Budhaditya Chattopadhyay’s “Withering Field” reviewed by A Closer Listen

How do we manage  the process of loss and alienation when looking from the perspective of the soon to be lost? What kind of empathy should we develop as listeners towards an effaced, or soon to be effaced, habitat? What is an ecological crisis in an era where an accelerated need to improve, industrialise and colonise becomes the norm in countries of the Global South? What is there to be saved and transmitted to the Western World in search of a critically informed exchange? What kind of creative methodologies should we develop to achieve this? What is the role of an artist in the process? How do we render acknowledgeable the wealth of cultural products, creative practices and indigenous habitats that have never seen the surface of  History’s big and exclusive agenda?

Media artist, composer and researcher  Budhaditya Chattopadhyay dares to tackle these questions. His recent publications (including Sound Practices in the Global South and Sonic Perspectives from the Global South) address a gap in knowledge by highlighting the creative sonic practices and decolonial soundmaking of countries of the Global South. As a recording artist, Chattopadhyay sets up a nexus of associations, provocations and uneasy observations about the violent and accelerated urbanisation and industralisation of Indian cities and habitats, operating as “a nomadic listener,” recording and reflecting on what he hears.

Withering Field, released by the Portuguese label Crónica, follows this same line of work, providing a 35-minute contemplative listening journey through the alienating process of dislocating indigenous habitats from their natural settings, in specific sites now considered Special Economic Zones (SEZ), forced to gearing fast towards a contemporary urbanisation. Contemplative listening places the listener at the heart of the process.  Through the different sequences of the work, the artist presents what is/was at stake, what was and will be. 

The location’s acoustic properties are introduced through minute and meticulous recordings of foreground and background details, machinery versus natural habitats, and a swarm of insects. There are moments in the recording in which the indigenous non-human and human communities seem to be attempting to contest and reverse the irreversible, standing against the wave of erasure. Every sonic gesture in Withering Field leaves a testimony of a passing trace in defiance of loss. At 09:00 the machinery is already getting closer, occupying the foreground, and yet eight minutes later indigenous drumming and singing emerges amidst the noise to protest and to reclaim.  As the work comes to an end, we witness the gradual dislocation of these voices as they become engulfed in the hum and noise of contemporary urbanisation, reminiscent of fast metro trains, ventilation units and traffic jams. They become an echo and a stain against the walls of the new built cities.  

Withering Field is a longform collection of intense moments of clarity and contrast and a great introduction to Chattopadhyay’s very personal and critically engaged work. (Maria Papadomanolaki)

via A Closer Listen

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , | Comments closed

New release: Emídio Buchinho & Ricardo Guerreiro’s “(Un)Folding”

This piece documents a live performance at the 2016 Sonic Scope festival to which Emídio Buchinho and Ricardo Guerreiro brought private individual intents that were shared towards the construction of an unpredictable path.

“A path is made by walking on it” should serve as a motto for the constructive experience of extending space-time: an experience marked by sensual contact with the materiality of all things, supported by sound. The relational dimension of sound marks a regime of transmissibility that exposes the multi-faceted nature of sound objects, not just characterizable by their aural dimension alone. The continuous recognition of the surrounding acoustic environment would therefore be the shared strategy for a listening process that would feed the creative dialogue.

How can each (non-)action of a musician on stage affect the overall sonic dimension?

How can formal unfoldings and redoublings extend the experience of heightening presence and simultaneously deepening the sensation of silence?

How is it, finally, possible to underline what is left excluded from what is being done?

“(Un)Folding” is now available to stream or download from Crónica.

