Date of release: 28.10.13
Lenght: 41:39 min
Artwork & Image: Edu Comelles.
Format: 80 Copies of a Limited edition. BLACK-CD. Black Carton Sleeve + Free Download Gift (Mp3 320 Kbps)
Extra 20 Copies of a Limited edition. BLACK-CD. Black Carton Sleeve + Free Download Gift (Mp3 320 Kbps)
This work has been assembled and composed following a strict set of rules. No conventional instruments have been used during the production of this album. All sound sources come from various field recordings captured on the described locations.
No DSP effects has been applied apart from slight down-pitching as pointed out forward on this text. All sound sources are related somehow with issues such as dereliction, abandonment or miss use. All sounds recorded in Spain, a country falling apart.
Recorded and mixed by Edu Comelles. Recordings done between 2011 ad 2013 using a Zoom H4n, Contact Mics and a pair of Rode NT5 condenser mics. Some recordings on Dry Land, Stir & Season and Boiro have been down-pitched with Ableton Live and PaulStretch. Mixed and mastered using Ableton Live 8, Logic Pro 8 and Audacity.
Sounds in Chairs for an abandoned classroom performed by Crearqció. No foxes or flies were harmed during the production of Dry Land. The fox was already dead and the flies were feasting on the fox. Recordings on Boiro captured jointly with Juanjo Palacios during production of "Senda Sonora". Additional sound performance by Eva Fauste on Stir & Season.
Many thanks to: Sara Galán, Crearqció Valencia (Júlia, Maria, Jaume, Manuel, Marta, Ana, Sara and many more...), Juanjo Palacios and Graham Bell.
The country in question being Spain, where all the sounds here were recorded under a set of rules which required that no conventional instruments be used. So essentially these are field recordings though I believe some of the sounds have intentional human agency. The elements on each track are described clearly, from chairs being pushed around in a university to the activities of flies around a dead fox to abandoned trucks to railroad friction and much more; all "are related somehow with issues such as dereliction, abandonment or misuse". You almost get the sense the works are composed--the chair piece, for instance, doesn't sound all that far from a contemporary work for string orchestra; there's a sense of orchestral structure at play. The flies serve as a kind of pizzicato over moans from a watermill that carry an amazing feedback quality, again with a real sense of composition. This is the case throughout, making the designation "field recording" feel entirely off the mark. And these are strong, muscular structures as well, quite plastic and forceful. Crucially, Comelles always retains a fine sense of air and space, even if that air is ozone- and mildew-tinged. It allows the pieces to rotate smoothly, to consistently offer different aural vantage points. Really impressive and moving; my qualms about field recordings fall by the wayside when they're as strongly reconfigured as is the case here.
An enclosed code also gives you access to a few excellent downloadable files from the label site.
If you have the slightest interest in this area, don't let "A Country Falling Apart" pass you by.
Brian Olewnick, Just Outside
How often do you see on a cover that involves a piece of music that has 'flies over a dead fox' for sound source (actually: how often do you get that on a release) that says: 'no foxes or flies were harmed during the production of Dry Land. The fox was already dead and the flies were feasting on the fox'. The liner notes are specific when it comes to recording gear use, which pieces use sounds that have been down pitched with Ableton Live and PaulStretch, but none of the others and that 'all sound sources are related somehow with issues such as dereliction, abandonment or miss use'. This is quite an interesting release as it deals with both locations and location recordings. These recordings have been made using whatever debris was found on the site, and seems to be mainly consisting of sheets of metal. In that respect the music of Edu Comelles, which seems to me someone I never heard of, reminds me of ABGS who recorded inside a bunker ages ago, Lethe's work inside large empty spaces (although Comelles doesn't always use large empty spaces with natural reverb) or Organum but then working outdoors. Lots of bowing metal plates onto metal plates, creating a bunch of rich overtones, with occasionally the strangest field recordings, such as indeed flies on a dead animal, or, more common, a firestove. Lots of banging with metal doors, trucks, containers, even trams and chains, but the result - and I am not sure in what way this was all edited from larger chunks of recordings - is at times a finely cut collage or, in the case of the trams in 'U-Turn' a fine piece of multi-layered tram recordings. Quite a fine release and certainly a new to look out for in the future.
Frans De Ward, Vitaly Weekly.
