Listening - Monday, Jan 13th 2020

Musique Électroacoustique - Electroacoustic Music

Helado Negro’s This Is How You Smile keeps growing on me each listen. I slept on it last year mostly, and I sometimes have a hard time finding a way in to records which are to my ears a collection of individual projects. Meaning, I guess: a singles collection with interstitial tracks and transitions placed around each island of a song. That’s not a dig, singles make economic sense now more than ever so it seems. Maybe that doesn’t apply at all to this album, but for working musicians fighting for stream counts it seems like a common tactic is to work piece-by-piece, drip the release and try to maintain attention in an oversaturated culture. Anyway the songs are so good, the production reveals itself to be more nuanced every time I play it, and I mean who cares if it’s a just a collection of good stuff and wasn’t composed as one lilting stroke of sound in the old fashion. It’s a really strong collection of songs and it’s my pleasure to find a way into hearing them being a collection as such – which, I’m expecting to happen naturally over further listens.

I realized recently I’d never heard the Pisaro & Stuart duo Ricefall before – squidco had a sale, and now I’m a proud owner of a very loud and present disc of amplified rice. The textures in this recording are top notch computer music – except of course, they’re not at all. I couldn’t help daydreaming of software implementations of these sounds though – the entire thing is really sharp, detailed, microgestures seething constantly under the surface as I guess you’d expect when you’re dealing with hundreds of thousands of little percussive events! I’d call it a top notch album of analog granular synthesis.

Milton Nascimento & Lô Borges’ Clube Da Esquina is still an epic, gorgeous jaw-dropping classic. I can’t write about it yet.

Another cold listen of the day was the first disc of a compilation of electroacoustic music from Canada. I grabbed it because I thought I didn’t have the Dhomont piece on it (it turns out I do have it, but it’s a really really excellent one) but I was excited to find the comp spans decades from the 50s to the 90s and I’ve already got a few new names I’ll need to explore further – like Alcides Lanza whose … There Is A Way To Sing It… was one of the highlights of this disc for me.

I also finally pulled this new Sukora album off the shelf for a proper listen. It’s probably the best lowercase/silent album I’ve heard since I popped my first Bernhard Günter CD into the player. There’s almost nothing there, but there’s not nothing there either. Excursions like this are wonderful excuses to do close listening to your current environment, but the album managed to be almost not there and at the same time create a framed experience for me that was more concrete than just active listening. There are rumbles, there are whisps of distant (high) tones and there are lots of little plops and ploops. It gave me the impression of being in an empty cave, I imagined I was hearing the slow drip from a stalactite forming. Each plop was an impulse tracing the shape of the space being superimposed onto my apartment.

Next time, headphones.