Marco Scarassatti | Cuatro crónicas acerca de la ciudad y la ancestralidad
Buh Records (CS/DL)
In these ‘four chronicles about the city and ancestry‘ (Egungun pasea por la “Serra”; Viento; Ritual y Deriva + Las historias sobrepuestas de Valparaiso) Brazilian sound artist Marco Scarassatti presents a collision and/or tipping on its side perspective of employing “field recordings, sound dérives and interaction with local musicians, participating in guided improvisations using both conventional and traditional South American instruments.” The result is stunning, albeit brief (under a half hour).
Scarassatti combines distant dog barks, mid-ground chirping, and what sounds as if they are whacking their way through a rainforest with a machete. But that can’t be true as you can hear the brakes of large vehicles like buses, and other urban unrest. The setting is unsettled. This is a good thing because, in fact, it causes that sensory displacement that separates this from a mere document or the myth of cinema.
The buzzing, beeping and other squirming percussion make for a quizzical modern day lounge music, without rhythmical impulses per se. Instead we are left with a contemporary transcription of various circumstances laid atop one another in layers that melt into each other without edges or delineation. Peaks and valleys drop in and out of this surreal soundscape, particularly when wind instruments enter the setting. A Cage-ian improv broken and pieced back together in a rather warm way – coming off much more like a local jam session than something overtly esoteric. Midway through it sounds either as though they are tearing into their instruments in a machine shop, or we are backstage at a Sonic Youth show circa the early 90s. This leads to the disharmony of some abandoned front porch twang.
This tape dares move in many directions, keeping the listener widely off course most of the time, but when you are connected, the fit is snug.