Posted in Releases | Tagged , | Comments closed

Sun Dog’s “Col des Temp​è​tes” reviewed by Vital Weekly

Behind Sun Dog, we find the duo of Isabelle Duthoit (vocals) and ErikM (electronics). Of the latter, I heard before. He’s been around since the early 90s when he came on the improvised music scene armed with electronics, such as CDs, miniDisc and other electronics. He played with Luc Ferrari, Christian Marclay, Thurston Moore and others. From Isabelle Duthoit, I had not heard before. She had classical training and started an improvisation music festival in 1994. Besides voice, she also plays the clarinet (not on this release) and played concerts with Michel Doneda, Franz Hautzinger and others. The two climbed a mountain before landing in the village of Sault, where they recorded the fourteen pieces on this CD. Quite a surprising release for Cronica Electronica, I think. I know this label primarily for their releases that deal with technology, by which I mean laptop technology. Of course, ErikM uses electronics, which is also technology, but the result of this interaction with a voice makes this an unusual release for this label. And that is because the music is more part of the world of improvised music than the electro-acoustic and modern musique concrète it usually does. There are aspects of this duo that one might call electro-acoustic, with ErikM doing quite some radical stuff at times. Duthoit’s vocalisations fit the electronics pretty well. And times, one could say she imitates the electronics, which blends naturally, but there are also instances in which she tries to be as much contrast as she can be. They keep their musical interactions brief, two to four minutes, with a few exceptions, which dramatically benefits this release. Some of the album moments that are very much improvised and not so much up my alley are mixed with more abstract bursts of electronics, noisy and electro-acoustic doodling – very much up my street. There is some good energy with in this release to enjoy. (FdW)

via Vital Weekly

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , | Comments closed

Haarvöl + Xoán-Xil López’s track “The Previous Extant of the Hereafter” is included in this month’s Mind the Gap compilation of the Gonzo (circus) magazine

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , | Comments closed

Máquina Magnética reviewed by Neural

Máquina Magnética are an experimental all-star combo featuring Pedro Tudela, Miguel Carvalhais, Gustavo Costa and Rodrigo Carvalho. Tudela and Carvalhais are known for their project @c and as founders of Crónica, the record label behind this release. Costa is a remarkable drumming and percussion talent, active on the Portuguese underground scene since the early nineties with seven albums, solo and collaborative, to his credit. Rodrigo Carvalho brings his generative visuals and interactive lighting expertise to the group – expertise developed through his work with the Porto-based creative lab Openfield, and also Boris Chimp 504, his sci-fi inspired collaboration with Miguel Neto. Máquina Magnética makes the most of the diverse skills and backgrounds of its members. The group incorporate a wide range of organic and synthetic tones, studio and live performances, and electronic and acoustic sounds – all brought together through a mixture of structured composition and free improvisation. These dichotomies are also a reference to two live performances at O’culto da Ajuda in Lisbon and gnration in Braga respectively and to two studios Sonoscopia and Crónica, both of which are located in Porto. These places are where the album was recorded and mixed in a continuous process of creative exchange and open performance. This process has led to an expressive project of material beats and elegant projections. The cliché that an electronic live set might not be able to compete with the physicality of a ‘traditional’ live performance is completely dismantled by the group. These artists renew and reshape audiovisual performance, creating an experience that is intense, fresh and utterly engaging – conventional pop stars could learn a lot from them. (Aurelio Cianciotta)

via Neural

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , | Comments closed

Bruno Duplant’s “Sombres Miroirs” reviewed by Music Map

Bruno Duplant è un musicista e compositore francese. Molto attivo nella ricerca sull’avanguardia del Novecento e sulla musica concreta, l’artista è tornato in piena estate con “Sombres Miroirs”, il prosieguo naturale di “Élégie du temps présent”, pubblicato nel 2021, e seconda tappa di un trittico che si completerà con “Insondables humeurs”.

L’ultimo lavoro di Duplant vuole essere una sorta di riflessione in musica su pianeta e natura, su umanità e civiltà, ed è per questo che rincorre, in maniera costante e quasi circolare, sensazioni ambivalenti e opposte fra loro: speranza e disperazione, luce e buio, musica e silenzio che si alternano senza soluzione di continuità.

