First Published on cassette in 1984, ‘Composiciones Nativas’ was a summarisation of five compositions ‘Estudio para quena’, ‘Lago de totoras’, ‘Despegue’, ‘Noche Ashaninka’, and ‘Selvinas’. This CD reissue is part of a recovery project called Sounds Essential Collection with the aim of periodically publishing fundamental works of Peruvian avant garde music. The compositions convey a state of meditative consciousness that is relaxing and peaceful.
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Here’s something you don’t come across every day: a reissue of a lost classic of Peruvian avant garde composition. Arturo Ruiz del Pozo was a graduate of Lima’s national conservatory who came to study at the Royal College of London, where in 1978 he recorded the pieces presented here. Immersing himself in the world of electroacoustic music, he decided to explore the richness of the indigenous music traditions of his homeland by taking flutes of all tones and timbre as well as gongs, rattles and drums and subjecting them to some intense electronic processing and tape manipulation. The results are as unique and alien sounding as you ever could hope for.
Opener ‘Parantara’ draws us in with ritualistic gongs and a strange, cyclical pipe motif sprinkled with metallic ripples; sounding like the eerie new music of an emergent post-nuclear civilisation. ‘Tarka en Brujas’ is even more starkly remote sounding with high pitched whistles tracing birdsong-like lines that seem to multiply and coalesce into a murmurating metallic drone that is eventually underpinned with a husky, archaic sounding bass flute. ‘Estudio Para Quenas’ follows a similar pattern but centred around haunting tape-delayed shakuhachi-like lines for an atmosphere that reminds me of Martian landscape depictions from early sci-fi films. ‘Selvynas’ sets an intermittent, foghorn drone against an abstract drum tone, crackling shells and spiralling pipes to build an arrestingly stark tension that somehow reminds me of some Alva Noto stuff. The last two chamber pieces sit pretty incongruously with the rest of the set and are not nearly as great but, all in all, this is a real eye-opener.
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- Composiciones Nativas - Music for Native Peruvian instruments and Magnetophonic Tape 1978 by Arturo Ruiz del Pozo
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