Philip Jeck—the British experimental composer, turntablist, and multimedia artist—has died. Jon Wozencroft and Mike Harding from Touch confirmed the news in a statement published on Jeck’s website, saying he died peacefully on Friday following a short illness. He was 69 years old.
“A remarkable man and a wonderful artist, he has been one of the kingpins of our work for 30 years,” Touch’s statement reads. “But with Philip it was never just the work, more the love, the spirit and the dedication. He touched so many with his wit, his zest for life and his wisdom. We will miss him terribly and our love goes out to Mary and Louis.”
Jeck grew up with an interest in visual art. He studied at Dartington College of Art, which encouraged him to collaborate across media with the music and theater department. In a 2017 interview, Jeck said his background in art influenced the way he approached music composition. “When I make stuff, it’s there. It’s not a simple as saying ‘I’m doing a collage,’ but there’s elements of that,” he said. “I think of stuff as colour, the sounds I use. So I sort of paint with it, in some connection with painting and the sound.”
He began composing music with turntables in the ’80s. He worked steadily as a visual artist, with installations exhibited internationally. He was also the composer for live ballet, opera, and theater performances. Among Jeck’s works was 1993’s Vinyl Requiem, which was composed for 180 turntables, nine slide projectors, and two 16mm film projectors; it earned him a Time Out Performance Award. Vinyl Coda I-III won the Karl Sczuka Foderpreis for Radio Art. Stoke was named one of Pitchfork’s “Top 50 Albums of 2002,” and 2004’s 7 was deemed Best New Music.
In addition to releasing 12 solo albums, the most recent being 2017’s Iklectik, Jeck collaborated often with other musicians and composers including Jah Wobble, Fennesz, Alter Ego, Can’s Jaki Liebezeit, and most recently on 2021’s Stardust, Faith Coloccia.