Boomkat Product Review:
Revelatory examination of Peru's experimental/avant garde scene compiled from private archival material and DIY cassettes - this mind-bending set melts together Andean, Afro-Peruvian and Amazonian cultural music into sounds derived from contemporary jazz and global experimental styles. Fully next level sounds, that connect pre-Hispanic folklore and mythology with studio trickery and aesthetic abstraction that still sounds completely fresh - we're so floored!
Anyone who heard Debit's recent "The Long Count" set and wants to explore further, "Territorio del Eco" is gonna be an essential listen. The collection is made up of music recorded between 1975 and 1989 by Peruvian musicians from a plethora of different backgrounds, arriving from jazz, pop music, visual arts, rock 'n roll and poetry to explore and deconstruct Andean folklore in a musical context. Inspired by jazz - and more importantly the genre's ability to use the recording studio as an instrument - the artists were able to abstract and elevate historical sounds, from microtonal pipe and gourd sounds to environmental recordings and rattling mountain rhythms, and insert them into radically new contexts. It's music that even three or more decades later sounds uncompromisingly daring and breaches an almost untouched part of the musical landscape.
Renowned poet Omar Aramayo, who grew up on Lake Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia, opens the side with 'Nocturno 1', a sparkling dilation of modern jazz, slippery electronics and woozy flutes that's snipped from his 1983-released private press cassette "Nocturno". It's a startlingly extant composition, that unfurls through environmental recordings of crickets and time-distorting pan flutes, shaker rhythms and buzzing oscillators that fragment our sense of past, present and future. Aramayo uses his synthesized elements in the most subtle ways, mirroring the pan flutes' curvaceous pitch and suggesting a deep-rooted longevity - and malleability - in Andean folk culture. When it fulminates in florid piano and gusty percussion, it sounds like distant cultures meeting head-on in atom-splitting intensity.
Manongo Mujica's 'Invocación' is equally revelatory - the Lima-born avant-garde legend was a member of Peruvian rock act The Mads, as well as experimental jazz quartet Perujazz, where he zig-zagged Peruvian traditional rhythms over modern jazz structures. 'Invocación' is a more abstract work, arriving with struck gongs and creeping through sprayed percussion and eerie, echoing pan flutes that scream from the mountains with powerful, expressive tonality. Freeform jazz and folk outsider Miguel Flores - whose "Primitivo" and "Lorca" sets are Buh Records essentials - provides the album's most charmingly bonkers moment with 'Llegué a Lima al atardecer', an acousmatic collapse of twanging psychedelic folk, prog-jazz drumming and traditional Peruvian splatter. It sounds like five YouTube windows playing at once, in the best possible way. His later 1979 composition 'Indio de la ciudad' is a little more straightforward, coolly piercing jazz-coded brass sounds with Andean microtonality.
Film composer, journalist and multi-instrumentalist Luis David Aguilar juxtaposes moonlit synth arpeggios and analog blasts with hollow percussion and multi-voice flutes, and jazz pianist, accordion player and musique concréte pioneer Arturo Ruiz del Pozo finishes things off with a lengthy fusion of rosy-cheeked modern jazz and pitch-fucked electronics, that decomposes into syrupy, resonant drones before it sputters to a close. Fully light years ahead of its time and another buy-on-sight release from the Buh stable, "Territorio del Eco" provides a periscope into Peru's cultural landscape and documents a meeting point between folklore and technology, as well as the input of progressive global influences. It's music that sounds bright, propulsive and naturally exploratory, and it should help us understand elements that continue to drop away at a time of always-online digital expression.
If you're into Stroom, Rune Grammofon, Discrepant et all, yer gonna need to hear this one.