Edu Comelles is one half of the duo Cello + Laptop and founder of Audiotalaia, a platform for the diffusion, promotion and production of experimental music, sound art, ambient music and field recordings. He has also released a number of albums of field recording-based sound works, both under his own name and under the alias Mensa. “A Country Falling Apart” is the latest addition to his discography, and was created entirely using sounds recorded out ‘in the field’, with only minimal editing in the form of an occasional shift of pitch. However, it is clear from listening that these sounds have also been carefully scored, either through their arrangement in post-production, their performance on-site, or a mix of both.
As perhaps befits a work intended to convey the chaotic state of Comelles’ native Spain following the economic upheavals of the past few years, the album is dominated by metallic clangs, screeches, throbs, and other sharp sounds. Neglect and abandonment make themselves audible in the squeal of rusted joints echoing in empty spaces, yet do these acoustic phenomena testify to more than this? And how could such testimony be distinguished from the thoughts and emotions we project onto the material at the mere mention of the word ‘crisis’? Treading a thin line between externally-imposed emotional content and the meanings arising from the shape and form of the music itself, “A Country Falling Apart” throws the tired dichotomy of subjective experience and objective document into disarray: the distinctions between projected rage, desolation, and despair, an internal aesthetic logic that necessitates, for example, the irruption of silence to allow reverberate tails to decay, and the groaning of the very architecture under the strain of economic collapse is at times very difficult to draw.
There are quieter moments here too, the gentleness of “Stir & Season” approaching an almost serene beauty; at other times the music’s punch is only complete with the addition of a bitterly ironic title, as in the case of bonus track “The Welfare State” (one minutes of silence followed by two and a half of rubbish being emptied from a dumper truck). The object of a field recording is always fully present and in that sense always already political, as all objects are. Yet getting field recordings to do politics is no easy task, and involves negotiating some tough questions and assumptions regarding the nature of truth, the status of the document, and the ability of both the microphone and its operator to bear witness to empirical events. “A Country Falling Apart” is one of the bravest yet also most competent attempts I’ve heard to grasp this bull by the horns, the moment when literal description tips over into emotional feedback being relentlessly contested, deferred, challenged, and embraced. After catastrophe, what field recording, what art, can henceforth be contemplated? With this release, Comelles brings us a little closer to finding out.
Nathan Thomas, Fluid Radio.
EL SO DE LA CRISI
S’acostuma a dir que la música experimental viu en la seva pròpia bombolla i que, degut a la seva forma sonora tant abstracta, on moltes vegades no hi ha ni referències harmòniques ni rítmiques, és complicat establir-hi una vinculació directe amb el present més enllà del dia i hora en que es composa o interpreta. El músic i artista sonor Edu Comelles, tarragoní afiançat a València, està obrint nous camins que fan que aquesta aquesta correlació entre la música i el context social en què es produeix sigui més natural i conseqüent.
D’una banda, al costat de Juanjo Palacios va comisariar el projecte discogràfic “Sonidos en recesión” (Lea, 2013), en què 28 artistes sonors i fonografistes aportaven una peça sonora inspirada en la pregunta: “a què sona la crisi econòmica?” L’objectiu, però, era fugir del soroll obvi de la protesta (crits d’una manifestació?) i que “reflecteixin acústicament un temps complexe i convuls com l’actual”.
I d’altra banda, amb el seu darrer disc, “A Country Falling Apart” (Audiotalaia, 2013), set talls de muntatges a base de gravacions de camp realitzades en espais afectats per la crisi econòmica: “totes les fons sonores estan relaciones d’alguna manera amb temes com la negligència, l’abandonament o la deixadesa.” Tots els sons són enregistrats a Espanya, “un país que es fa miques”. I la majoria a València, bressol de la corrupció immobiliària i de la construcció desmesurada. Comelles ha posat el micròfon en una aula sense alumnes, en un molí d’aigua abandonat, locals industrials buits i altres llocs paralitzats. El resultat és un compendi de sons inquietantment familiars –com un grup de mosques al voltant d’una guineu morta– entre els quals, en algun moment, sembla que s’escoli alguna psicofonia. És el nostre jo interior que sembla cridar auxili.
Olga Ábalos, Nativa.
A Country Falling Apart by Edu Comelles is licensed under a Creative Commons Reconocimiento-NoComercial-CompartirIgual 3.0 Unported License. Creado a partir de la obra en http://audiotalaia.bandcamp.com/album/atp003-empra-mots. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available athttp://www.educomelles.con.