CILANTRO: ANGÉLICA CASTELLÓ & BILLY ROISZBorderland
PHYSICAL | CD
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A debut release by Cilantro, an Austrian duo of Angélica Castelló and Billy Roisz, two active persons in experimental music in Österreich. They already appeared on our label in 2014 on Scubawith Burkhard Stangl and dieb13, SQID with Mario de Vega, Attila Faravelli, and Burkhard Stangl, Feedback: Order From Noise compilation in 2014 and on Klingt.org: 10 Jahre Bessere Farben compilation in 2009.
Cilantro presents a world full of enigmas, labyrinths, sometimes abrasive, sometimes ecstatic, a complex and delicate subjectivity. Recorded in a basement in Podersdorf am See, a resort Austrian area, it conjures dark resonances of the space waking up memories hidden inside. "Borderland" deals with blurry edges of contradictory matters coming together and they put under scrutiny the activity in bordering areas between noise and silence, tenderness and rudeness, beat and drone, inner consciousness and outer awareness, control and freedom, forming the pieces by pulling the lever between structure and chaos, beauty and ugliness, demonstrating a thrilling display of human and technological interplay.
Von wegen mikro. Im Borderland (mikroton cd 53) von CILANTRO erwarten einen hypersome Raupen, Grillen, groß wie Ochsenfrösche, Walfische auf Rädern, Gray-cap 'Mold', wamperte Figuren, die Big Dom oder Prince Tubby ('Prinz Wompe') heißen könnten. Weird Sonic Fiction, wie "Melancholie des Widerstand" (aka "Die Werckmeisterschen Harmonien"), "City of Saints and Madmen" oder "Dunkle Stadt Bohane", wahrhaftig vertont. Angélica Castelló & Billy Roisz reiseführen nach 'Smoketown' (nach Ambergris...) mit Rauchspuren von Paetzold-Blockflöte, Ukulele, E-Bass, Organ, Computer, Tapes, TVSamples und Electronics, ohne Scheu, als narrativ und phantastisch (miss)-verstanden zu werden, wenn sie da wummern, brausen und krimskramsen, überzogen mit einem knisternden Geräuschfilm. Aber auch nostalgischer und hauntologischer Patina, wie bei 'Calypsoblues' und 'Lullaby for a Ghost', wo das Blau und Immergrün zu Evergrey verrauscht, verdüstert und verflimmert sind.
Cilantro heißt das langjährige Duo von Angélica Castelló (fl, org, ukulele, cass, e) und der Musikerin & Filmemacherin Billy Roisz (b, org, tv, e). Zusammen sind sie auch im Verein institut 5haus aktiv und organisieren darin jährlich ein Kleinfestival im Wiener echoraum. An ihrer CD borderland besticht eine Vielzahl an Utensilien, die demgemäß eine Vielzahl an Geräuschen erzeugt. Nicht an Räuschen, wie es der ehemalige Weinkeller der Familie Roisz nahelegen würde, in dem die Aufnahmen dafür eingespielt wurden. Ein Sammelsurium an Sounds verschmilzt in seinen besten Momenten, und davon gibt es auf borderland einige, zu einer Klangskulptur von fast überbordenden Ausmaßen.
From a bundle of no less than seven releases I picked these three for this week, and started with the one that from the outside looked like something I never heard of. It turns out that Cilantro is a (new?) duo of Angelica Castello (paetzold, ukulele, organ, tapes and electronics) and Billy Roisz (electric bass, organ, TV, piezo, computer and electronics), both of them not totally unknown in the world of improvised music and reviewed in these pages before. Not a very common list of instruments here, I'd say, and what is perhaps also a bit different is the fact there are ten tracks here, ranging from just a minute to almost twelve. Much of what Mikroton releases, if not all, deals with improvised music and as such I guess Cilantro fits that as well, but somehow, somewhere this also sounds a bit different. Surely much of the material is made through various sessions of improvising together, but I should think Cilantro is also attempting to incorporate more song like structures. This is not your usual hit, scratch and pluck (to say it impolitely) music, but attempting to find a drone, a repeating bass, loops of sound returning, a bit of noise thrown in, some samples being and obviously, no, this is never 'pop music' in anyway a bigger audience would understand, but it is all of these small things combined that makes this quite a wonderful and highly surprising release. Very much thought out and planned, and executed with great care, and this is just an excellent release.
