ANGÉLICA CASTELLÓ & JÉRÔME NOETINGERDisturbio
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Angélica Castelló is a Mexican and Austrian composer, sound artist, performer, curator and teacher. Her sound work and compositions concentrate on fragility, dreamworld and the subconscious. Performs continuously solo or in cooperations everywhere between Mexico City and Vienna. Numerous compositions for ensembles, radio works as well as installations that operate at the interface of music, performance and visual arts. Several releases on labels like Mikroton Recordings, Interstellar records, Mosz and others.
Jérôme Noetinger founded Cellule D'Intervention Metamkine in 1987, with French cinematographer and performer Christophe Auger and Xavier Quérel. They have performed with Nachtluft, Voice Crack, Tom Cora, Keith Rowe… He has collaborated with longtime partner Lionel Marchetti since 1993 and is a member of avant-improv orchestra MIMEO. He founded and runs the record label and distributor Metamkine (curating its “Cinéma Pour L'Oreille” collection) which has been our partner since the date of foundation of Mikroton. He mostly plays the tape recorder Revox B77.
“Disturbio” is the debut album by duo Angélica Castelló and Jérôme Noetinger. This dense masse of noise and sonic rites is the result of a 3 day recording session in Vienna in 2016. Sometimes it’s impossible to figure out who’s playing, as if they were two on the same tool and instrument: They both use tapes and Castelló’s breathy playing on the Paetzold flute mimics the rotation of Noetinger’s Revox and vice versa, there is a a big collection of samples and loops, radios and field recordings on their cassettes and tapes, with which they create cinematic atmospheres with magic and hidden diaphanous voices. “Disturbio” is also a study on vibrating surface tremors, earthquakes, strong tectonic movements, shakes. Somehow apocalyptic and reflecting on the beauty of a world where the human is no more than a memory and just a distant sound.
Relatively more subdued (but only relatively!) is Noetinger’s collaboration with Angélica Castelló. Noetinger’s hyperactive bloop is still easily recognizable among these seven self-contained songs, but unlike on “La Cave…” he is rarely in attack mode. Each piece is a unified mixture of barely-identifiable materials with an implied/oblique narrative through-line. The episodic nature of the album reminds me of a radioplay, moving from scene to scene while describing abstracted urban sonic spaces.
Disturbio (mikroton cd 63) ist die verstörende Umwälzung und Engführung von Tapes durch wieder ANGÉLICA CASTELLÓ und Metamkine-Meister JÉRÔME NOETINGER. Der scratcht mit seinen Revox-Spulen, während Castelló auch mit der Paetzold faucht, als würde sie über den Tonkopf schleifen. So dass sich stöhnende Schleifspuren mischen mit ploppenden, kaskadierenden, wummernden oder klackend vibrierenden Geräuschen, Bandaufnahmen von Radiostimmen und Alltagsrauschen, blechernen Regentropfen, einem Sägen oder hündischen Hecheln. Beidseitige Electronics verunklaren die Klangbilder weiter mit peitschendem und zwitscherndem Zucken, turbulent aufgewirbeltem Noise, knurrigem Gebrumme. Es loopt und prasselt wie die knackende Auslaufrille auf Vinyl um das imaginäre Epizentrum der Lärmzone 'Stadt' in ihrem Alarm und ihrer dumpfen Low-Fidelity. Und weit und breit kein Not- oder Fluchthelfer - There is no Escape from... Es bräuchte schon einen göttlichen Eingriff ('Divine Act') oder das Gemüt eines Hl. Franziskus ('Santo'), dem schon Vogelgezwitscher, das balsamische Summen oder Flöten der Paetzold, verhuschter Singsang oder Abbas 'Honey, Honey' versichern, dass die Schöpfung nur scheinbar Webfehler hat ('Bicho I & II'). Zuletzt wooshen comicartige Speedlines zu pumpendem Puls.
