Philip Jeck is mostly known for his methods, not his music, which is a damn shame. Long after you’ve forgotten or filed away the fact that Sand, like all of his albums, is composed and played purely on turntables, old found vinyl and record players, you’ll be struck by the way Jeck’s standard miasma of sound (quasi-industrial clanking, foggy orchestral melodies, the kind of staticky walls that Fennesz for one clearly took cues from) can be so instantly and powerfully moving.
Sand is dedicated to Jeck’s mother Phyllis, who passed away this year, and it skillfully avoids the kind of lumpen sentimentality that such a dedication would normally entail. The track titles — “Shining”, Chime Again”, and the trio “Fanfares”, “Fanfares Forward” and the closing “Fanfares Over”, suggest tribute in terms of glorification rather than sadness, and the ringing, bright opening of “Fanfares Over” especially manages to be both melancholy and joyful, and moving in a way most valedictory music never touches.
Admittedly Jeck’s music never really changes, although he manages to get a lot of variation out of a fairly narrow set of sounds, but Sand also doesn’t break the trend of consistently high quality that Jeck’s had going for years now. The context alone might get a few more people to check out his otherworldly, dense form of turntablism, but fans will find more of the wonderful same.