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edu comelles

For Pauline (With Isabel Latorre). Crónica Electrónica. 2018.


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Crónica 144~2018, Tape 
Release date: 20 November 2018
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Liner Notes:

Valencian accordionist and composer Isabel Latorre and sound artist Edu Comelles met in 2016 working on a third-party project. During that process Comelles recorded some samples of Isabel’s instrument.

A few months later, before Pauline Oliveros passed away, Comelles commissioned Latorre a concert meant to be a free musical interpretation of Oliveros’s Deep Listening theories and philosophy. The commission was meant to be premièred at the Ensems Festival 2017 curated by Comelles.

In November 2016, news broke of the demise of Oliveros. What at first was a compositional commission became something else, a very special tribute.
Latorre kept working and immersing herself, physically and emotionally, into the ideas and philosophy of Oliveros, delivering a heartfelt concert, whose testimony is side A of this tape.

By the same time, Comelles worked on a new composition arising from the 2016 recordings of Latorre. Inspired and encouraged by her concert, he finished La Isla Plana by the end of 2017.

Both pieces are the outcome of two parallel and uncoordinated creative processes that became something else altogether: a tribute, an inspiration, and a farewell homage to one of the most influential musicians of the last century.

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Credits:

Isabel Latorre Plays Pauline Oliveros: Composed, performed and premièred by Isabel Latorre at the Dormitory Room of El Carmen Monastery (now CCC) during Ensems Festival 2017 in Valencia. Recorded by Edu Comelles.

La Isla Plana: Composed and arranged by Edu Comelles using a Shruti Box and accordion samples performed by Isabel Latorre. Valencia 2017.

Mastered by MC.
Cover photo by Paula Felipe.

+info: https://www.cronicaelectronica.org/releases/144

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Reviews:

A few months before Pauline Oliveros passed away (November 2016), Edu Comelles commisioned a concert by accordionist Isabelle Latorre meant to be a free musical interpretation of Oliveros’ ‘Deep Listening‘ theories. The concert, premiered at the Ensems Festival early 2017, thus became a very special tribute to the life, work and philosophy of Pauline Oliveros.

Latorre’s performance takes up side A of this cassette release on Crónica.  It’s a single 22 minute piece that starts with quiet prolonged notes but slowly builds up to an emotional climax and then slowly releases its grip again. Not often you will hear the accordion played this way – unless you are already familiar with Oliveros’ work, of course.

For La Isla Plana, the second piece on this cassette, Edu Comelles sampled Isabel’s instrument and arranged the samples into a completely different composition. He connects the recorded samples using a Shruti Box to create a background drone La Isla Plana sounds organic (because of its sound sources) and detached at the same time.

A very honest, heartfelt tribute to a legendary artist, who taught us the art of ‘deep listening’.

Peter Van Cooten / Ambient Blog

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Valencia’s accordionist and composer Isabel Latorre and sound artist Edu Comelles met in 2016. A couple of months down the line, and Comelles had commissioned a concert for Latorre: an interpretation on the Deep Listening philosophies and principles of Pauline Oliveros. The commission was scheduled to be premiered at the Ensems Festival in 2017, of which Comelles was the curator. But later on in the year, on 24 November 2016, Oliveros sadly passed away; the composition and commission became a eulogy. A central figure in the development and exploration of experimental music, Oliveros was one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century. For Pauline has much of the same ethos and spirit.

Isabel Latorre has studied Pauline’s music to such an extent that she performs in a similar vein, with a great deal of maturity and concentration but never forgetting the stunning magic of its creation. Latorre, already deep within her philosophies and submerged in the moods of the music – both physically and emotionally – kept on going, and her live performance is a heartfelt dedication. From the moment of its inception, and as a reaction to her passing, the music veered away from its original intention, and this has resulted in a very different work. The live performance, recorded at the end of May 2017, is at almost twenty-two minutes a long-form piece where, after a quiet opening, elongated tones gradually begin to stir, stretching their limbs in a high, bright, and sharp register before overlapping, evolving over the course of the first five minutes to produce a range of quiet gymnastics.

It’s gloriously playful, as all experimental music should be, but it’s edged with a serious intention. After simmering for some time, the music’s distant, occasional percussion and laser-like tones begin to bubble and froth, rising up, pulsing, building strong dynamics and engaging the listener with the strobing electronics. The electronics wash in and out of sight, demanding one’s attention while swaying like a pendulum. Benevolent or threatening, the intent is never made clear. One thing’s for sure: they come close enough to touch, invading the listener’s personal space before backing up, rocking from side to side with a tight, robotic functioning. An accordion blares inarticulate chords. Its screeching sounds are on the verge of leaving rationale behind. That’s the crest of the piece. Everything else becomes quieter after that, retreating back into silence and winking out of existence.

The second piece, ‘La Isla Plana’, was completed a little later, at the end of 2017. Comelles took inspiration from Latorre’s earlier recordings, and the two are somewhat symmetrical. The drone is similar, but the two pieces exist in alternate dimensions. Latorre’s drone is lighter, while ‘La Isla Plana’ is stronger, dripping a dark-red or a metallic crimson, throbbing instead of pulsing. Drones cut a little deeper, and when it comes to volume tampering there’s a little more in the way of variety. The two pieces could be sisters, and they’re both equally playful.

