MIGUEL FARÍAS (b.1983): Up & down: Lecturas Críticas for Bass/Contrabass Clarinet and Ensemble), Estelas for Clarinet, Percussion, Piano and Cello (Laurent Bruttin (clarinets], Ensemble Contrechamps), CBR for Flute, Percussion, Piano and Cello (Ensemble Zero), Palettes for Baritone Sax, Percussion, Piano and Cello (PHACE; Simeon Pironkoff), One void liquid for Ensemble and Electronics (Ensemble Vortex).
Catalogue Number: 01V070
Description: Fresh, original and stimulating. We haven’t heard much about Chilean contemporary music - apparently avant garde art didn’t flourish under the Pinochet regime - but in the past couple of decades, it seems to have become lively, cosmopolitan and innovative. Fariás is a leading figure in this resurgence, and this exciting collection of works demonstrates why. Rather than borrow elements of Latin American music as 'exotic' flavourings in avant garde music, as European and North American composers have done (and were doing long before there was an avant garde, in fact), Fariás seems to approach the question from the opposite direction, appropriating elements of the avant garde - electronics, extended techniques - as technical devices in an essentially Latin palette. Breathy, fluttering and multiphonic wind sounds are those of Andean pipes; bongos and other hand-played drums sit comfortably alongside the piano and strings; Salsa and popular music are part of the lexicon, lending a rhythmic vitality and pungency to even the most abstract works here. In fact, rhythm, of the catchiest, most toe-tapping kind, pervades and in some cases takes over, most of these pieces. As a typical example of what we hear here, CBR, for instance, refers to the initials, and very audibly to the music of, Celia Cruz, Ray Barretto and Rubén Blades, though taken out of context, a short sample of the piece could be a pointillistic timbre piece by an European composer. Up and Down (2016) the most extended piece here, sets up a fascinating confrontation with Adorno's hierarchical view of musical disciplines. Adorno's recorded voice is used a series of fragments, which soon becomes part of the accompaniment to the bass clarinets' jaunty song, with its ensemble backing group merrily providing rhythm and textures from sliding clusters to tonal chord as though unaware of the serious philosophical and theatrical dispute in which they are participating. It’s impossible to overstate just how much fun this gloriously iconoclastic and downright clever musical extravaganza is. Think of Kagel's most wittily absurdist, chortle-inducing construct, and set it to a Latin beat. Similarly, Une voix liquide is full of multiphonics and strange sounds, but early on the music is anchored by a steady, bouncy rhythm, later reinforced by congas, and the listener's expectations are played with by the presence of an electric guitar. Is it suddenly going to transform into a piece of popular music? No, it already is one, and that’s the point; colloquial avant-gardism from an unaccustomed culture, and cultural viewpoint.