TERRA D’ÁGUA The exploration of marginal and suburban areas is one of the cores on which is based the aesthetic investigation of Galaverna, with previous releases including: “Sceneries from the castellated Wall” by Yasuhiro Morinaga, and “Re: Fujaco” by @c, specifically focused on the cultural and geographical landscape of rural areas (Irpinia, Londonderry, São Pedro do Sul). In fact, it is the aforementioned work by @c (Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais), released by Galaverna in September 2012 and dedicated to the investigation of sound around the rural village of Fujaco (Portugal), that inspired Luís Antero in making “terra d’água”, a release divided into two chapters. Aside from marking Luís entry in the roster of Galaverna, this work also creates a short essay of sonic reconnaissance dedicated to the two natural elements of earth and water, in the framework of a number of places dear to the artist, in the Serra da Estrela mountain, Portugal.
The places visited by Antero (old water mills, the hydroelectric power plant in Vila Cova Coelheira, the river bed Alvoco) represent the common thread of a narrative investigation suspended between ethno-territorial and political-ecological practices, in which evocative elements coupled with a poetic approach add a special charm to the “concrete” experience of listening to field recordings.
The results of this investigation, concentrated in the opening title track, are echoed in ‘Noventa and Sete (para Luís Antero)’ in which Carvalhais and Tudela elaborate a set of “agricultural sounds” collected by Antero (“without altering the tone nor the identity”, as Carvalhais writes) and deconstruct/reassemble rhythms in a refined way. An organic soundscape, “populated by dynamic entities”, gradually emerges, with each element acquiring an amplified acoustic thickness, multiplied till it becomes lost, almost as in the echo of distant singing. All these elements materialize into a vanishing point “suddenly, as at the end of the rainy season”.
terra d’água (16:31)
The sound work “Re:Fujaco”, composed by @c (Miguel Carvalhais and Pedro Tudela) and released by Galaverna netlabel, was the motto and inspiration for the sound work “terra d’água”‘. “Re:Fujaco” is diffusely considered one of the best sound work in a rural context for 2012. Later, I decided to make a pretty bold yet natural decision addressing Miguel and Pedro’s invitation of to remix their sound piece (the result is track number 2). Inspired by the work of the duo @c, I traveled toSerra da Estrelaand made field recordings in Covão da Ametade, at that time a place full of snow and with the cristalline Zêzere river, running slowly and loudly. Then I decided to get out in the wild, a few kilometers from Parque Natural da Serra da Estrela towards Alvoco da Serra, where I met a nice couple working hard, digging the land for the sowing season, and they kindly allowed me to record the sounds of their doing. Water is also a constant throughout this region, running through green valleys and jumping ancient terracings, now abandoned for lack of labor force. The remaining sound recording was taken in the Hydro Electric Central of Vila Cova a Coelheira, in the water mill of S. Gião and in the Water Treatment Station of the Alvoco das Várzeas village, on the banks of the AlvocoRiver.
This work was constituted as an approach/tribute to the two elements of “terra” (ground) and “água” (water), which in here are drown together in years of popular, environmental and architectural history. “terra d’água” can also be seen as a further contribution to the promotion and preservation of the acoustic heritage of this area of the country, intent that I carried on since 2008 and that can be followed on the web platform www.luisantero.yolasite.com.
A very special thanks to Miguel Carvalhais and Pedro Tudela, who kindly accepted the invitation to remix the sound piece ‘terra d’água’ and also to Enrico Coniglio of Galaverna, early enthusiasts of the work presented here. Thank you!
Luís Antero, april 2013
@c – Noventa e Sete (para Luís Antero) (24:44)
Composed by Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais in Porto in 2013 from original recordings by Luís Antero.
Field recordings are something we often resort to, but our approach to them in composition or performance is irregular: if at times we may be very straight-forward and even sporadically quite narrative (at least to our ears), trying to preserve the character of the sounds and most of the details found in them, we often heavily manipulate the sources, occasionally leaving but a faint trace of the originals as glimpses for possible recollection or recognition of the contexts of recording. We may decontextualize sounds, we may build (fictional) ambients or narratives, or we may — and we tend to — approach sounds with little or no semantic concerns, using them in a process of audio collage.
‘Noventa e Sete (para Luís Antero)’ was created upon Luís’s kind request for a remix of his piece ‘terra d’água’. Having nurtured a long-standing admiration for his work we were thrilled by the opportunity to work with his recordings and upon hearing his composition, we quickly decided not to use unprocessed recordings as they were so prominently featured there, but we also felt that we shouldn’t destroy the timbral identity of the sounds we would come to use. We therefore decided to focus on a single pair of takes and to built our composition from their deconstruction and rhythmic reconstruction. Having disassembled the sounds of digging, we followed a nondeterministic approach to their reconstruction, structurally reshuffling all the slices to a regular grid. After this, and through a systematic process of addition with multiple asynchronous overdubs, we set in motion the emergence of a mass of sound that was simultaneously a breaking up and an accumulation of parts that evoked the process of digging the ground, of breaking, granulating and rearranging the dirt, leaving tracks and residues along the way.