“Sombres Miroirs” si divide in due parti, con la prima leggermente più lunga della seconda: se la prima entra lentamente nel vivo, introducendo l’ascoltatore verso un mondo tetro, prima di sottili e illusorie fasi di scioglimento che precedono fasi ancora più scure e brevi squarci di luce, anticipando un finale dove entrano in gioco silenzi e sperimentazioni varie, nella seconda parte “Sombres Miroirs” sembra cercare tracce di luce, pur conservando una certa inquietudine di fondo.

Con “Sombres Miroirs”, Bruno Duplant prosegue il suo racconto in musica del nostro tempo: con uno sguardo lucido e razionale, l’artista si cimenta in un’operazione tanto ardua quanto affascinante, che scalderà i cuori di chi è già avvezzo a sonorità sospese fra l’ambient e la sperimentazione. (Piergiuseppe Lippolis)

via Music Map

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , | Comments closed

New release: Budhaditya Chattopadhyay’s “Withering Field”

The current geologic era is ascribed to the Anthropocene defined by unprecedented manmade violence over earth’s ecologies and natural environments. In this era, the ecological balance and the traditional livelihood of indigenous habitats in the re-emerging economies of Global South are endangered due to a global pressure for rapid growth in technological infrastructure and industrial development, which is a modernist project. Facing an impending climate catastrophe, these tribal landscapes and indigenous habitats along with their naturalist settings are undergoing massive displacement and dispossession resulting in an estrangement and alienation of the tribal community from nature, on which their livelihood has been based. Withering Field creates a narrative auditory situation to facilitate a contemplative listening to such events of displacement and dispossession. The work is developed through extensive fieldwork and recordings made at specific sites now considered Special Economic Zones (SEZ), situated in South Asia. It aims to delineate transitions of indigenous habitats dislocated from their natural settings, forced to gearing fast towards a contemporary urbanisation. This process is rendered in the composition within a mode of criticality and questioning. The project not only intends to foster the capacity to reconnect with the tribal community, but also makes the displacement of natural landscapes and societies audible for wider public awareness. Methodology of the composition includes incorporating the sonic elements collected from the sites to create a post-immersive and augmented narrative facilitating a context-aware listening, which creates the space for in-depth reflections on the intricate processes of environmental decay and destruction of nature that deeply affect the indigenous communities, along with their endangered memories and eroding cultural practices.

Budhaditya Chattopadhyay is an Indian-born media artist, composer, researcher, and writer. Incorporating diverse media, such as sound, text, and moving image, Chattopadhyay produces works for large-scale installation and live performance addressing contemporary issues of climate crisis, human intervention in the environment and ecology, urbanity, migration, race, and decolonization. Chattopadhyay has received numerous fellowships, residencies and international awards. His works have been widely exhibited, performed or presented across the globe, and published by Gruenrekorder (Germany) and Touch (UK). Chattopadhyay has authored The Nomadic Listener (2020); his writings on various issues around sound and listening regularly appear in peer-reviewed journals, magazines, and other publications internationally. Chattopadhyay holds a PhD in sound studies from the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, Leiden University, and an MA in new media from Aarhus University; he completed a 1-year postdoctoral fellowship, and is embarking on another. Chattopadhyay lives and works in and out of Kolkata, Berlin, and The Hague.

Withering Field” is now available as a limited release CD, stream, or download, from Crónica.

