segunda-feira, 9 de maio de 2022

Ferran Fages / Pedro Chambel - Os passos seguem como um espelho


Ferran Fages & Pedro Chambel Os Passos Seguem Como Um Espelho (Fractal Sources, CDr 2022)


The third release by Pedro Chambel on his Fractal Sources imprint is the first to be a duo. He teams up with Ferran Fages, who plays the acoustic turntable. Chambel plays eletronics [sic], alto sax and voice according to the cover. I think I didn't hear the voice element in the music, but I might be wrong. The three pieces here are all very minimal and use a few sounds. How does an acoustic turntable sound? The most straightforward answer is to go to the Bandcamp page and have a listen. I didn't find it easy to detect what that was. Some of the hand spun, rotating/looped sounds that I heard on this disc must be from the turntable. Chambel amplifies his saxophone and sometimes uses the mouthpiece, and sometimes fiddles with the knobs. Again, I think this is what's happening. Everything is on the verge of feedback, yet it never goes over the top and becomes full-blown. The room is alive, so we hear all the detailed action and sounds that go on here. It is all very object-based, scratching surfaces upon surfaces, yet it also has improvised music; of a more electro-acoustic nature. I think this is fascinating music. Partly because it is so much under control, yet it has all the freedom for the players. There is much interaction, and it is minimal and yet always moving and changing within small parameters. It's improvised, and yet it never sounds like it. It remains quite mysterious, and that's part of the beauty here. (FdW)
Frans de Waard,

Pedro Chambel and Ferran Fages craft three environments for turntable, electronics, alto saxophone, and voice on the 38’ Os passos seguem como um espelhoEach theme seems to be three textures, two relatively constant, one changing, and all timbrally ambiguous. Extended techniques and electronic treatments blur sources. A pulse might come from the periodicity of a rotating surface or a beating resonance. And following the title textures appear to mimic others, a metallic chirp could also be effervescent electronics, an alternating beeping a modulating wailing, ptyalistic utterances electric sputtering or frictional turntable that itself seemed like the fetch of dewy breath along the bore. One among them drifts significantly, a resonant howl becomes stridulating static becomes dinosaur roars, an anonymous circular scraping to fan resonance, irregular rustlings to growls, groans, sucks. But though one changes more noticeably in relation to the others all are always changing. Regular soundings occurring not rhythmically but in constrained ranges of texture and time. At the thresholds of identity, texturally, through repetition, follower and followee. Keith Prosk,

Time for the promised electroacoustics! Ferran Fages on acoustic turntable and Pedro Chambel on alto sax, voice and electronics. Three improvisations here last less than 38 minutes (time and place of creation unknown).The first sounds of the recording are almost filigree. Something resonates, something flows in a stream of rough ambient, water is pouring somewhere. The dark electroacoustic jumble, however, sticks to a coherent narrative, which is often based on repetition. In the intertwining of events, we can hear the sound of a prepared saxophone, the tube of which is full of objects that distort its sound. After time, everything here resembles a post-industrial, but very lively scratch. The second improvisation takes on a meta-rhythmic structure even more. Noises, rustles, dreamlike phrases resemble here a bit of a soundtrack to surreal cartoons. Live and synthetic sounds coexist in an almost perfect symbiosis, and the whole thing seems to be characterized by a certain trance worthy of post-techno, with bass micro pulsations, but devoid of the typical beat.The third improvisation takes on a blush from the very beginning. The aforementioned electroacoustic balance is somewhat disturbed towards more synthetic phrases. The saxophone tube hisses, electronic decorations stick together, and the improvisation takes on a slightly industrial sound. With time, almost plunder-phonic accents appear in it. A noise drone on the one hand, and noisy synthetics on the other. The narrative, however, is again moderately calm and does not seem to be accidental. The ending itself seems a bit challenging for a less experienced listener, but it still defends itself artistically.