As there is so much we could discuss about these veteran players, their instruments, and the palette of Disturbio, I will give a high-level view so as to not wax on too long about / overemphasize the importance of any ingredient over another:
• Angélica Castelló: Born in Mexico, lives in Vienna, professor and electroacoustic (heavy on the acoustic) composer, electronics maven, Paetzold performance extraordinaire
• Paetzold: An instrument based on the Renaissance bass recorder. It resembles a large, wooden periscope mated with a stilt — or mutated goose neck — is capable of very low tones, and is often (boringly) employed to double clarinet an octave below. Notable performers include Castelló and Anna Petrini
• Jérôme Noetinger: One of the greatest living mystics of sound mangling. He has run the gamut in the composition and improvised performance world, and continues to tweak and get mileage out of his bag of tricks. His current set-up of crumbling feedback and crackle effects features a Revox A77 tape deck as it's keystone, the latter enabling real-time manipulation, live looping and staccato-to-elongated aural torrents
• The Revox A77 reel-to-reel player / recorder: Once relegated to "swinging bachelor pads," the A77 is referred to by audiophiles as "The Rolex Oyster of tape decks." It was a bit cheaper than some of the studio standards, but can physically endure much more than some of the less sturdy counterparts. I don't think any of that has any bearing on this music, but you can read more here if you are so inclined.
Anyway, the electroacoustic / post Cage / free improvisation domains usually adhere to one or all five of the following: Construction, destruction, a combination of the previous two, dissection, and / or observation. In the case of Disturbio, the field is already laid to waste; we're stepping in after an unresolved coda where whatever sudden catastrophe caused the collapse lingers and continues to impede renovation; but there is a sub-dermal environment squirming under the debris, attempting communications that are squashed before reaching the surface or a first responder.
Okay... Remember the robotic mice from Ray Bradbury's There Will Come Soft Brains? Their job was to prepare food and clean up after any mess in the this-is-the-automated-future-per-1950s-predictions home; they continued to do so despite the disintegration of their masters, even pressing on while losing bolts and limbs to the house crumbled on top of them. They continued to wiggle. That's the telepathic mental image of the sonic world Castelló and Noetinger navigate and deform.
A blend of broken, distant television and radio broadcasts mingling with grumbles, fried circuits, twitching held notes, gravelly footfalls, staccato exhales, whistles, tape spinning and winding, and otherwise percussion guides this narrative. Would you prefer pink noise, gentle rumbles, and the synthetic clone of someone massaging a balloon? Gradually pour in hissy bird call recordings that surf on some type of Doppler effect and patiently move into an intricate, complex chord, a combination of AC hum, shimmering squeals, ocean noise — like a Buddha Machine designed for bigger, advanced brains. Can the foreground sometimes emphasize the broadcast voices, or popular songs, or opera snippets, or Spanish exorcism prayers? Could you add some subtle idiosyncratic reminders that the recorder that eats clarinets and bassoons for breakfast is also participating (i.e. wheezy humming, wooden grinding and sawing)? Cloudy feedback loops and the players real-time sample each other too?
Tangled, right? Not really. There is a lot of disparate elements firing on Disturbio, but a thoughtful progression and micro placement keeps the works hypnotic, slightly adhesive, mysterious, playful, not physical engulfment and desensitization into boredom.
On Disturbio (MIKROTON CD 63) Angélica Castelló appears with Jérôme Noetinger, that French genius who’s been responsible for great live-electronics and electro-acoustic music for nearly 20 years now. Here he uses his open-reel Revox, radio set and electronics to accompany Castelló’s paetzold, tapes, radio and electronics; much more an electronic record than the above, and the difference is notable right from the opening moments of the first track – stark, concrete and hard-edged after the soft-focus dreaming zones of Consuelo. However, we’ve also got fascinating tracks like ‘Santo’, where indistinct voices chatter on fuzzy tape while Noetinger interrupts with many impolite hoots and barks through his electric snorkel; and ‘Umwälzung’, a strange and subdued semi-jumble of ill-fitting noises held together by equally puzzling silences. The genius here is how these non-matching textures manage to cohere at all, let alone seem so alluring. I suppose the trend of this record is much less “narrative” in its direction than Consuelo above, but continues to showcase Castelló’s flair for tape-blending and selection of materials, which she executes in a very intuitive manner. From 30th October 2018.