Sonido descompuesto. DAVID VELEZ
(Unfathomless 2012)

“Sonido Descompuesto” (Decomposed sound) is a sound collage made of fragments recorded in the surroundings of the farm “Las Margaritas” located between the towns of Briceño and Zipaquira.

When talking about sound collages it is somewhat immediate to think about Music Concrète and its distinctive traits: shapeless structures, rapid changes of focus, evident contrasts between the different passages, juxtapositions of heterogeneous audio materials and so forth, but sound collages can also be very different, they can be descriptive, coherent, they can share with Music Concrète some technical aspects but from an aesthetic point of view they can be quite different.

David Velez is a field recordist with a keen interest for sounds regarded as elements that characterize the environment and which absorb and retain the “information” of the locations. In his remarkable discography he has explored different kinds of approaches, ranging from pure phonographic recordings to works in which field recordings are just one of the numerous ingredients of the whole soundscape.

One of the things that fascinates me the most in David’s works is his ability of giving always his distinctive interpretation of the sounds he decides to record.

I take this opportunity to discuss briefly about what makes the listening of field recordings interesting. We could think that the beauty of natural sounds is just their essence, their organic characteristics and therefore, following this particular perspective, the listening of field recordings (being a “mere” reproduction of natural sonic phenomena) should be appreciated just for the high quality characteristics of the recordings (i.e. no distortions, no digital artifacts).

Obviously such kind of interest will rapidly shift the focus toward technical aspects: the technical specification of the audio gears and the characteristics of the microphones will be undoubtedly the most covered topics in the “evaluation” process of the quality of the soundwork.

But technical specifications cannot be the one and only aspect to consider. When the recordings start to be edited, the audio gear used to collect the sounds suddenly lose importance and the talent and the ability of the “artist / sound catcher” will powerfully come out.

And this is the case of “Sonido Descompuesto”. The sounds have been cut, mixed, blended, arranged and juxtaposed forming a sonic scenario that summarizes the original listening experience in the form of a complex audio collage. There are no special digital effects here. Just a clever use of the “cut and paste technique” that recreates a kind of natural soundtrack with long shots, medium shots and a whole slew of close ups that describe the sounds in all of their particularities.

David Velez is the director of this compelling “aural movie” and this release is probably the highest peak of his field recordings career up to now.

-Elliot Loe

David Velez website
Unfathomless website