Recording 27 compositions named after the alphabetical letters “A” through “Z”, Buenos Aires musician Ulises Conti presents a new album for the good folks at Flau. The ambition of musically illustrating fantasias for piano only begin to describe Conti's album titled, Los Griegos creían que las estrellas eran pequeños agujeros por donde los dioses escuchaban a los hombres, translated in English as, The Greeks Believed That The Stars Were Small Holes Where The Gods Listened To Men.
Ulises' ability to find particular pitches and tones between the piano keys opens up volumes of possibilities. On “U”, the piano decay recites its melody through the gear turning pop and hiss from a distorted field sound take. The notes punch through in scales that pass and fade like salty sea air brought from the far oceanic reaches by inland floating clouds. Conti takes the most subtle nuances of how you understand the resonating notes, altering their ambient properties and tonal form. And while the twisting effects of the keys catch your fancy, an atmosphere of captured winds swirls on the tape like the scrambled coded whispers of ghosts traveling in the night.
Don't adjust your speakers as you arrive upon “X”, as the classic scratched compact disc sound, or digital fast-forwarded is tweaked to rhythmic effect. While the classical instruments can be heard crystallized in the ticking abstract loops; horn sounds, wood winds, synthesizers, and echoing hums fill the surrounding space in a big acoustic basin. The applied sped up digitized chopping of the instrumental sample spins like a hamster wheel in a bit-rate cage that the stringed sound inhabits. As the pinwheel progression of “X” keeps on rotating, it is the ever looming atmospheric elements that end up engulfing everything by the composition's conclusion. Below, see what Ulises had to say about his compositions and his earliest days at the piano.
Was this almost a way for you to perhaps create a new language with keys?
It´s just an attempt to modify the way of producing and listening to music. It wouldn't be fair for me to say I created a new language, I´ll leave that up to you.
What composers and instrumentalists have you found yourself enjoying lately?
Lately I became more of a sound hunter. Instead of listening to records, I’ll go around different cities and different spaces recording their particular sounds.
Advice for aspiring pianists?
Ulises Conti's new composition suite,The Greeks Believed That The Stars Were Small Holes Where The Gods Listened To Men, will be available June 22 from Flau.