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.

Utpote
 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


Reviews:


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 Olewnickhttp://olewnick.blogspot.com/


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  http://grisli.canalblog.com/


terça-feira, 7 de setembro de 2010

Pedro Chambel on Creative Sources:


Anamnesis, 2002




Pedro Chambel - Guitar


Reviews:



 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 Olewnickhttp://olewnick.blogspot.com/

Bruit, 2005




Pedro Chambel - Guitar, Microphones

Reviews:

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