Boomkat Product Review:
Room 40 follow last year's "Echos+" stunner with a new collection of work from octogenarian Argentinian composer Beatriz Ferreyra, showcasing her exceptional psychedelic electronics, apocalyptic concrète experimentation and disorienting synth wandering.
Since joining the GRM in 1963 and appearing alongside Pierre Schaeffer and Guy Riebel on 1967’s ’Solfège De L’Objet’, Ferreyra has divided her time between educational functions and developing a style of free concrete composition that generally lay below the radar of most but the keenest ears until Recollections GRM brought her work to wider attention in 2015. 'GRM Works' surveyed more than 50 years of enchanted ideas, and her legacy has continued to extend into the public domain through these beautiful Room 40 editions that do much to contextualise her work inside and outside GRM's hallowed canon.
Canto+ picks up more or less where Echos+ left off, opening with 1974’s 'Canto del loco’ - a 13-minute passage into the characteristic sound of monophonic oscillators, here overlaid with concrète echoes and distortion. 2009's 'Pas de 3 ... ou plus' dials back the synths in favor of pure concrète alchemy, with taped hisses and wordless syllables pushing on the dimensional membrane, echoing the vanguard work of Ferreyra's GRM contemporaries Luc Ferrari and Bernard Parmegiani, while 'Jingle Bayle's' makes a direct nod to the era, paying tribute to electroacoustic titan François Bayle with its acousmatic weirdness.
1971's 'Etude aux sons flegmatiques' is another lengthy high-point, as Ferrarya commands wavey feedback drones, juxtaposing disharmonic tones to fabricate a glassy, psychedelic microcosm. It's important material, not just because Ferrarya began creating at a time when this kind of experimentation was rare, but because she approaches heady, academic themes with a level of creative wonder and a pure love of sound-shaping that lends her work longevity and energy.
As we mentioned with the release of Echos+, Ferreyra’s decades-long work finds strong corollaries in our mind with everything from Joan La Barbara to Björk, Teresa Winter to Luc Ferrari, and places her among the unsung voices of her pioneering generation. Without her experimentation and groundwork, it's hard to imagine the fertile creative landscape that inspired artists like Keith Fullerton Whitman or Jim O’Rourke to venture into modular and tape music excursions - despite the scant attention her work received until recent years. ‘Canto+’ is an important archival document, but also a vital portrait of a still-daring composer at her most inventive.