In the traditional music of Latin American countries maracas appear almost exclusively as percussion ‘exclamation points’ – you can hear them in cadences and accented parts of measure. An exception is music from the plains of Venezuela where the maracas often play on their own, becoming solo instruments instead of rhythm markers. Such an emancipation of the Venezuelan cooing instruments inspired Javier Alvarez when he began to think of a song whose performer would need to master short rhythmic structures in order to combine them together in a masterly manner, thus creating more complex systems to be compiled, imposed or juxtaposed with their mirror reflections captured on tape. The whole would create a dense poly-rhythmic network. The result was the composition entitled Temazcal (in the ancient Aztec language, ‘water that burns’).
Misa tiniebla by Guillaume Contré is built as a musical exploration of an impossible to define place. A place that may be empty, a place that may be blurry, a place that may be sacred. It may also be the sonic description of an ancient rite of some sort. Musically, it is built on tension, a tension that never resolves itself, or that may find a resolution in a symbolized chaos, a fiction. The listener dives here in an autistic landscape, lost in a repetition that is hypnotizing yet uncomfortable. A certain violence may lie beneath.