spirituality and elevation. On first listen, his shimmering tones represent the farthest step away from the organ, but the introspection they express evokes the peace and quiet of a deserted church. The packaging (wallet-style) is again beautiful and this album is overall better (more cohesive) than the previous Spire compilation. And the long sets by Nilsen, Jeck and Fennesz are enough to satisfy fans of either three.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2