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Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Juan José Calarco’s Tech-Derived MP3s

Ever downloaded a hefty video to find only the audio portion functions properly? Then the frustration inherent in following the two-part recording Plano Vertical, by musician Juan José Calarco, will provoke some serious déjà vu — and some pleasure.

The major difference, of course, is that Calarco’s imposing disorientation is entirely willful on his part, whereas the former experience has to do with the niggling complexities of the technology ingrained in our daily lives.

Which is to say, perhaps both experiences aren’t so different after all. The two tracks on Plano Vertical are built from familiar sounds, including rusty gears, telescoping echo, industrial groans, auracular rings, surface noise, the vertiginous rumble of what could be an elevator shaft, the distant cacophony of what could be a plane coming in to land, the clack of equipment functioning…

In other words, Calarco has taken mechanistic noises inherent in daily life and built something sad and worn and scary and often beautiful out of them. On the two pieces, “Extension Activa” (MP3) and “Plano Vertical 2” (MP3), most of this sound is yanked from its original context, which makes the occasional water drip stand out like a photorealist painting at an abstract expressionist exhibit.

More info at the releasing netlabel (Lisbon, Portugal’s monocromatica.com/netlabel) and at Buenos Aires, Argentina-based Calarco’s myspace.com/juanjosecalarco page.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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