Our piece therefore starts with a markedly man-made sound, clearly mechanical, steady, slow-paced and evolves to a flow of a myriad of events that progressively become less human, less mechanical and much more organic. As it progresses and the events multiply, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish particular events and the listening experience shifts from focusing on a particular action to a meandering through a complex organic landscape populated by scores of dynamic entities, a landscape that eventually and suddenly fades away, as the end of a summer rain.
Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais, april 2013
terra d’água by Luís Antero, Pedro Tudela and Miguel Carvalhais is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.galaverna.org.
Luís Antero works on a digital landscape of a field recording. Sounds difficult? Considering the amount of reality that’s already filtered through the digital realm it makes perfect sense. Thanks to editing these environments, originally calm and soothing become troubled. Added onto these pieces are the neuroses of digital debris. What had existed in reality is no longer true. Parts of ‘terra d’água’ get extremely abrasive. Mixed by Luís Antero and later @c each artist captures what the environment means to them. Hence the listener gets to see differing points of view on the same place, a form of deep insight into the artists’ minds. On Luís Antero’s piece there are less intense forms of digital manipulation. The flowing of water manages to be quite soothing. Harsher elements exist (such as the throbbing drone/mechanical noise) but otherwise it is surprisingly gentle. Most of the digital noise comes in the beginning part of the track. Eventually it floats away from this sterile environment into something kinder. @c’s piece is far more abrasive. Here too a lot of it is of water. Unlike the previous piece there is less in the form of gentle drones. Rather it starts to be doubled and tripled upon itself creating a large nasty environment. Literally picking away at the track it becomes increasingly less stable until it collapses towards the end in a fantastic breakdown. ‘terra d’água’ overpowers natural forces. Here is where the digital wins over the natural. Elements are thrown to the side as the digital processing drags the pieces through the aural muck to find true beauty.
Luís Antero is Portuguese sound artist who works in field recordings and with ‘Terra d’água’ he emphasized the elements of earth and water as living sources of nature, where water is abundant in rivers and greenery can be seen throughout Serra da Estrela, Portugal. This album is inspired by ‘Re: Fujaco’, a recent released on the Italian Galaverna netlbel and created by Portuguese Miguel Carvalhais and Pedro Tudela, best known as @c. ‘Terra d’água’ consist in two tracks, ‘Terra d’água’ and ‘Noventa e Sete (para Luís Antero)’. For the first one Antero traveled to Serra da Estrela and make the field recordings made in Covão da Ametade. The second one is remix of ‘Terra d’água’ by @c. On ‘Terra d’Agua’ we can hear two farmers from the area working the land, then the water starts to flow while the blade continues to be heard with his relentless pace. Suddenly emerging buzz, the sound of rain and synthetic sound. On ‘Noventa e Sete (para Luís Antero)’ @ c uses Antero’s field recordings and processes. The shovel hits are mixed with farmers gasp at work and is transformed into guttural, almost animal sound which is very compressed. Interesting disc showing the sonic possibilities from field recordings.
Un’idea di rappresentazione sonora del tutto analoga a quella espressa dai connazionali Pedro Tudela e Miguel Carvalhais (@c) nella precedente pubblicazione di Galaverna “Re:Fujaco” è sottostante all’esplorazione di ambienti suburbani compiuti da Luis Antero in “Terra d’água”. Non sembra affatto un caso che gli stessi Tudela e Carvalhais abbiano partecipato al lavoro, manipolando, con l’aggiunta di ulteriori segmentazioni ritmiche, la seconda traccia “Noventa e Sete”. Gli oltre sedici minuti della title track, invece, raffigurano un affresco delle vibrazioni della terra e dell’acqua, elementi essenziali della zona montuosa della Serra da Estrela, dove quei suoni sono stati raccolti. Crepiti, fruscii, suoni spezzati percorrono l’intera durata della traccia, rivelando una finalità non meramente descrittiva quanto piuttosto comunicativa, volta a testimoniare attraverso messaggi auditivi l’interazione degli elementi e la loro valenza non solo sull’ecosistema locale ma soprattutto sul modo in cui questo possa essere percepito. Sole, vento, pioggia e tutti i fenomeni di una natura in incessante trasformazione cristallizzano così una testimonianza auditiva che rappresenta altresì un monito all’alterazione degli equilibri degli elementi di terra e acqua. [Raffaello Russo]