The title of “Borderland” pitches this 10-track, 55-minute CD as an examination of the borders “between noise and silence, tenderness and rudeness, beat and drone, [...] structure and chaos, beauty and ugliness”. Yet to assume that it’s a fifty-fifty balance between any of those things would be incorrect. It’s an eclectic collection of slightly rough-hewn experimental arrangements blending instruments including the paetzold (a recorder), ukelele (oh yes it is), electric bass and organ with some stalwarts of experimental music including TV and the always-ambiguous “tapes”. Generally the electronics are dominant, with the organic instruments making more fleeting cameo appearances- either that, or appearing regularly but processed beyond recognition.
After the painted-and-decorated wall of noise that is the opener “Oruga”, “Whales On Wheels” is a slow, fluttering bit of bass plucking accompanied by quiet grating sounds and distant alien atmospherics. Pieces such as “Prinz Wompe” and the ironically-named “Traditional” have a sub-techno rumble to them.
Longest piece “Skrimslo”, at almost 12 minutes, stands out for its broader and more subdued ambience. The rumbles and drones are more distant, and crackly detuned radio-style noises slowly pervade the consciousness. It’s followed by “Calypsoblues”, which sounds nothing like the title may suggest and which is the simplest and most relaxed ambient piece of the bunch. A faintly sinister “Lullaby For A Ghost” with further distant radio signals wraps things up in a moderately unsettling way.
Overall it’s a very broad collection of ideas, some realised at length, others more succinct and underplayed, all knitted together by an analogue aesthetic that manages to seem both playful and sincere in equal measure.
Borderland (MIKROTON CD 53) is a really great record of lucid-dreaming surreal sound-driftery from Cilantro, featuring the talented team of Angélica Castelló and Billy Roisz, currently active in Austria. We last heard these two on the Scuba CD from Mikroton, and there was the cassette Silvertone E Il Sentimento Oceanico (released in 2013, reviewed in 2016) where Roisz did cover images for this solo aquatic special by Angélica.
Although we’ve heard her mostly in a group improvising context before, I’d find it easier to locate this Cilantro project in the zone of experimental, layered, sound-art where a large number of conflicting sound sources are flung into the same melting pot and have to slug it out as they compete for air, leaving the listener with an abundance of aural event and richness to digest. Of course the assembly method of these two is surely not as haphazard as I make it appear. It takes some considerable skill to marshal so many wild forces into the same corral and still come out smelling of roses. On this occasion we have musical instruments – organ, ukulele, bass guitar, and Angélica’s signature instrument, the paetzold recorder, plus live electronic noises, computer-manipulations, and overlaid tapes (some of them sourced from the TV, it seems).
The duo plough a strange course through all this debris with the calm assurance of a combine harvester, constantly seeking the core of strength that lies at the middle of their destination; as each journey progresses, we become more aware of the sheer strangeness of life, as refracted in these kaleidoscopic images and super-imposed double-exposure photographs. Titles like ‘Whales On Wheels’ and ‘Prinz Wompe’ tend to confirm the surreal intentions; and the label notes speak of “labyrinths, enigmas…dark resonances…memories hidden inside”. I frequently enjoy releases that display this long-form, diffuse and open-ended approach to construction; one of my personal favourites in this areas in Nigel Samways, who seems to take us on long walks through entirely fictional geographies. The constructional aspects of Borderland are pure artifice, making it art; the slightly porous method, allowing plenty of print-through and sound windows opening on other sounds, makes it exciting and filled with unexpected collisions. Very good. From 19th April 2017.