Saturday, October 02, 2010

Three recordings from Portuguese guitarist/electronicist Pedro Chambel, spanning the decade, that he was kind enough to pass along.

Pedro Chambel - Anamnesis (Creative Sources)

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.

Pedro Chambel - Bruit (Creative Sources)

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.

Pedro Chambel - Utpote (Fractal Sources)

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... :-)]

Creative Sources

Fractal Sources

1 comment:

Richard Pinnell said...

So strange how this disc sat on my desk for about three weeks unplayed, and then on the day I listen to, and write about it, you do the same. I wonder how much of this is coincidence and how much to do with the microphone you have hidden in my house?