Andrzej Nowaktp://

Os passos seguem como um espelho offers very little information about the meeting of autodidact, prolific multi-instrumentalist Ferran Fages (of Tàlveg and Ràdium Trio), who plays her on acoustic turntables and Portuguese Pedro Chambel, who is also a medieval history scholar and close collaborator of French composer Bruno Duplant, He began his musical career as a guitarist but now plays on electronics, alto sax and employs his voice and released the album on his own label.
The album offers three distinct pieces. “Tema 1” is a quiet and fragile drone and relies on the mechanical crackling sounds of Fages’ turntables and the almost silent extended breathing techniques of Chambel that eventually become one ambiguous sonic entity. “Tema 2” revolves around an enigmatic and hypnotic electronic pulse like an otherworldly meditative ritual. “Tema 3” interweaves again, but in a more tangible manner, the extended breathing techniques of Chambel and the fragmented and sudden, noisy blasts of Fages into a puzzling texture. Somehow, these weird collisions of sounds make perfect sense.

Eyal Hareuveni:

If you want to buy it go to:

sábado, 27 de novembro de 2021

another view from another place


Pedro Chambel

Another View from Another Place

  1. elect + ste 000 + ste 002 – 2
  2. sine + st003 + w voic
  3. elect+ st 00 +st 001o
  4. elect + w v + 002+001-4

Pedro  Chambel - sax alto, electronics, tape.


If you want to buy it or download go to:


Pedro Chambel's solo work has been reviewed here at Vital Weekly - 1213 / 520 - This is his late Frans dest effort, number five in twenty years. No guitar this time since he has taken up the alto sax. And my guess is due to being able to use a different sound source. There are four pieces, all over ten minutes long. The basic principle here is a continuous drone in one form or another with one or more combinations of small motives, trills, growling and breathing: in one track, a sine wave at a relatively high pitch - avoid listening to this track at a high volume on headphones at all costs - and underneath that, sounds made by his voice and pressing down the keys on his alto; in another glitchy microtonal manipulation in different frequencies of his playing alto, combined with longer runs, sometimes echoed with similar runs, as if three saxes are playing at different volumes. All in all, this is an interesting release, with each track a distinctly different sound design to keep your attention, apart from that annoyingly high sinewave for the duration of almost eleven minutes. But maybe that was the point. Frans de Waard,

Quatre titres de 11 à 12 minutes : 1/ elect + ste 000 + ste 002 – 2 , 2 / elect + w v + 002+001-4, 3 / elect+ st 00 +st 001o, 4 / sine + st003 + w voic. Pedro Chambel est crédité saxophone alto, électroniques et bande magnétique et joue seul sur toutes les pistes qui ont été assemblées dans un collage réparti en deux faisceaux. Des boucles – pulsations électroniques polyrythmiques avec des grooves croisés et imbriqués et des lambeaux mélodiques au saxophone parfois doublés dans le premier morceau. La formule devient plus fragmentée et bruissante dans une tentative assez réussie de disruption de la cadence et de l’imbrication des boucles dans le morceau 2 et sax free qui figure parfois sur deux pistes concurrentes. Univers plus radical avec des faisceaux de procédés sonores différents qui trouvent une homogénéité entêtante, se contredisent ou se subvertissent. Boucles désarticulées de scories sonores sur lesquelles le souffleur multiplie les coups de langues et effets de souffle dans les pistes inachevées qu’il écarte d’un coup bref pour laisser chuinter des grésillements ou rassemble à nouveau. Une forme d’utopie expérimentale, hybride qui insuffle à ces éléments parfois hétérogènes d’autres significations… imprévues... par leur imprévisible juxtaposition. Le dernier morceau avec sine wave et vibrations bruissantes et crachotantes de la colonne d’air sont nettement plus inquiétantes … Une volonté créative non conventionnelle s’affirme dans ces collages étranges, « faussement » hésitants ou mystérieux. Souhaitons à Pedro Chambel de continuer plus avant ces investigations sonores en développant ses idées encore plus à fond.J

