Ondureñas by Frédéric Nogray

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Frédéric Nogray | Ondureñas
Unfathomless (CD/DL)

It’s late night, and the cicadas are out making for a blend of peace and quiet. There’s a slight chill in the air, and other slight disturbances, maybe some kind of hen or other proud bird – but Punta Bujaja is rather haunted. Of course this blends well with the season. The gentle rustling of the wild has a strangely balanced stillness. There’s a single long drone note that plays like a line being drawn that fades in and out of perception, reverberating like a content feline. These two lengthy recordings on Parisian sound artist Frédéric Nogray‘s Ondureñas are all about location, traveling to peaks and valleys. His paced work stretches out over nearly thirty-three minutes, changing in the warmer light. The birds’ sweet songs start at the first sign of light and the pulsing nodes wallows away allowing the natural sounds to envelop the listener.  He explains:


Part 1
Unveiling another world, or when minute, minimal oscillations seem to drive us
beyond inhospitality, and asceticism, across the dense Vegetable,
towards some sort of feverish and creeping bliss…
Listening numbs, simultaneously enlivens, and seeks to be a rite of passage…
While more and more mindful of natural signals, of this tropical language,
getting lost is also better reunite…
Shrill chants, throbbing, intermingled with tiny analog emergences…
chants inviting to reach a something,
this rallying point as well as a caesura…

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Nogray not only takes you to this tropical universe (perhaps Central America, maybe Honduras), the ear is fully immersed in the in-situ experience, you are lost in the brush, chattering insects and wild calls. On Pico Bonitissimo the location has changed, there is still lots of outdoorsy spirit, as if you are on an exotic camping trip, but we are by a bubbling brook that seems to be keeping pace, smoothing the higher pitch of the outside world. It’s amazing when you think of the natural world in terms of pitch, but water most definitely has a calming effect on the goings-on here. My mastiff, who normally doesn’t seem so effected by the sounds I play, has payed a certain attention to this record, he’s alert and bright-eyed. Who knew field recordings could have such a value-added bonus. Seriously.

Aside from canine cunning, the soothing blend of chirping, squawking and rustling waterways – along with the embedded mostly background (but centered) sinewaves – makes for a subtle dilation in aural gradients. The artist has been known to play sizable quartz bowls, so that may likely be the cyclical sound as well. Nogray waxes poetically:


Part 2

Beyond Us, somewhat settled down bass modulations extend the bewitchment…
one is surely elsewhere, and so much here, in the comfort of acceptance…
however a non protected zone, an area of second breath, and liberation…

Stridences, howlings, random roar of insects, light lapping, bird serenades, the breath of jungle…

A unique goal, the sense of oblivion and awe…

And when oscillations come back, more circular, closer to what they underlie,
it is only a necessary obliteration…the surge of a shift… daydream and deliverance…


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And there you have it. A work that broadens our understanding of an ‘other’ location – one that brings about a semblance of the abundance of sound contained in nature, and how much we take for granted our personal space, peace and quiet. There’s a constant vibratory noise, wherever we are at all times, even in the most severe isolation. Nogray has found a special way to to help us better understand the wide birth of spatialization of earthen cultural studies. The very ending has him mimicking the outdoors. And it’s an awesome sound.

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