Review: Felipe Araya & Nicolás Carrasco – las condiciones de los cuerpos en los puestos de trabajo (ala1RECS, Aug 7)

Looking back on it, my career as an experimental musician was doomed from the start. I am far too predisposed toward passive appreciation and observation to truly feel as though the sounds I’m making are worth occupying the space into which I’m sending them, and especially if I ever found myself performing in as cavernous and sonically lush a venue as an art museum, I expect I would probably be much less interested in making my own sounds as I would be in just hearing the building itself. I suppose this is a large part of the reason why I love releases like las condiciones de los cuerpos en los puestos de trabajo so uniquely (other examples that come to mind are R.O.T.’s Klein Eiland from earlier this year, Grisha Shakhnes’s wonderful being there, and the Chantier series by the trio of Pascal Battus, Bertrand Gauguet, and Éric La Casa)—I really admire and value the ability to enrich an already pregnant milieu with one’s own contributions, as it’s not one I really seem to possess. The locale in question on this new release from sound artists Felipe Arraya and Nicolás Carrasco is the Contemporary Art Museum located in Santiago de Chile, the recording completed nearly half a decade ago while the museum was closed. The duo’s reticent duets, produced almost entirely with found materials (divided into three categories between the pair: “drawer,” “objects,” and “stuff”) with the exception of choice electronics occasionally conjured by Carrasco. The sparse exclamations spread through the weighty silence of the building like sluggish spiderwebs, picked up by the nearly all-encompassing array of recording devices that were purposefully placed throughout the space. The most innocuous of events are given unusual significance within the languid pace of the two lengthy tracks; the highlights of the first consisted of a loud, startling bang near the twenty minute mark and a rolling furniture traversal (perhaps the drawer?) close to the end. The structure of the second piece is immediately a bit more concrete, with several recurring, stationary events allowing one to trace a rudimentary diagram of the sound-space, intermittently disturbed by the nearly spectral noises of outside traffic and various comings and goings. The electronics also take on a larger role, often seemingly injected intravenously into the recording rather than picked up externally, the improvisations surrounding the space rather than the other way around.

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