Featuring Pedro Chambel on electronics, alto saxophone and tape, Another View From Another Place is quite different from Os passos. The minimalist tendencies are still there, but Another View has a lot more nervous energy. The pulses are quicker and glitched. Many of the sounds, especially in the opener, elect + ste 000 + ste 002 – 2, are muddy. The saxophone is more discernible from the other elements. It sounds urgent, even. Indeed, this other view and other place capture a very different feeling, as the second track’s ringing sine-wave opening and the gurgles and growls that back it suggest. If Os Passos offers some sort of relief in the act of carving sonic pathways and reflection – is the message really in the self or, to bastardize Marshal Macluhan, is the message really the mirror which contains the reflection? – Another View offers more energy, but also more literally and figuratively static. There is simply less motion in these four pieces that fluctuate and change, sometimes drastically over the course of each track, but that are tethered by a single underlying tone, whether a sine-wave or oscillating soft locust buzz or fluttering synthesized tones. The saxophone fills out each of these tracks and they are all the richer and more nuanced because of that acoustic and human element. Still, this is somewhat more entrenched, at least until the final cut, elect + w v + 002+001-4, when Chambel uses his sax to rise above the electric chain, which nevertheless outlasts Chambel’s agitated flusters.

Nick Ostrum:

quarta-feira, 13 de julho de 2011

sculpt in hopeless silence

The time I burned my guitar, it was like a sacrifice.
You sacrifice the things you love. I love my guitar.
~ Jimi Hendrix

If you're trapped in the dream of the other, you're fucked.
~ Gilles Deleuze

The longer one dwells in the fields of the music written about here [and there, cf. the honor roll to the right of this page], the more likely it is that one will lose his grasp on just how near-invisible all this work really is. The internet meme, sparked by that increasingly fetid banner-bearer of modern music out of London, states that about 150 folks regularly attend to these fields, world-wide. Whatever the scope of the thing, I like to remind myself of this-not at all because I confuse esoteric with virtuous [obscurity, Napoleon famously said, is forever!], but because I esteem highly those who labor principally for the sake of the work.

One such laborer is the Lisbon-based guitarist, Pedro Chambel. Chambel holds a doctorate in medieval history, works in academic research, and issues his solo works at the rate of three-per-decade, a refreshing antidote to the unfettered prolixity of many of his fellow improvisers.

From the first, the 2001 release Anamnesis, a work of unspooled, unstable micro-sounds that seem to consist of a guitar's entrails and viscera, to last year's exacting listen, Utpote, Chambel has drilled and distilled his guitar into the smallest pools and eddies of sound possible.

 approaches Sachiko M's sine work in its focus and rigor. He is working with only the sparest reference to the guitar's historical characteristics, creating a substrata of noises that rise and fall around a continuous, 38 minute burred, possibly e-bowed, tone.Utpote seldom rises, the steady-state, spinal-tone aside, above nearly inaudible. Press up closer, and there's a world of febrile activity at work-pliant, tactile and aflutter, what is striking about these recondite sounds is how many of them issue from Chambel's hands themselves. You can hear his caresses, fussing and flickering over the instrument's body, the ceaseless tonal hum and what is at play around it more like some sort of light cast, than music.

Chambel, like Sachiko M, and a few other contemporaries, trusts his listeners to find in the sparest of sound worlds the evocative and vital, albeit heard quite often only if you incline carefully to sift through the sonic shavings and silt. The self-limits and rigor of his approach over the past decade, to say nothing of the modest release schedule, is intriguing to me. Chambel is dreaming his own sound; we should pause now and then, and consider the sacrifice.

Fractal Sources, for information on Chambel's three releases -Anamnesis [2001], bruit [2005], and Utpote [2010]. I recommend all three, as, considered together, Chambel's narrative is distinct, his distillation, starting from zero, the more impressive.

