[STR 022] Torre da Paz

“Torre da Paz are based on field recordings made in the Peace Tower, located in the village of Benfeita, Arganil. This tower, built in schist, is one of the symbols of the village, symbolizing and honoring the fact that Portugal did not participate in World War II. Every year, on the 7th of May, the Peace Tower clock chimes 1620 times during one hour and twenty minutes, one for each day that Portugal did not participate in the conflict. The sounds of the bell art mechanics mingle with the living memory of the villagers who accompanied the construction and evolution of the Tower of Peace.

Torre da Paz is about time, a very particular time in an inland village in the heart of the protected area of Açor Mountain. The clock tower of the church marks the time of daily duties, whether at home, in the streets, in the woods or in agricultural fields along the banks of the river. The identity(s) of the village and their daily noise cadence, are largely associated to this sound framework. In result, the Peace Tower clock marks the time of history and its relationship with the community.”

– Luís Antero
February 2014

The soundscape of the noosphere

Composers cannot discard sounds from their sonic palette as much as painters cannot ignore all the available and perceivable colors. Choices made by the artist, of a particular sound or color, are only limited by the events of their times, their experiences, environment, and ultimately by the creative impulse that drives their work.

Any choice is therefore legitimate and unquestionable. The “effect of estrangement” that derives from some of these choices will become clear within the context of the creative act. On the other hand, any a priori rejection outside this context could mean artistic suicide.

In all definitions of music, even the most conservative, sound is a primary concern. Its musical qualities derive from the structure within which different sounds are combined.

Music is the “art of combining sounds to (…) speak to the feelings and to move the soul,” according to one dictionary of music. Varèse defined music as “organized sound”, and Xenakis considered it the “expression of human intelligence through sound”. All these definitions suggest some notion of structure. Structures, not the sounds themselves, define the character of music. I prefer the definition of music given by Fabre d’Olivet, the French 18th century thinker, poet and composer, which I will refer to later.

Science and art, music and noise, consonance and dissonance are complementing categories today. The interchangeability between art and science, the fine line that separates music from noise, the reversibility of consonance and dissonance observable today, turned these hitherto contrasting elements into new possible harmonies and therefore a discussion about their more or less legitimate usage pointless. We need to move further. Sound, the sounds and the structures that shape them can be and are more than simple elements to move the soul.

Many composers and sound artists understood this and went beyond these false oppositions, embracing new sonic universes and discovering new ways to structure them. Joining this inevitable and urgent effort to reveal the world that is contained in the world of sound, became the focus of today’s sound artists and composers. The inevitability and urgency of this effort seemed so

pressing that it even attracted people from outside the ranks of the sound arts and from other cultural practices.

The art of Luís Antero has roots on this original movement. In addition to the qualities of sensitivity and technical skills that can be readily recognized in his work, another important aspect becomes clear: each sound, each and every combination of sounds, contain within them and constitute in themselves a document with an unquestionable hermeneutic value. Through his work the particular sound heritage of Luís Antero, the one to which he admittedly belongs and that he proudly reveals to us, becomes universal. It becomes part of our own sound heritage as well. The goal that Luís Antero generously set out to produce is to devise a way for us to understand this.

Time to call upon Fabre d’Olivet’s definition of music, which applies well to the work of Luis Antero. Music, d’Olivet once wrote, is “the knowledge of the order of all things, the science of harmonic relationships of the Universe; it rests on immovable principles which nothing can alter.”

Carlos Alberto Augusto, 14-06-07