espectro by Juan José Calarco

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Juan José Calarco | espectro
Impulsive Habitat (DL)

Argentinian field recordist Juan José Calarco has just released his fifth full length solo recording since 2007 under the title espectro via netlabel Impulsive Habit. If you don’t know them, I highly recommend checking this South American collective out here. The title translates to ‘spectrum’ although from the gloomy industrial images (©Cristian Espinoza) one might think this record is focused solely on the darker effects of man on our natural resources and environment as a whole.


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Calarco’s sound sources are from shortwave and LF radio transmissions, which are combined and mixed into this tremendously listenable aural collage. You may think you are locked in a space capsule high above the Earth gathering data transmissions from alien life. The four tracks here are simply numbered I through IV and pretty much flow into each other with ease. The twitchy signals, like abstract electrodes offer everything from muffled voices to soft patter (not unlike a distant chopper). It reminds me of the paranormal phenomenon of EVP to a certain extent.


1. noun. Phantom, Ghost, Spectre (image of a dead person). 2. noun. (Physics). An array of entities, as light waves, sound waves (like radio-frequency) or particles, ordered in accordance with the magnitudes of a common physical property, as wavelength or mass. Graphic representation of a spectrum.

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The tonalities, though from purely industrial sources, are some form of sorcery, like a quirky magic trick or hypnosis. His use of soundwaves is inscribed such a way as if he’s conducting electricity itself. And he’s doing so by layering repeating tones and low-range static to counteract each other. It’s a unique approach.

In the final stretch you can barely make out a single word, though it sounds as if a human voice is embedded in these frequencies, trying to reach out to anyone on the other end. But a glaze of white-noise infused static engulfs the transmission with a grayscale spectrum of shading growing more voluminous by the moment – perhaps this dusky resonance is the espectro….


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