Let us sculpt in hopeless silence
all our dreams of speaking

~Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Jesse Goin

terça-feira, 12 de outubro de 2010

Pedro Chambel on Fractal Sources:

Utpote, 2010

Pedro Chambel - Guitar, Electronics, Objects


Tonight I have picked a CD off of the To Listen To pile and played it back to back three times over, which was a little hard to do, not because I particularly dislike the music, its not that bad at all, but because its quite a harsh, difficult listen.
The disc in question is Utpote , the third full length release by the Portugese guitarist Pedro Chambel, this one released on his own Fractal Sources label following two earlier releases on Creative Sources. When Pedro sent me this new disc he also included the earlier CS releases, which alas I have not yet been able to listen to, so please excuse the lack of any comparison to his earlier work. Utpote (a latin word apparently meaning roughly “in as much”) consists of one thirty-eight minute track for electric guitar, objects and electronics. From the outset the piece hits us with a strong continual sine tone, maybe created from placing an eBow on a string, maybe created using some other form of electronics. The tone is quite high pitched, similar to that used for so long by Sachiko M on her solo releases, but perhaps thicker and slightly warmer. Besides a slow fade at the end, the tone then remains present right the way through the album, without really wavering, and if there is any adjustment on volume or intensity it happens so gradually that you don’t notice it. So, not unlike Sachiko’s solo music, this is a tough listen.

I've no idea if the sequence in these three releases is in any way indicative of the path Chambel has taken over the decade but with only these as signposts, it would seems he's taken what he's learned in the interval and applied it to aspects of his approach from 2001. "Utpote" was recorded in June of this year, a single track of 38 minutes and an extremely focused one. The spine is a relatively high-pitched hum, more complex than appears at first blush, made up of some closely aligned waves, i think. Arrayed along its length--and the hum is maintained throughout the work's 38 minutes--are various scribblings, small eructations and tendril-like growths, often involving plucked guitar strings with minimal resonance. This imparts a kind of narrative feel to it, as though the hum is a single, almost featureless road down which one is traveling, encountering the odd, nearly nondescript event along the way. I found it quite fascinating, very unforced, very evocative.
All told, I'm quite pleased to have finally heard Chambel's music and very much would like to hear more.
[I only just read 
Richard's review of "Utpote" and I'm struck by the similarity of our appreciation... :-)
Brian Olewnick

On sait que l’avenir de la musique se fera beaucoup via les micro-labels (parfois sans avenir, eux). Qui se plaindra donc de la création de Fractal Sources par le guitariste Pedro Chambel (deux références au catalogue Creative Sources) ?

Passé de Creative à Fractal, je ne sais si Chambel a gagné en liberté mais il n’a en tout cas rien perdu de son talent d’improvisateur peu orthodoxe. Dans cet Utpote, Il continue de s’empêtrer dans ses cordes électriques tel au sauvage ravi par l'instinct. On ne sait plus si derrière c’est un drone ou si c’est simplement le buzz de l’ampli mais ce n’est pas ça qui compte : ce qui compte est la délicatesse avec laquelle Chambel fait chanter sa guitare et plonge l’auditeur dans un brouillard trouble mais reposant
Guillaume Belhomme

terça-feira, 7 de setembro de 2010

Pedro Chambel on Creative Sources:

Anamnesis, 2002

Pedro Chambel - Guitar


 Lost in the decade long deluge of releases, a good one.- Jesse Goin

  L’enregistrement de Chambel contient beaucoup de bruit et de fureur dans les limites d’un minimalisme beaucoup plus rigoureux. Musique objective, elle se découvre jusqu’à l’os, comme un malade à qui la fièvre fait perdre tout ce qui le constitue en des temps habituels. L’auditeur ressent pourtant à l’écoute un poids idéologique et conceptuel considérable. Chambel semble travailler à partir d’un scénario, appliquer un programme: dans cette musique le passé écrase le présent, le réduit, à proprement parler, au silence. On peut difficilement s’empêcher de penser au passé, legs écrasant d'une grande puissance à un petit pays. 
Noël Tachet (Improjazz)

