Felipe Otondo ‘Night Studies’


SKU: 5065001338823 Category:


A journey through real and imaginary nocturnal soundscapes.
The three pieces included in this album, Otondo’s follow-up to his 2013 release with Sargasso ‘Tutuguri’, were composed between 2013 and 2017 using sound samples of percussion instruments and field recordings carried out in Chile, England, Kenya and Mexico. The album was constructed as an aural journey through real and imaginary nocturnal soundscapes using as a timbral framework the wide palette of tonal and percussive sounds of the Javanese gamelan orchestra. Although there are many darker, atmospheric ambient moments throughout these 3 works, the presence of powerful rhythmic percussive elements takes the listener on some rollercoaster rides. One is sometimes reminded of artists such as Jon Hassell or the Holger Czukay and David Sylvian collaborations, but this is a very personal and unified collection of shifting, cinematic sonic night-cruises. The pieces included in this album have received various international composition prizes, among which are the 2016 Città di Udine (Italy), 2016 Computer Space (Bulgaria), 2013 Musica Nova (Czech Republic) and SYNC 2013 (Russia). Felipe Otondo (1972) studied composition at the University of York in England with Ambrose Field and Roger Marsh, focusing on electroacoustic composition and experimental theatre. His music has been played in festivals in more than 30 countries across Asia, Europe, North and South America. Felipe is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Acoustics at Universidad Austral in Chile.
  1. Night Study 1 (9:59) 
  2. Night Study 2 (9:44) 
  3. Night Study 3 (8:56)
Also available as downloads: Felipe Otondo - Night Studies
  1. Sandra Elizabeth González

    En las tres obras del CD night studies creadas por el compositor chileno Felipe Otondo, los timbres de percusión discursan a través de episodios contrastantes, generando un constante devenir de tiempos estriados a lisos. Las secciones con timbres del registro medio al grave evocan en mayor medida los paisajes nocturnos auténticos e imaginarios evidenciados por el compositor. El amplio registro tímbrico y la combinación de texturas empleadas sumados al interesante manejo de la espacialidad, otorgan interés al presente trabajo. El dinamismo, la riqueza tímbrica y el potencial sonoro que identifica la sucesión de eventos, nos permite percibir las tres obras como un viaje imaginario que nos transporta por las noches de distintos países. El final de cada obra sugiere que la noche evocada llega a su fin, conduciéndonos a la siguiente.

  2. Alejandro Albornoz

    The works released in this album navigate in a reach ocean of spectral content, where resonating bodies cohabit with electronic materials and field recordings; sometimes the boundaries between these sounds are not clear, in fact, despite the natural impulse of assign a source to a given sound (‘source bonding’ according to Smalley) and the clear presentation of sounds that suggest specific images of the real world, the preeminent aspect for the listener is the structure, the abstract design of sections, articulations, transitions, mesostructures and finally the shape of the pieces and the complete cycle. The pieces move between the acousmatic language and the presence of sonic patterning by means of rhythmic blocks in addition to fluctuations of pitches; these sonic materials, are precisely very referential, since they are constituted by rhythmic constructions obtained from the gamelan orchestra; besides the ‘realistic’ aspect presented, the gamelan orchestra instruments provide not only the sonic elements in terms of recognisable percussive patterns, but in addition in terms of a spectral ‘signature’; this ‘signature’ is a wide collection of colours that the composer spread over the stereo field through the characteristic acousmatic procedures of juxtaposition, filtering, cut/paste and spatial composition.

  3. Macarena Harnecker

    An hypnotic sequence of 3 compositions that weaves
    contrasting and harmonic sources into a unique auditive scene where each track
    flows into another invoking in some way a feeling of lucid dream.
    Night Studies undoubtedly feels like an intimate, magical and imaginative narration through sound.