Posted in Releases | Tagged | Comments closed

Bruno Duplant’s “Sombres Miroirs” reviewed by NIEUWE NOTEN

Tot nu toe stelt Bruno Duplant, de Franse componist van elektronische muziek die net als Gintas K hier al vaker voorbij kwam, het laatsteind vorig jaar, zich bescheiden op. Er kwamen dit jaar pas twee albums uit. Bij Crónica verscheen het uit twee delen bestaande ‘Sombres Miroirs’en bij Moving Furniture Records verscheen ‘États Intermédiaires’ als cassette in de serie Eliane Tapes, waarin componisten van elektronische muziek een hommage brengen aan Eliane Radigue

Verbazen doet dat niet want de muziek van Duplant vertoont zeker overeenkomsten met die van Radigue. Iets dat ook blijkt uit ‘Sombres Miroirs’. Ook hier schildert Duplant met klank een landschap van geluid. Langgerekte geluidsslierten vormen de hoofdmoot, maar middels vernuftige interventies weet hij net weer op het juiste moment spanning toe te voegen. Want dat is wellicht wel het belangrijkste kenmerk van dit stuk: het is spannend. Iets dat vooral te wijten is aan het genuanceerd palet aan donkere kleuren. Bijzonder is bijvoorbeeld de duistere nevel verderop in het eerste deel, vol genuanceerde grijstinten, die ineens bruusk wordt onderbroken door vreemde, maar zeker ook redelijk verontrustende machinale geluiden. De belletjes die we ook horen, contrasteren daar op mooie wijze mee. En prachtig is die overgang naar de stilte aan het einde van het eerste deel. Het tweede deel begint al even subtiel, klanken die afkomstig lijken van een cello overheersen hier. En verderop doemen de duistere wolken weer op, die ook het eerste deel kenmerkten, net als de industriële geluiden.

Duplant’s hommage aan Radidgue en dan vooral haar werk uit de jaren ’70  van de vorige eeuw, is tevens naar eigen zeggen zijn persoonlijke interpretatie van de Bardo Thodol, het Tibetaanse dodenboek. ‘États Intermédiaires’ is een stuk van een uur, louter in twee stukken verdeeld vanwege de cassette en de muziek is hier nog veel subtieler dan in ‘Sombres Miroires’. Hier gaat het echt om nevelslierten die zich regelmatig maar net aan de stilte ontworstelen. De slome ritmiek die we kennen van het chanten, het op ritmische wijze uitspreken van mantra’s als onderdeel van meditatie, komen we ook tegen in dit stuk. En ook hier weet Duplant een vorm van trance te bewerkstelligen. Veel variatie kent dit stuk overigens niet. We hebben de klanknevels, die loom ritmische patronen en horen soms een klok en dat is het wel zo ongeveer. Tegelijkertijd is dat natuurlijk de charme van dit stuk, de kracht zit duidelijk in de nuance.

via Nieuwe Noten

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , | Comments closed

Haarvöl + Xoán-Xil López’s “The Uncanny Organization of Timeless Time” reviewed by Vital Weekly

In terms of abstraction, I am probably better off with Portuguese trio Haarvöl, of whom I reviewed some previous albums. Here they have a new work in which band member Xoán-Xil López (who seems to be a full-time member now) plays an Iberian Pipe Organ, and Fernando José Pereira and Joao Garia play electronics and field recordings. At the core of this, “there is no progress in art”. It’s all about the relationship between sounds and making that sound great. Haarvöl does a great job here. The old organ (from 1801) versus modern technology delivers four pieces of great drone music. While I know the group’s previous works to be inspired by the world of musique concrète techniques, to some extent, at least, there is very little of that here. Maybe the odd ending here and there, but throughout, it is simplicity that rules around this work. And for so much the better, to be honest! I realise this might be a conventional work of drone music, created with an ancient organ and digital processing, culminating in four beautiful pieces of music. Still, I also think this is the group’s best work. It’s warm and digital; its drone and natural and field recordings play a minor role in these four pieces. They are well-hidden but once removed, one notes the absence of these field recordings (children playing, rain drops), so they fully add to the wonderful music. What a great release! Maybe the favourite of this week, even when it’s still early. (FdW)

via Vital Weekly

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , | Comments closed

Bruno Duplant’s “Sombres Miroirs” reviewed by The Wire

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , | Comments closed
  • Tags

  • Categories

  • Archives