Software programs and sonic mixing have become an increasingly important part of improvised music during the past few years. That’s why Una Casa/Observatorio and Red Canopy, two noteworthy and idiosyncratically packaged CDs, provide unique perspectives on these concepts. Both arrive from areas off-the-beaten-impov track.
A regular CD housed in an elongated sleeve the size of a pocketbook, Una Casa/Observatorio features Buenos Aires trumpeter Leonel Kaplan and Santiago-based alto saxophonist Edén Carrasco. They`re joined on both tracks by Austrian-born, Argentina resident Christof Kurzmann, who users lloopp software throughout these extensive live presentations recorded in both Chile and Argentina.
Veteran improviser Kurzmann has worked with everyone from saxophonist John Butcher to turntablist Dieb13. Argentinean Kaplan has been a fixture on the South American improv scene for more than a decade and has also worked with players from overseas including American trumpeter Nate Wooley and French saxophonist Michel Doneda. Young Chilean Carrasco plays in a multiple of local band, as well as with the likes of German electronics expert Günter Müller and Austrian guitarist Burkhard Stangl.
Neither of the acoustic players on Una Casa/Observatorio treats his instrument any less as a sound source than Kurzmann does his max/msp-programmed software. From the top their joint abrasive growls, tongue stopping and detached whistles are as abstract as the lloopp’s layered granulation. As a matter of fact, the juddering textures, quivering loops and chunky drones from the computer are more distinctively identifiable. The nucleus of “Una Casa” begins to appear as wave forms are layered with flat-line blowing and lip bubbling from Kaplan plus key percussion and reed barks from Carrasco. With the interface staccato for the most part, the only pure acoustic moments occur when the saxophonist’s thin reed trills are complemented by a muted trumpet obbligato. By the finale it’s Kurzmann’s processed flanges and drones which distinctively blend the sound elements.
Similar, but more viscerally bestial, the track recorded in Santiago begins with a cat-like yowl and ends with the sound of a neighboring dog barking alongside the improvisations. Again the climatic variations involve timbral confusion as what appear to be electricity driven ratchets and yawns from Kurzmann latterly reveal themselves as breathed echoes from the horns without valve or key pressure. Abrasive sandpaper-like chaffing could be the result of the lloopp’s granular synthesis or by one or both of the horn men striking an unyielding object. At length as the computer thumps, pitch-slides and drones conflate, staccato counterpoint is set up between altissimo reed yelps and triplet squeezes from the trumpet’s highest pitches, with the sound eventually disappearing along with the pooch bark.
Jazz Word, Ken Waxman
released January 1, 2011
A. recorded on oct. 24th 2010, una. casa, buenos aires argentina.
B. recorded on nov. 24th 2010, observatorio lastarria. santiago de chile.