The drones occupying the second side seem to be more aware of their surroundings, their eyes blinking as they look around at the world. As it progresses, the drone moves into the range of a slow melody. And as the track ends, the sound of something like surf enters, foaming white and pushing its thunderous roar into the heart of the drone. This twenty-minute island cleanses the listener, but For Pauline has a much larger message: one of thanks, deep appreciation, and the utmost respect, wearing its influence proudly on its sleeve.

James Catchpole / Fluid Radio.

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When I started to play this tape, I first assumed it was blank; it took quite some time before there was any music to hear, even when the volume was turned up quite a bit. This is a split cassette but there is also something that makes that both sides belong together. 

Latorre and Comelles worked together on a project in 2016 and Comelles did some recordings of Latorre's accordion. Comelles asked Latorre to play a piece by Pauline Oliveros for a festival he was curating and during the preparation Oliveros passed away (November 2016) and so the concert became a tribute. 

That recording is on the first side here, as said, starting out very quiet. But slowly the sound becomes audible and we arrive at something that indeed sounds very Pauline Oliveros. The music is meandering about, the accordion expanded by electronics, creating richly textured music but also with a firm foothold in the world of improvised music, sometimes hectic bouncing all over the places and in the end section Latorre also adds her voice. 

On the other side we find Edu Comelles with a piece that is a combination of shruti box and samples from Latorre's accordion. This piece is a more controlled environment in which computer generated sampled play drones along with those with a more manual touch. These drones have a slightly eastern feel to it, I think, and despite the fact that some of these sound perhaps digital, there is overall a warm feel to this piece. A mournful tone in what is surely an excellent threnody. Spacious, endless, sustaining and yet also seemingly always with minor changes. 

Frans de Waard / Vitaly Weekly.

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Hello, I’m excited to present to you my first advance review on this blog of an upcoming release, in this case on CRÓNICA. This is the new Limited Edition Cassette and Digital Album release by ISABEL LATORRE & EDU COMELLES titled FOR PAULINE, it will be released on both formats on November 20, but I can give you all an advance review of what you can expect from this excellent new 47 minute tape. The version I’m reviewing here is the promo version of the Digital Album, which is in 16-bit/44.1kHz CD quality and comes with the cover art in good resolution as well as a promo PDF file detailing the release.

FOR PAULINE is a tape which became a tribute to legendary American composer, accordionist and experimental music artist Pauline Oliveros who passed away in 2016. As written in the PDF file, the first piece Isabel Latorre Plays Pauline Oliveros (Live recording 27.05.2017) is a live recording by EDU COMELLES of ISABEL LATORRE’S performance at Ensems Festival 2017 in which she interpreted Oliveros’ Deep Listening theories and philosphy. The piece was commissioned by COMELLES in 2016, but when Oliveros’ passed away in November of that year, the music suddenly became a tribute to her. And, indeed the piece is a really well fitting tribute, full of intense resonating tones and harmonics, tonal tension and occasional dissonance. LATORRE’S accordion at points sounds almost electronic, at other times purely acoustic and organic. In waves the piece floats, progresses, rises and falls full of rich textures, sometimes whirring like electrity, the accordion fluttering around a sharp drone. The music builds to a tense cloud of dissonance until it falls into silence and in the second half builds from the sounds of air flowing throw the accordion to a stretched drone accompanied by LATORRE’s voice. There’s some lovely phasing going on in the resonances and harmonics within the accordion’s wave of drone, giving it a texture that’s both sharp and flowing, the drone moves forward with more diffuse noisy accordion mechanics sounds waving through the drone like wind rattling leaves of trees. The drone then fades out into quiet soft high harmonics, into a quiet sonic feeling of piece. A very good performance, which definitely also recalled a lot of Oliveros’ works with resonances and harmonics fluctating and mixing as can be heard in the electronic pieces on Important Records’ box set Reverberations. 

La Isla Plana is the piece by EDU COMELLES, created using samples of LATORRE’s accordion, as well as a Shruti box. Just like the first track, it’s an intensely droning piece, though this one is a bit more continous in its progression and there’s more gradual flow to it. The drone features acoustic tones but also tones that are slightly glitched up in the mixture. It’s a pretty jumpy way of glitching but it works. The first half blends in all these sounds in various harmonic combinations, waves flowing like the see. Acoustic and electronic manipulation blended into a subtle sharp glow of rich sonics. The second half fades into one melodic pattern that gets repeated as a focus and keeps building the sonics on this, with waves of hissing noisy sound and sharper phasing drone fading into the foreground, the sound image also gets deeper and wider in this second half, very impressive, captivating and entrancing drone that tightly grips you in a gorgeous cloud of sound. The piece also ends in a soft ambience of phasing harmonics, almost fading into just one note of the drone mixture, all out into the distance. Awesome piece.

FOR PAULINE perfectly encapsulates Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening concepts and experimentation with natural and modified resonances into an enjoyable and deep listening experience of excellent electro-acoustic music. It’s a tape release of music that Olveros herself would have definitely loved herself too, I feel and is a great work that continues the legacy of research, experimentation and music with which Oliveros inspired many musicians. An excellent recommended tape.