Boomkat Product Review:
Issued for the first time on vinyl, the great poet of musique concrète Luc Ferrari limns a sensory immersion into the streets of Madrid on ‘L’escalier des aveugles’, a radio play commissioned for Spain’s national radio and broadcast in 1991 as part of the ‘European Day Of Music’ programme
As the 8th release on Mana, the label helmed by both Blowing Up The Workshop’s Matthew Kent and British Library curator Andrea Zarza, Ferrari’s rich evocation of a Madrilenian night keeps the label's remit nicely open-ended, following releases from the Japanese avant-garde and techno’s leftfield in 2018.
Ferrari methodically worked with the commissioner, José Iges, then director of Ars Sonora on Spanish National Radio, to select La “Cuesta de los Ciegos” (the Staircase of the Blind), a flight of 254 descending steps that join Calle Segovia and Calle de la Morería, as his locus of investigation. Historically named after the blind musicians who played and begged for alms on the steps, it provides a uniquely transitional space or platform for Ferrari to symbolically render his magick around the notion, “Radio, by nature, is blind… how do we enter the stairs of the blind?”
Together with a number of female voices sourced from theatrical backgrounds, Ferrari lead us up and down the stairs, with the sound of clacking heels and the tip-tap of a white cane providing a subtle leitmotif that winds between the voices, occupying multiple roles as guide, translator, commentator and actress. Layered with electronics and cut with sharp fades-to-black that connote the blind experience, the results are a feast for the senses, most nimbly treading the line between waking and dream life, and with a sensual subtlety akin to the memory-jogging quality of perfume, or the balmy fragrance of citrus fruits on a warm evening.