Viaje by Roland Bucher

Roland Bucher | Viaje
Hallow Ground (LP/DL)

From Swiss composer Roland Bucher comes his latest entitled Viaje (translates into travel). This record was developed for noise table, developed by Bucher, where he manipulates objects via granular synthesis sampler. The results are somewhere between strange, pulsating drone work and abstract music concrete. Since most of the sounds are created by way of small movements there is something kin to using the theremin here, although altogether not within the same ranging pitch. It’s a form of body music where the deft hands and instantaneous decision-making play a critical role in the outcome.

As opener Acamar attests, there’s something quite feral, brusquely acclimating to its terrain. The listening experience is bathed in the senses, touched by the tangible, a very physical sound that is not too noisy, and far from settled. Bucher’s sound is one that burrows in an uncertain sense of unrest, as heard in the bird squelches and other animal noises of Curinanco, all pointing back to its title, and to the musician’s South American travels. Though much of this is supposedly improvised, it has a stellar assuredness, something familiar that leads its followers (listeners) into the unknown. Though the artist really seems to have captured his version of events as delivered in a mirage of warm and flexi-percussion – as released (like a pack of hounds) on the daring flourishes of Ircan. Like the tension of wild beasts and/or a junkyard being runover by a tractor, his is an animated world ready to implode.

The final two works, Praecipua and Cau-Cau, showcase another side of Bucher. In a rounded set of gradations for the cerebral listener, the slowed down mood seems far more germane, even emotional. It’s not a 360° turn, not even half that, but blends well with his previous gravity-defying outbursts. On the closer (Cau-Cau) the nodes drop further into a broken hybrid of micro-ambient colored by various ‘table-play’ actions and outputs. Here a disembodied voice enters for the first time, if only briefly, to keep things quite haunting.

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