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TheLocusOf 017 . 2007

Miguel Tolosa, mastermind behind the excellent Con-V label and a renowned creator of environmental soundscapes, used recordings that he made in Madrid and Asturias to present us with a 3-inch CD of engulfing urban din wrapped by a cocoon of infinite distant roars, like if the familiar noises (including men at work, traffic, rain and everything that can be heard during an average day in the city) were elongated, dilated, expanded by inserting them into a perennial thunder-and-wind reverberation as heard from a very long distance that swallows their primary identity. The whole track, lasting around 18 minutes, is based on this sensation of relative oppression that nevertheless results well accepted, almost desirable to the ears. When the piece ends, we experience the typical feeling of “missing a presence” that was mysterious and impenetrable, therefore fascinating with all the doubts that it generated. As I repeatedly state when writing about this kind of music, inventing something with pre-existent sounds is fairly easy nowadays. For sure, it’s not so simple to make it sound as good as this one.

(massimo ricci, touching extremes)

This CD-R by Madrid based artist and con-v label boss Ubeboet is devoted to a single 18 minute piece. The source material for Albada comes mainly from field recordings - the Madrid underground system, urban tunnels, rain, rocks in the Asturias region of northern Spain - though Ubeboet also adds some instrumentation: bowed steel guitar and small percussive objects recorded in the studio. It's a warm toned gradually developing piece that sets low end drone content against sporadic smaller incidents: elengantly isolated clonks, scrapes and hiss. The piece does well to position the incidents of 'natural' and processed sound within a composition that is always on the verge of pure sound. Such combinations can sound jarring or contrived, but Ubeboet gets a long way through his light touch and ear for detail. When rain begins to fall 12 minutes into the piece, it's beautifully placed, bathing the underlying subterranean rumble in a wash hiss that continues until the end of the composition.

(will montgomery, the wire . feb.2008)

Miguel Tolosa once more emerges from behind the Con-V label to adopt his Ubeboet persona for his contribution to Locus Of's mini-assemblage series. Each teeny-weeny CDR in this series is a treasure trove of delight for drone enthusiasts and this is no exception. Tolosa takes the listener on a diving sleigh ride of sound, pulling and nudging the sounds into a bewildering array of shapes and puzzles that he then forces us to negotiate. His primordial roar cossets and buffets and pounds and submerges sounding very much like the soundtrack to all the documentaries about volcanoes I watched as a kid. You can feel the power and the ferocity contained within these sounds but the simple and organic way in which Tolosa handles his material allows it to maintain a naturalistic cohesion that is often lost in recordings of this type. Hugely recommended.

(Wonderful Wooden Reasons mag.)

On my first exposure to the work now under review, I found myself conceiving of what I heard in terms of a huge contrast in atmosphere with the two previous outing unleashed by Ubeboet this year: his ‘Lux Eterna’ contribution to the Extract compilation, and the Spectra release on Twenty Hertz. Where the latter works seemed to almost explicitly hark back to the tradition of medieval spiritual music, this release under review seems rather more explicitly propelled by the “death-drive” of 2006’s Duae (with Pablo Reche).

A strangely eventless happening - time itself becoming something of a non-event whilst listening to this release - wholly lacking in any evident narrative structure or graspable sonic texture; whilst on the other hand this could just as well be the sonification of one absolutely random, absolutely meaningful event, granulated and spatio-temporally reconstructed – perhaps one single heartbeat (or a dying breath) as heard through a 4-d stethoscope.

Thus lacking just about any figurativity whatsoever, this new work by Ubeboet leaves much to be imagined. Only tangentially rustled by the sonic contents of this release, the sensorium is massaged by psychic vibrations spanning geological and cultural strata. The resultant experience is directly related to the drama of time and eternity, of life and death, of being and not being, of human and inhuman, of organic and inorganic, of spirit and matter. There is a pulse, an air, a current, a stream which is magnified to mythical proportions wherein stasis and kinesis, the roaring ocean and industrial bustle become equivalent events.

Notwithstanding the difference in ‘atmosphere’ with his two previous outings, there is a sense in which this work can be seen as standing in line with these recent works: this work, in contrast to Ubeboet's earlier work, can be unequivocally deemed an ambient piece. Excavated of any concrete reference whatsoever, the fundamentally undefinite is all that remains; and the mastery of Ubeboet is to have actually given form to that undefinitivity.

(larry a. johnson, earlabs)