Nothing here is what it seems cs413

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Il sodalizio fra i 23RedAnts (Macarena Montesinos al violoncello e Niet F-n all’elettronica) e il chitarrista Pablo Orza ha funzionato talmente bene che i tre si ritrovano insieme anche per questo nuovo lavoro licenziato dalla prestigiosa Creative Sources (che per l’occasione sfodera una copertina davvero splendida). Probabilmente è proprio il voler saggiare questa coesione che spinge il gruppo a non accontentarsi di ripetere quanto di buono fatto in precedenza ed avventurarsi su terreni più impervi: quando l’improvvisazione non è semplicemente un modo di suonare ma un’attitudine. I ragazzi amano dunque il rischio e infatti Nothing Here Is What It Seems è un album piuttosto diverso e decisamente più difficile di Red Night: ne riprende i lati più ostici e spigolosi, i rumori e i suoni stridenti e li rimonta in un quadro espressionista e minimale dove l’ascoltatore non è più osservatore esterno (per quanto partecipe) ma viene a trovarsi al centro del flusso sonoro. Certi micro-suoni, certe basse frequenze che si espandono e contraggono nel silenzio suggerirebbero quasi l’ascolto in cuffia ma ciò farebbe torto alla fisicità che il gruppo esprime, all’idea qui evidente che il suono debba raggiungerci non solo attraverso le orecchie: è dunque un disco da ascoltare ad alto volume, accettando al limite che qualcosa dell’ambiente circostante possa interagire con esso. Se si esclude la conclusiva Manipulados, molto bella nel mettere in scena dramma e rabbia in un’atmosfera densa ma un po’ avulsa dal resto dei brani, Nothing Here… si caratterizza per una struttura minimale dove i rumori concreti hanno pari dignità dei suoni prodotti dagli strumenti (che raramente suonano…come dovrebbero) e insieme incidono nello spazio/silenzio dei segni/suoni che vanno letti e interpretati. Non è facile e – lo ammetto – nel momento in cui scrivo ancora non ne sono venuto completamente a capo, ma che sia così è evidente fin dal primo ascolto: nulla è lasciato al caso, ogni elemento è soppesato e inserito nel contesto non grazie alla semplice scrittura ma a un perfetto affiatamento fra i protagonisti. Quello che ne esce non è incasellabile in alcun genere e per certi versi anche il termine “musica” gli va stretto: i tre creano ambienti (non ambient, beninteso) apparentemente noti ma resi con tratto talvolta dal sapore ruvidamente meccanico, altre freddamente alieno come solo degli insetti saprebbero fare. Ecco, questa potrebbe essere una delle chiavi di lettura: come gli strumenti che sentiamo non assomigliano mai a loro stessi anche i musicisti, nel pieno dell’atto creativo, potrebbero diventare altro. Nulla qui è quello che sembra per l’appunto. Emiliano Zanotti (Sodapop)

An interesting title to begin with. The situation of feeling like an extraneous body in a system that works according to peculiar principles. Or, in a more “mental” acceptation, the priceless condition of being completely delivered from fatuous intellectual dimensions, entirely immersed within unfamiliar sounds that blur whatever distinction one might want to apply to their perception. Macarena Montesinos, Niet F-n and Pablo Orza really don’t give a damn about getting recognized as “instrumentalists”; at least, not in the ordinary sense. For them, dissonance is just a means to arrive at the core of meaning. It’s an anticoagulant against the cerebral blood clots that stop the processes of deep discernment, as opposed to the need of talking without a reason.
As it frequently happens with Creative Sources, everything is comprehensively exposed in a restricted time span. Five tracks, circa 33 minutes: that’s all it takes. At first we were led to reflect on Asmus Tietchens’ evisceration of the minimum, a process of exploitation of small particles of sound snatching strange luminescences from the jaws of bitterness. As the music spreads around the listener realizes that each move implies a psychoacoustic consequence: alteration becoming necessity, apparent disorder turned into exact engineering. Suddenly you locate the correspondences that render a jumble of pitch, noise, upper partial and rumble as a coherent integrity. The trio’s emaciated polyphonies warrant a chance for the mind to fill the cracks of non-knowledge with the implicit calmness brought by a correct intuition; indulgence and luxury are all but abolished. The immediate acceptance of this unique jargon repels the intolerance for the “certainties” still wished by primitive audiences in front of an improvisional act.
In other words, those who intend to walk barefoot can’t be stopped by the glass shards on the floor. Massimo Ricci (Touching Extremes)

If I understand correctly, 23RedAnts is a duo of Niet F-n, from Italy, who plays electronics and  Macarena Montesinos from Spain on cello. The first also plays solo as Ranter's Bay and works in  theatrical performances where the second has a background in jazz music and free improvisation. 
Here they work together with one Pablo Orza from Spain, also with a background in free  improvisation and who plays guitar, voice and objects. Many of the releases by Creative Sources  Recordings are recorded on a single night, more often than not unedited, but in this case the five  pieces here I believe there were recorded over a longer period of time, or perhaps 'live in studio', but  on different dates. It says 'recorded in Galicia, Spain, between 2014-2016'; so whatever it is. In all  of these five pieces they carefully explore their instruments and perhaps at times it was all a bit too  careful for my taste, but maybe also because it was quite conventional in approach. The feedback  like sound of 'Why Do You Say That?' may be piercing, along with the scraping of the two string  instruments, but it is not something you haven't heard before (well, providing you listen to music  that is reviewed in these pages). The treatments of the instruments are not too radical, and one  easily recognizes the guitar and cello, even when they are played with objects. I am not sure what  the role of Niet F-n is in all of these, but it seems to me he adds colouring to the instruments 
through the use of sound effects (reverb, delay), plus perhaps all of this culminating in some  drone matter. It is all together a pretty decent affair of conventional instruments and electronics  improvising together, in which the three players have a lot of respect towards each other but also  avoid taking the risks, I think. It could have used a bit spice I think. F W (Vital Weekly)

Nothing Here Is What It Seems [cs413] is the latest installment in the ongoing collaboration between the Spanish duo 23 Red Ants—cellist Macarena Montesinos and Niet F-n on laptop, pedals and objects – and Galician guitarist Pablo Orza. The three have played together since 2012; an early co-creation from that year is documented on the Pan y Rosas release .escap.ism, which shows an aggregate sound made up of discrete parts that retain their underlying identity. In contrast to this earlier work, on Nothing Here… the group tend to favor a more totalized sound in which the individual voices voluntarily fuse into a predominantly unpitched, composite whole. The guitar and cello in particular largely abandon their signature sounds, although on occasion the cello is recognizable in traces of natural harmonics and the pull of the bow; likewise, what we might call the guitarishness of the guitar will suddenly surge up in the twang of a plucked string. Although in some respects a more aggressive release than .escap.ism—the last track, notably, the appropriately titled Manipulados, is carved out of feedback and hard-edged electronics with harsh textures--on Nothing Here…some passages import a sly subtlety by being reduced to a handful of sounds broken up by silent interstices. Daniel Barbiero (Percorsi Musicali)