Pedro Carneiro: "Improbable Transgressions"

The marimba is an instrument I like very much, ever from the first time I heard Steve Reich's “Six Marimbas”. The wooden sound of it appeals to me a lot. So I am quite surprised to get this double CD with work by one Pedro Carneiro, who apparently is quite famous in the world of percussion players.

While looking on the net he found there is a whole bunch of people who take works by others and put them in a new jacket, the so-called ‘remix’, even when Carneiro refers to them as Sound Hackers. This inspired him to recorded nine improvisations on the marimba, which are dedicated to nine of these sound hackers, whom would all get a copy of the work to re-work. A lovely little idea, making the remix project into a hyper personal thing.

The only restrictions were to use just the sounds Carneiro recorded and to keep it within the seven to nine minute range. On the first disc, as said, nine strong improvisations. Carneiro has quite a loud style in playing the marimba, but he manages to make the various coloration's of the instrument possible. He's best when he plays a combination of louder and softer material right through eachother. I couldn't help thinking however what the possibilities were in terms of remixing. Over the lengthy course of this CD there is plenty of time of ponder over that - and the length is perhaps the disc's only problem.

The second disc is a bit more problematic. The first six contributions are too much ‘computer doodling' as far I am concerned. You know the drill: open a short sound file in some processing patch in Super Collidor, Max/msp or PD, and let the sounds bounce up and down the scale, change pitch, play backwards, stretch it out, make shorter. The first six don't do a very inspired job, except perhaps Ralf Wehowsky, who sounds alright and takes the material to a level further and João Pedro Oliveira, whose pieces could easily be on a Empreintes Digitalis CD, which is alright but a bit standard.

The final three pieces are the most interesting ones. Brandon Labelle has a completely vague description in the booklet as to what he does exactly but the result is a highly subdued piece of very soft spoken tones Ivan Franco plays a beautiful controlled ambient piece, in which traces of the original are used to collide with the processed sounds. Stephan Mathieu who takes on a Lucier like concept of recording and playing back on two ancient cassette machines, before layering the piece into a dense piece of gliding tones. So a really nice concept not always leads to a nice CD, as the efforts on the second disc are as far I'm concerned a bit half baked.

[CD by Sirr-ecords]

Frans de Waard / Vital Weekly
Photo + image: R.R.

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