‘Touch’ forms part of a set of compositions entitled ‘The state she was in when she got home’.
It is based on the Danish poem ‘Det regner’ (‘it is raining’) by Ludvig Bødtcher (1793-1874) in which he describes his love for his bride to be. It is written and read aloud in the old Danish language. All the sounds heard in this piece are taken from a recording of a recitation of the poem.
‘Touch’ draws conceptually on Pierre Schaeffer’s distinction between acoustic and acousmatic sound. Schaeffer defines acousmatic sound as that which is “distinguished from the modes of its production and transmission”. That is, sound which has become divorced from its original sound source and confronts the listener with an ‘invisible voice’ of uncertain origins. This definition refers particularly to the practices of Musique Concrete, a genre which aims to effectively distill signal from source through microtonal manipulation of sound. ‘Touch’ aims to apply the notion of acousmatics to a sound that is indelibly tied to its source: the human voice. Deliberately no translation has been provided in order to encourage the listener to think about the poem acousmatically. This means that the words are stripped both of their narrative meaning and their connection to the source of the human voice. Instead they become sculptural material for audio manipulation as sounds that exist somewhere between the speaker and listener but are not directly tied to either source. Through this process the listener is encouraged to consider the tactile nature of words and their sounds. Thus by obscuring meaning and playing with reality, this piece enables a haptic experience of the spoken word.