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CD Feature/ Juan Matos Capote: "The Subway Aural Recordings"

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New York City has many hearts. They are called Union Square, Times Square and 5th Avenue, among others, and these hearts pump people through the veins of the Big Apple: People, who ride the famous New York Subway. The tubes the subway trains travel through when below the ground, are sometimes continued high above, and the whole circulation is being fed by these hearts, moving passengers from one chamber to another, thus guaranteeing the city’s enormous productivity and flow of life, in short: life’s movement itself.

Juan Matos Capote is one of millions of people, who use this ‘life system’. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. This man with Spanish roots and an accomplished career as a painter, with numerous exhibitions of his works, has now turned his attention on experimental music. No, this CD release is not his first one, if one discounts his work with his duo Thick Wisps. But it is one which is surely very important in the string of his artistic achievements.

The Subway Aural Recordings keep just what they promise: A ride through the ‘tubes’. We hear announcements at the stations, we here the sounds of opening and closing doors, the rails getting pounded by the ever so fast turning wheels. Pieces on this CD are called ‘Train’s Entrance’, ‘Beat & Breath’, ‘Union Square’, and ‘The 6 Train’, among others. And while there are some field recordings, there is also an extraordinary scale of electronic music perfectly embedded in them. The whole impression these sounds create is a realistic one, but also slowly flows into an ocean that leaves everything open to the imagination of the listener.

Yes, there is a recurrent theme. And it is organized in such a way, that just when you think you drift away into these endless waters of your imagination, the artists grabs you by your life vest and drags you back to the main subject. It surely is no coincidence that the comparison to painting is very compelling. And yet, while a painting is in some way very stationary, the sounds of this CD seem to withdraw from such a statement. Although one could argue, that they are not a subject to any change, just as a painting is, they spread an enormous potential of possibilities, depending on the mood of the listener, the listeners own experiences, his education and so on. You name it, there are more influences than stones on a mountain.

But Juan Matos Capote succeeded here in strictly limiting these excursions into the unknown  - although the temptation is always around the next corner; just like he does in his paintings, the listener is kept to the very intentions of this music, and I greatly applaud this fact. It focuses the attention on what needs and is intended to be said.

I greatly admire this disc. It has the taste of a fast moving world, of a merry-go-round of human life and it’s exposures and affiliations with an unforgiving technical environment. But there is no denial of the very situation we are living in. And how could this be better stated than in the title of the last track on this CD, which illustrates the somehow ironical view of the artist: ‘At last the poet says: Again there is no L-train’. A great work and well worth listening to. A piece of art in it’s own right.

By Fred M. Wheeler

Homepage: Juan Matos Capote
Homepage: Juan Matos Capote at MySpace
Homepage: Einzeleinheit Records

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