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CD Feature/ Ubeboet: "spectra"

img  Tobias

While I was listening to “duae”, the recent collaboration of Miguel Tolosa (aka ubeboet) and Pablo Reche, a big truck pulled up beside my window in a usually agreeably quiet sidestreet and left its big diesel engine running for almost an hour. For some strange coincidence, the exact same thing happened while I was enjoying “spectra”. Only this time around, I could continue listening.

The reason is simple: On his latest release, Tolosa has left the fields of silence he usually ploughs with his tasteful con-v label and has all but severed the connection with the “lower case” movement he has been one of the main proponents of. The future will tell whether or not this is a longterm artistic decision or an occasional excursion, but on “spectra”, he is closer to the music of Twenty Hertz boss Paul Bradley than ever before – a convergence which has been made even clearer by Bradley’s recent output, which wasn’t only warmer than any of his previous releases, but also more concise and compact. On a casual listen, this truly sounds like a work of pure drones, smooth, sustained tones glistening in the sunshine and of careful hands delicately turning some knobs with glace kid gloves. Almost exclusively around the four minute mark, the pieces don’t build up or run through too much of a development, but appear to be impressions, postcards which the eye gazes over in search for details, only to be put aside with a smile after a short while. Just like with postcards, however, it is always a wise thought to read the text on the back. And the information printed in the booklet indeed gives a twist to the first impression, revealing that the material was realised using “field recordings, fm radio, tape recorder, lap steel guitar and laptop”. So I gave things a second and third spin and, yes, there were the rough edges, minute impurities and additions to the clarity of the basic colours: Are those violins? Where did those subtle scratchings come from? What is that rustiling noise? Could that be be a choir in the back? Was this part recorded at a train station? Suddenly, the associations start coming in, opening up new spaces in their wake. Tolosa has managed to award different layers to his compositions and the waking mind will enter them according to its disposition. The more the album progresses, the more it leaves the halls of angelic beauty and turns towards darker shades of the palette and the more arrangements consist of various parts and movements.

At 38 minutes, it does this in a remarkably short span of time and creates a sensation of fluidity and hardly noticeable, floating changes. It is almost as if the lowercase elements of ubeboet’s previous work have been enriched and connected by a multitude of timbres. Which means that it may not be such a big departure from the original style as it seemed in the first place. Despite its more tangible character, the album still wants to be enjoyed in a silent place. Better wait for that truck to leave after all.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Ubeboet at MySpace
Homepage: Twenty Hertz

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