ALFREDO COSTA MONTEIRO – Aura

Etude

As the title implies, this is music of ample halos and untainted reverberation. Ghosts if you will, or mere psychological suggestions, generated by the superimposition of echoing phenomena within a silent background, the ideal situation in which the record should be approached (the composer recommends a “nocturnal” time for that; an opaque Sunday afternoon worked fine, though). The sources: over 200 takes of percussion instruments – all played by Pilar Subirà – from which Costa Monteiro cut the attack off, leaving the resonant properties and the decays for our ears to catch and observe during the fadeout. The compositional endeavor resides in the development of a strategy to make the most, sonically speaking, of a few of the innumerable combinations and superimpositions of the raw materials (that’s why the piece is scored for “percussion and recordings”).

The spectral character of Aura constitutes its very quintessence: there’s no processing whatsoever, electronics also missing. Just different kinds of radiance, interspersed with weighty stillness. Some of them were born in the acute regions, perhaps with a measure of bowing in certain circumstances; others clearly derive from bigger specimens – gongs, tympani – thus appearing of more robust constitution but endowed with the same potential, that of eliciting acoustic pictures of luminous events symbolizing a severance from reality. Only at the 43rd of the 51 minutes the entrancement is broken by the appearance of a series of relatively violent crashes. The lone loud divergence in an otherwise spellbinding and, dare I say, isolationist album, showing yet another creative side of this versatile craftsman.

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