- Various: Foro De Comunicaciones Electroacústicas Vol. III
The disc under review here is the third volume of a series of collections of electroacoustic compositions from the "Foro de Comunicaciones Electroacústicas," a Spanish forum of electroacoustic communication. The recording is an impressive collection of seasoned composers from around the world, presenting a series of compositions that are diverse, yet achieving a sense of unity with a common theme of quality that pushes the envelope of the electroacoustic medium.
The compilation opens with Estudio II (1965) by the Vice President of the Catalan Composer's Association, Andrés Lewin Richter. The work explores "the phenomenon of micro-structures to which various filtering and variations of velocity are applied to create superimposed layers of cells whose intensity is modified to affect the auditory result," creating gestures that vary from intense to subtle. The sound material is diverse, but it holds the attention of the listener, bringing us from one sound event to the next with artistic deliberation, thus starting the compilation on a strong note.
Arturo Moya continues with the high expectations that Mr. Richter sets with La Musica Que Habia En Mis Objetos (1996). The piece lures us with the sounds of bells into a world of objects that are rich and pleasing to the ear. The action of the bells unifies the piece, and guides the listener through a terrain of natural sounds that evoke a sense of serenity.
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Artur Palaudarias's composition, Moverse en el tiempo (1989), allows for an examination of repetition and variation of sound events that focuses the listener's attention on the finer characteristics of sounds through their repetition. The evolution of repeating sounds are a focus that develop into an interaction that takes on a meditative quality as droning notes are slowly introduced.
Des Dos Para Uno (1997) by Alain Perón intelligently blends the sounds of electronics with guitar in conversational gestures between the two elements, resulting in an interaction of the pitched and timbral worlds. The pitched material is dissonant and contrasts with the simplicity of the timbre of the electronic sounds.
Pass'e Mezzo (1993) by José Manuel Berenguer stands out from the rest of the pieces as a mostly pitch-based, tone-cluster work for synthesized strings and what sounds like manipulated bassoon and the chirping of birds. It risks being labeled as a composition that reduces some sounds, such as the birdsong that appears toward the end of the work, to sound-effect status. As a whole, however, the piece holds its [End Page 98] own, but stands in stark contrast to the electroacoustic theme of the compilation.
Next is the algorithmic composition, Actions (1998) by Sergio Poblete, using Csound controlled by Common Music and the Spectral Model Synthesis system developed by Xavier Serra. The composition sets up a fabric of ominous sound that borders on surreal soundscape composition as it conjures images of desolate and impersonal spaces.
Secretos Bien Guardados (1997), by José Iges, opens to sounds of a child's music box, eventually incorporating a whispering voice that ties the piece together in linking the sound elements to an unfolding story. The sounds are identifiable for the most part and tell a story that surprises the listener with an almost too-jarring sound of a mallet hitting glass. The mallet-like sound dominates the piece to an unavoidable degree and disrupts its flow, but thankfully it becomes mellower as the work progresses.
One of the highlights of the compilation, Read My Lisp (1991) by Eduard Resina, treats us to attacks and decays that undulate and slither from side to side of the stereo image. The appearance of sharp rhythmic attacks throughout the piece contradicts the easing tendencies of the other sounds that make up the composition.
Jorge Sad brings us to a place of mystery with the focus on breathy noises, vocals, and a significant stretch of a flute-like instrument...