Friday, September 25, 2020
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cover
Artist: Felipe Araya (@)
Title: Punata
Format: Tape
Label: Eh? (@)
Rated: *****
We start off with “Punata,” a 26-minute track that, according to the liner notes, was recorded to mobile phone in Bolivia. From the very beginning, there is a rawness to the piece, as you hear conversations taking place in the street, and snippets of music. Suddenly, there is hardly any sound, with bits of wind noise the only clue that the tape has not stopped. There are sparse sounds of the cajon, Araya’s signature instrument, and other bits of noise. Everything is quiet, until a parade blasts through your speakers. The parade ends, to be replaced by quiet scraping and clinking metal and a slight rumble. One can view this as the juxtaposition of quiet moments of reflection and experimentation with the vibrant noise of the street. Back and forth, never staying with one side for very long. Turning over the tape, we are greeted with a peaceful flute followed by low beating on the cajon and clinking metal. Gone are the field recordings and loops. For a while, it has the feel of incidental music, but as the track goes on, it is dominated more and more by the cajon, with a heavy bass presence. This becomes increasingly animated as Araya scrapes and vigorously pounds on the cajon. With both tracks there is a good use of quiet passages to draw attention to the rest of the composition. If you enjoy field recordings, Punata will be up your alley, and percussion aficionados will enjoy a track featuring an instrument that is not often seen in experimental music.

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