Alfredo Costa Monteiro
Belgium £13 (including postage)
Europe £15 (including postage)
Rest of world £17 (including postage)
Edition of 200 copies
A multi-channel composition for electric organ, commissioned by L’ull Cec for
The Game of Life Foundation’s spatialisation sound system (consisting
of 192 speakers and 12 subwoofers, using the Wave Field Synthesis technique). Performed on 20 June
2012 at Fabra i Coats, Barcelona.
This recording is the stereo version.
Out of print
This disc contains a 40-minute stereo version of a somewhat inclement multi-channel composition designed to work
at full effect in its proper context: that is,
a spatialisation generated by a large number of speakers and subwoofers employing the Wave Field Synthesis technique during the playback. Perhaps Costa Monteiro’s [least] ‘human’ release to date, Insula is defined by constricting clusters in the overacute range, massive unresolved drones at times conveying an almost dictatorial disposition, and only
distant remnants of the primary source. No escape whatsoever towards even
the slightest hint of decompression as
the music retains its uncomfortably glacial behaviour.
The overall unfriendliness should not detract from the work’s value, securely set on the same high standards to
which the composer has grown us used to. In recent years, Costa Monteiro
seems to have studied John Duncan and Iannis Xenakis quite a lot: the vibrating physicalness suggests imageries between celestial and nuclear, striking apexes and quieter sections finely mingled. In spite of a lack of commonly
intended harmoniousness — I’m
referring to untrained ears, needless
to say — one enjoys the plasticity of
the resonating structures and the incisiveness of the processed organ’s upper partials. A state of imperturbable vigilance — enhanced by frequencies whose richness is proportional to their severity — is ultimately reached. Beyond the hypocrisy of elite radicalism tinged with unthreatening sounds, solely focusing on the implicit meanings –
and, why not, the quiet menaces – of
emissions that do not necessarily look
for an approval, Insula represents a
brave attempt to express something
less predictable than usual in the overcrowded area of today’s psycho-acoustic investigation.
Massimo Ricci at Touching Extremes
Originally created as a multi-channel spatialised composition heard through
no fewer than192 speakers and 12 subwoofers, the piece has evidently
lost none of its broad scope in this
stereo reduction. Monteiro’s language
is indefatigably synthetic, his palette of sounds raw, from which he forms tight bands and clouds of beating frequencies, sometimes eye-wateringly astringent. Unlike so many composers of electronic music, Monteiro allows his material plenty
of time to speak, which in turn gives the listener time to scrutinise their qualities in considerable detail. This adds conviction to the steady evolution that Insula
undergoes, passing from insect-like pitches to industrial drones and noise, from upfront and personal dynamic
affrontery to subdued middle-distance time-biding. Monteiro describes the work as one for electric organ, and that point
of origin becomes much more apparent
in the second half, where austere chords penetrate the shimmering and bring it into focus, and later hovering in an uncanny sequence of wavering lines.
But noise regularly punctures whatever certainties pitch seems to offer, initially
in a squalling harsh wall, and finally
in a low throbbing band of something indefinable.
Simon Cummings at 5:4