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Tuning the Color of Sound

by

Daniel VARELA

After many conversations and many hours listening to music we decided that it was time to do something different. The change of ideas, impressions and emotions we experienced as we listened to music increased in intensity until giving way to our own experience which began in 2000. This process had different stories and motivations for each one of us, but we all agreed that the exploration had to be undertaken in a manner that is constant, "not spectacular" and that is prepared to accept the errors stemming from our lack of technical professionalism as musicians.

We believed we had other things in our favor such as having listened to many kinds of music we liked which we had even "studied" privately for a long period with the abilities, knowledge or ignorance we all have within us.

In this apprenticeship we also agreed about one thing: to respect many musical forms and traditions which in most cases involved situations of introspection and reflection. Since ancient times music has accompanied (or was generated by) a large variety of vital events. Whether during festivities, forms of worship, concerts or as an expression of intellectual exercise, music is (almost) always present. Some even consider the rhythms of corporal activity as irrefutable proof of our permanent contact with sound.

We also shared another impression. Many times, when listening to different pieces- above all with academic avant-garde music - we both felt that there were sonorous colors and gestures that occurred too rapidly. In the urge to respect the formal logic of the compositions or the more established musical languages, moments of great richness were lost (especially in terms of timbre) which vanished in the blink of an eye before they could blossom.

Within the ephemeral character of the music or within that "volatility" there were expressions that did not share the urge or the "fear of nothingness" where everything is submitted to the order of narrative. There exists a broad array of musics ranging from very old ones to contemporary ones that share a trait that is very different from that immediacy we have mentioned. The first forms of polyphony in the Middle Ages, the harmonic flow of the Renaissance madrigals, the music of Erik Satie, John Cage and his thoughts on silence, the English composers who emerged from experimental circles in the seventies and, of course, the minimalists.

In the sound experience which the minimalists started in the early 70's the proposal of "pausing" evolved into a multitude of colors capable of renovating themselves depending on the origin and geographical location of the musicians. East and West were in a musical beginning where the perception of time would be radically transformed. The adaptation of ancient forms of musical knowledge and the filter of avantgarde will lead us to reshape our relationship with ancestral ways of relating to music. The suspension of time, the capacity to experience a immersion into sound and pause in its color outside the velocity imposed by the adherence to narrative where everything must have an order of questions and answers and developments.

To speak of "non-directional" music would be debatable. By virtue of choosing successions of colors (timbres), orchestration or events depending on time, static music also has direction.

An example would be the gamelan Indonesian music which is based on patterns of repetitive interchanges, the "laments" and slow airs of the Scottish bagpipes whose melodic ornaments make use of rules, the apparent slowness of the Japanese gagaku which responds to a series of movements, and the trutrukas of the South American Andes that "don't always play the same".

Aware of a necessity in which ideas and emotions are not absent, we started following our way. Our first record has a series of pieces realized during the year 2000. This CD was reedited again in a small number, 149 numbered copies, produced by the label minuscula in Berlin.

In 2002, we focused in the exploration of metal sounds by using gongs from a Javanese gamelan. Hoping to learn with each step we make, we will try that our music could express some of the ideas stated in these lines.

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