This little round up highlights two releases that came out recently as single track works. Both are quite different.
“Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais have collaborated as @c since 2000. In 2003 they founded the Crónica label, and have since been publishing experimental electronic music and sound art. They have released more than 20 albums on labels such as Crónica, Baskaru, Monochrome Vision, Galaverna and Feld and they have performed live extensively favoring acousmatic and immersive presentations. They often collaborate with other musicians and artists and have developed a number of site specific sound installations.”
“Re:Coimbra” was composed in 2018 by Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais, from original recordings by Luís Antero (a prolific Portuguese sound artist that is concerned with preserving the heritage of Portugal) produced for the Sound Archive of the Historic Centre of Coimbra.
Technically not a single with its fifty-one minute length, the piece is a rather chaotically dense slice of electroacoustic sound art that fuses all manner of bustling circular electronics, field recordings, granular synthesis and pulses of sound all combine to create a hypnotic piece. According to the duo the piece is “An exercise of discovering Coimbra’s sounds through peeling strata deposited for fifteen centuries in the area between the river banks of Mondego, the narrow streets of Baixa, and the stairs towards Almedina and the University. An integration of memory, references, history and lore, in an exploration of a space-time that is not our own.“
For people who are not familiar with the environment that inspires it, it can take the listener on a journey where elements are captured then manipulated onto a sonic fabric that contains some disparate sounds. A personal favourite section being the Church organ (which is quite fitting seeing it the piece was premiered at Church of the Convent of São Francisco, Coimbra) that is layered creating a swell of sound before transforming into a woozy drunken soundscape.
The piece plays with sound and texture moving through pieces that are clearly formed into a fabric, while other parts are naked and raw. There are times where it feels like a tightly composed piece (like the first ten minutes) and then there are sections that make it come as a travelogue piece and make you wonder how much of it is Antero’s original field recordings or @c’s painting with sound.
For lovers of electroacoustic/sound art/ambient there is plenty to digest and absorb over the fifty one minutes. Personally for me, the second two thirds of the piece where it is less chaotic work better, but that is purely because it is more suited to my taste.
“The new single from Newcastle based award-winning contemporary classical composer Steve Luck was inspired by the first movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in C# minor “Quasi una fantasia” – better known as the Moonlight Sonata”. “Crescent Moon”, released on June 28th, 2019, is an enchanting, nocturne for solo piano. This original contemporary classical piece was inspired by the mood of the Beethoven original, but is distinctly different, with an evocative opening followed by a gently reflective and uplifting middle section. Composer Steve Luck says of his piece ‘I have always thought that there was something special about the Beethoven piece. It was one of the most popular piano pieces of all time. I have always been fascinated by it. It is one of those pieces in which, the relative simplicity of the notes belies it’s emotional depth. That principle, how to get the most emotion from as few notes as possible, underpins a lot of the current contemporary classical scene ans intrigued composers for hundreds of years.”
I have to confess my ignorance to the original classic composers which includes the inspiration behind Luck’s ‘Crescent Moon”. Being that I cannot faithfully make comparisons between the inspiration source and this track means that I have to devote my attention solely to the track in question. The original piece “Quasi una fantasia” has been described as a funeral March and is one the most popular of Beethoven’s works. For “Crescent Moon” Luck demonstrates his confidence behind the piano with a piece that is fluid, we’ll paced and expertly recorded. The track has such a dynamic sound that makes you feel as if only you and Luck are in the room (minus the naturalist of recording that has become some part of the modern classical style of recent times).
The track, likes it’s inspiration moves through three movements, the first being rather contemplative with a certain amount of melancholy embedded within it without being to over dramatic. This leads into a section where Luck’s fingers dance over the keys with a fluidity and joy that short through in the tones generated. The third an final movement is preceded by a section that removes any hope and and is quite mournful. Similar in nature to the tracks opening there is a change in feel with the playing at times feeling weighty and at others sparse. There is a definite cold feeling to the finale of the track.
This is the first time and hopefully not the last that I have heard from Steve Luck. Well worth checking out.