Beatriz Ferreyra turned 84 this yr and remains to be composing music – dense, immersive sound sculptures – because the final surviving member from the sphere of mid-Twentieth-century pioneers that included the likes of Edgard Varèse and Pierre Henry. She was born in Argentina however has spent the final six many years in France, the place she relocated in 1961 to review with Nadia Boulanger and György Ligeti. Like many émigré composers primarily based in Paris at the moment – amongst them Stockhausen and Xenakis – Ferreyra was drawn into the orbit of Pierre Schaeffer, who was creating experimental montages of found sound utilizing tape manipulation and calling it musique concrète.
It’s tempting to see Ferreyra as a Parisian Delia Derbyshire – each girls in a male-dominated scene, each playfully exploring musique concrète as half of experimental collectives that made movie and TV themes (the place Derbyshire was half of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Ferreyra joined Schaeffer’s cabal, Groupe de Recherches Musicales). However a brand new anthology of Ferreyra’s work, Canto+, reveals how way more intense her “acousmatic” music could be.
She initially needed to be a visible artist and there’s a painterly rigour to her compositions, that are made by reducing and splicing tape, recording random city sounds, altering their speeds, and modifying and distorting them till the sources change into fairly intentionally unidentifiable. On 1974’s Canto del Loco (Mad Man’s Track), stray sounds are divided into quick fragments and jerkily sped up till they type a gradual pulse. The nine-minute Pas de 3 … Ou Plus, from 2009, splices collectively fragments of sped-up conversations till they resemble the rapid-fire vocals of an Indian vocal percussionist or a beatboxer. Musique concrète is commonly extra attention-grabbing to debate than truly hearken to, however there’s a curious magnificence to some of Ferreyra’s work: distended screeches, drones and ambient hums which are cleverly assembled in order that they gently throb and glisten fairly hypnotically.
Additionally out this month
A recent of Ferreyra’s was the British composer Peter Zinovieff, who died final month, aged 88. He’s finest referred to as a synth pioneer, however his last work, South Pacific Migration Party, is a half-hour piece of musique concrète that filters, distorts, manipulates and transforms blue whale noises into an ambient symphony, a sequence of shifting drones, watery burbles and paranoid pulsations. Simulacra (launched 13 August, Heat Winters) is an excellent mini-album by the German-Icelandic trio Minua, who use assorted woodwind devices, modular synths, bass guitars and Bavarian zithers – generally tuned to unorthodox pure temperaments – to create thick, impasto layers of slow-moving sound that utterly command your consideration. Dan Nicholls is a multi-instrumentalist finest recognized for his densely written jazz tasks with the likes of Shabaka Hutchings and Matt Calvert, however his new album, Mattering and Meaning (We Jazz Information, 13 August), sees him digitally mutilating recordings of him enjoying an upright piano, and overlaying them with burbling electronica and ambient drones to create one thing aquatic, immersive and magical.