Emerging territories. LUÍS ANTERO, JAY-DEA LOPEZ
What makes a phonography work effective? What makes a phonographic work worthy of more interest and appeal than others? Is it the equipment? The location? The focus of the recorder’s attention? The moment?
At the end phonography rather than any other ‘music’, serves as a mirror in terms of the creation of images. We see ourselves reflected on noise as we reflect on water. We listen not only through our ears but also through our entire body: the sounds we experience are vibrations occurring between our body and his environment. The effectiveness in a phonographic work probably comes in part from what I’d call ‘Being at the right time at the right place’ but probably comes mostly from understanding the beauty and transcendence of every single moment and the resonance we establish with it in the sensible experience.
What we hear outside is a reflection of ourselves like some sort of cast, a trace.
‘Emerging territories’ is one of the really successful phonographic works published over the past six months. This split release of Luís Antero and Jay-Dea Lopez features some really deep, detailed and vividly captured sounds that the listener will welcome.
Although the sixteen pieces are quite interesting there are certain of particular interest for me: from the textural and tactile ‘Formigas do Piodão (1000 Ants)’ by Antero -probably made using contact microphones- to the more environmental and bioacoustic oriented ‘Creek Bugs’ by Lopez, one of the remarkable fragments of the release.
Lopez’ ‘Water Tank, Half Full’ deals with dripping water and reverberation, offering a very particular spatial sense through the sound work. An usual subject that doesn’t necessarily wears down and instead puts the listener in a place he likes to be perceptually.
On his version of ‘Emerging Territories Soundscape’ we can hear Lopez working with montage, arranging the sounds through the emotional timeline; here musique concrete and phonography work together on a very rewarding fictional compositional approach.
Lopez’ ‘Cane Toads at Night’ is another of the very strong pieces of ‘Emerging territories’. Toads songs are quite fascinating in part because of their punctual, guttural and repetitive qualities, and this piece is a great example of this formal aspects fully dealt with by the artist.
Antero’s ‘2 Moinhos (2 Water Mills)’ is another remarkable piece where the materiality of the moving pieces of the mills were accurately captured, presenting to the listener some profound sensible experience in terms of the acoustic relation we establish with certain materials and the friction between them.
‘A Different Sunday Morning in Alvoco’ by Antero brings the sound of annoying human activity (raging drivers being loud) in a way that the listener can feel estranged, isolated and absent as the environmental perception of events drastically changes from the whole release.
A greatly composed and inserted piece.
The only part of ‘Emerging territories’ I feel awkward about is Antero’s ‘Emerging Territories Soundscape’ where he features some guitar performance in a fashion that reminds me of the sound track of indie documentaries. I have a hard time debating whether this might be my favourite or least favourite part of the release but I truly can say that I highly enjoy as it gives to field recordings the sense and role they have on film sound and sound design in general: they are in the back creating some wall where music reflects. One of the things I like the best about Antero’s ‘Emerging Territories Soundscape’ is that the sound of the guitar is not hidden or processed, is raw as in a garage band rehearsal. Is as real and situational as wild life field recordings themselves.
‘Emerging territories’ is the result of pertinent questions made through the quest for the formal aspects in phonography; through the look for formal aspects that we can only explain as containers of some kind of ‘coded’ information that we ‘decode’ through the joy and emotional meaning we find on art and music.