Music Reviews

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Artist: CESAR BOLANOS
Title: Peruvian Electroacoustic and Experimental Music
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Pogus (@)
Rated: *****
"The more I know, the more I don't know", Cesar Bolanos is a good example of this assumption. Born in Lima, Peru in 1931 Bolanos had the chance to blossom in a South America still not devastated by an heavy economical US interference. Even if this' not the right place to speak about it, I'm sure if we could take the time to study the phenomenon it would be interesting to rewrite the history book of composers coming from South America and other non-occidental areas and discover to hear what we were losing so far thanks to the many omissions caused by our euro-american way of thinking. This collection of recordings ranging from 1964 to 1970 blew me away from the very first listening, Bolanos deep musical introspection and his use of tape was really inspired and never too scholastic, add when dealing with the electro-acoustic composers of the time he was projected into the future and you'll get why I've been so amazed by this series of compositions. While the influence of other composers like Xenakis, Nono, Maderna and Copland can be easily detached here and there, we're not in front of another clone: after forty years many of this works sound much fresher than many musicians writing contemporary score nowadays. Strange how, according to the inner booklet, Bolanos after the seventies started concentrating more on his passion for pre-Hispanic music and instruments, it somehow reminded me this' not the first time I read of some researcher who's so deeply into contemporary studies that all of a sudden gets absorbed into the historical/traditional researches. The two "Divertimentos", "Intensidad y Altura" or "Flexum" are different but betray the mark of the same mastermind and bring forth a reflection concerning the fact this Peruvian composer incorporated some influences of his forerunners in what was still a new language and at the same time shows how despite the abstraction of some of his works his music was still warm. If the context is influential for what concerns the end result of the performance, it's nice to hear the crowd laughing and clapping during the premiere of 1970's piece for piano and recitator mime actor in Buenos Aires. Some compositions picture a composer ahead of his time or at least well established in what was the new avangarde movement of the early seventies, I think "Cancion sin palabras" alone (for piano and tape) could erase any doubt about the fact even if coming from a peripheral places for what concerned contemporary music this man was "at the core of the changing of times". I think the closing track of the second cd deserves a special mention for the mere fact the reciting voice reads some passages of a guerrilla diary of Ernesto "Che" Guevara the piece is interesting and the text has that magic feel of seventies political involvement, unfortunately even if ok, the recording of this live track is so and so and doesn't pay the right homage to the idea. I'm glad Pogus pressed this double collection of works by Cesar Bolanos it reminds us how the beauty is/was out there beyond the border of our small world, it's a strange sensation it makes you feel both amazed and both disoriented at the same time.



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