Oxmardyke is the final work of British multimedia artist and pioneer turntablist who passed away untimely in March 2022, and is a true homage to his exceptional sonic vision.
Jeck, while being hospitalized due to severe back pains, mixed and edited field recordings that his close friend, sound artist Chris Watson (known as a founding member of the experimental Cabaret Voltaire band) recorded at Yorkshire’s Oxmardyke rail crossing over a few weeks. This album is Jeck and Watson’s only full-length album as a duo.
Watson discussed with Jeck the sounds, stories and history of the site, and both artists found inspiration from different sources. Jeck was drawn to the ancient history of the area from the 6th-century Anglo-Saxon times to the Knights Templar and how the sounds, rhythms and textures from those periods may still inhabit the contemporary landscape. Watson took inspiration from The Signalman by Charles Dickens and the painting Rain, Steam and Speed by Joseph Mallord William Turner.
Jeck and Watson managed to create an untimely and quite tangible, cinematic story about a meeting point of nature – with many types of bird calls – and modern industry’s rhythmic patterns – the processed sounds of freight trains. This meeting point may sound at first innocent and peaceful but Oxmardyke suggests more highly nuanced, abstract, impressionist and unsettling reflections and perspectives – and, obviously, vivid sonic layers and resonating pulses – about the clash of industry and nature. Furthermore, this album focuses on how the history of this specific location still haunts its present. Especially now that the Oxmardyke gate box has passed into history.
Philip Jeck (electronics), Chris Watson (field recordings)