Anamnesis is Pedro Chambel’s first solo album. A Portuguese guitarist unknown outside his home country, Pedro Chambel comes forth with an artistic proposition that parallels those of Keith Rowe, Martin Siewert and the likes. His music relies on silence, the electrical drone of a "naked" amplifier and the use of unusual guitar playing techniques to squeeze delicate noise textures out of the instrument. Severely reductionist in its means, this music requires from the listener a leap of faith: ignore your first impressions of sonic poverty and stillness and just listen as Pedro Chambel unfolds the mysteries he has encountered. The guitar as instrument doesn't hold any importance anymore—these crackles, drones, and indescribable noises could have a number of origins. That is particularly true of "Anamnesis IV" where what sounds like basic white noise is sampled and processed in real time. On the other hand "Anamnesis I" starts with a few distinguishable guitar notes, all very quiet and moving into even quieter realms. Whether the music works for you or not depends mostly on your state of mind. Granted, Pedro Chambel doesn’t make it easy for the listener and truth be told his music lacks a bit of soul (even when compared to Keith Rowe or Burkhard Stangl, or even Taku Sugimoto). Nevertheless, «Anamnesis» makes for an intriguing listen electro-acoustic improv enthusiasts will want to check out
François Couture (AMG)

A set of four very beautiful, very spare pieces for guitar done in 2001 wherein a fine balance is achieved between recognizable guitar sounds and mists of hum and grit. Though differently sourced, I hear a good bit akin to what Toshi Nakamura and Sachiko M were doing around the same time. There's a bit of resonance in the room, making for a fine sense of concentrated isolation; one has the sense of a sharply lit area in a pool of darkness, dust motes aswirl in the air. Chambel is both patient and active, keeping the volume low, allowing for spatial ellipses. The last cut is an especially lovely series of cloud-like bursts, all haze and soot, a softly sputtering engine filling a field with ash. A very well conceived recording, a hidden gem in the Creative Sources catalog (# 4 in their lengthy series) that shouldn't have been overlooked.~
Brian Olewnick

Bruit, 2005

Pedro Chambel - Guitar, Microphones


Portuguese guitarist Chambel starts with microsounds camouflaged as barely visible biotic structures but sure enough, from the second track on, hisses and hums are amplified, dissected and exploited, becoming a mirror reflecting everything that a guitar and a microphone would never want to say. Crude and naked, the electric meditations that Chambel initiates get disturbed by fiddling and scrabbling on strings and other surfaces, like if tiny animals - prisoners in a six-stringed cage - tried their best to catch the attention of the casual listener. But the most satisfying texture of the disc is indeed the progressive hypnotic pulse of the feedback drones: long moments of pre-explosion drift strain the nerves without deviating from the main course, making "Bruit" maybe the first "minimalist" release by Creative Sources, at least until the author bombards our brain with echoed distortion in the sixth movement. 
Massimo Ricci (Touching Extremes)

"Noise" is an adequate title for this solo guitar record by Portuguese musician Pedro Chambel, who has already appeared in the Creative Sources catalogue a few years ago. Not that it is extra loud (quite the opposite, actually),but it's surely based on un-musical (micro)sounds - the static feedback coming from guitar and amp, the scratching of fingers on the chords... using the guitar surface and components to produce anything but notes. Chambel is surely not breaking any new ground in the radical improvisation field, but the album has a sort of suspended feel that I quite liked - and the more physical pieces, like the feedback driven second track and the delay loops (only my guess) in the sixth one added some nice bursts of electricity. 
Eugenio Maggi (Chain DLK)

As the title might portend, "Bruit", from 2005, is a more rough-hewn affair. The hums are louder, more forceful, the accompanying detritus strewn with more vigor. Again, there's an eerie parallel to certain contemporaneous things involving Nakamura, like the sun-spot track from "between"--not a direct comparison but something that came to mind while listening. Things are generally pitched mid-range and below with occasional guitar-ish sounds surfacing and, as on the sixth track, some low, ringing tones that verge on the spacey. But Chambel also evinces some really fine focus, peeling off layer after layer of a given sound-area, savoring what he discovers for a few moments, then digging further. I enjoyed the earlier one more, but "Bruit" is certainly worth a listen