  4. Daniel

    Review: A Closer Listen
    Five years have passed since Chilean composer Felipe Otondo released Tutuguri, but there’s no mistaking his sound. The sounds of the Javanese gamelan orchestra, collected during his many travels, are given a gloss that is distinctly his. The smoothness of Otongo’s timbres are in sharp contrast to the roughness of Sekar DMN, whose recently reviewed self-titled debut delves into drone and noise, and to the quiet ambience of Loren Nerell, who buries the gamelan beneath waves of crickets and other natural sounds. For pure, upfront gamelan, we recommend Gamelans Padhang Moncar & Taniwha Jaya‘s dueling orchestra album Naga, a great starting point for anyone interested in the instrument. But for a modern exploration of the instrument’s sonic properties, we recommend Night Studies.
    Read more…


  5. Daniel

    Review from musiquemachine.com :
    Felipe Otondo is a Chilean composer of electro-acoustic music who studied composition in England and is currently teaching at the Universidad Austral in Chile. Most of his previous output has involved performances of music theatre. This relatively short CD, his first recorded collection according to the sleeve notes, is constructed as an aural journey through real and imaginary nocturnal soundscapes. The sound palette is formed of sampled percussion (Javanese gamelan orchestra) and field recordings made at several global locations. As if to emphasise the meeting of cultures and locations, each of the three studies is prefaced in the sleeve with a short literary quote on the subject of night. The first from Chilean poet and novelist Roberto Bolano, the second from Carmelite friar John of the Cross and finally the well-known English author Virginia Woolf.
    The first study begins in hushed fashion with the sampled gamelan’s rhythmic and tonal variations seemingly submerged or in the distance. Quickly, the soundscape opens up and we’re treated to a complex arrangement of field recordings and delicate layers of percussion. On one side deep glowering gongs, time stretched and modulated into drones, hover above the sounds of cars passing through the night. Then a more urgent rhythm starts up driving away the drones but leaving tinkling tones from the hammered keys or other metal instruments sampled from the gamelan orchestra. Otondo’s composition displays that style of counterpoint in electronic music pioneered by Stockhausen that layer sounds in such a way as their addition and removal serves to reveal or obscure other tonalities and timbres.

    The second Night Study makes good use of granular sampling and processing techniques to transform the sounds of the gamelan orchestra into rumbling, throbbing waves and sudden atonal bursts. Otondo injects a good deal of tension into the restrained use of these techniques, never crossing too far over into artifice, which maintains these composition’s overall organic feel. When he does let go, what occurs are subtle tonal shifts and gear changes in the percussive intensity. Field recordings are used even more sparingly here. If they appear at all it’s as a kind of dynamic seasoning, adding a extra spacial level into which the percussive and tonal play is staged.

    The final Night Study is prefaced by a quote from Virginia Woolf: “Melancholy were the sounds on a winter’s night”. Although I wouldn’t describe any of the music on night Studies as melancholic, Otondo does succeed on this final piece of adding a certain mystery or yearning which could be compared to that yearning for the lost object characteristic of melancholia. The field recordings return, adding a clearer stage setting upon which the hammered tones of the gamelan instruments are at times wrought into bell and chime like sounds. One might visualise a metal wind chime hanging outside a remote house, a light breeze in the air as traffic passes in the distance. A person lies awake listening to the sounds of the night, transformed by their imagination into wild and mysterious spectres of times past. Passages of frantic percussion are suddenly broken by harmonic drones opening up the composition for the passing of a car. These are liminal dreams where the normal rules of time and space are suspended. And like a strange dream Otondo’s Night Studies linger in the mind long after it has ended.

  6. Daniel

    Review from Assymetry Music Magazine:
    This is Felipe Otondo’s second album, the long awaited sequel to Tutuguri, from 2013. Anyone who already had Tutuguri has doubtless already bought Night Studies, probably several months ago, that’s how out-of-date this review is. (And that’s how eager Otondo fans were to get his next album.) But reviews aren’t really for people who already own what’s being reviewed, but for people who have yet to buy them. For those people, I would first say “buy Tutuguri. If you love your ears, buy Tutuguri.” As you know, Asymmetry Music Magazine was almost completely destroyed last year, and as time goes by, the articles that used to populate its pages will begin, slowly, to reappear. Since these two albums by Otondo are related, this seemed a good time to repost Asymmetry’s review of the first album. I would write it differently today. I would try to be more accurate in describing the sounds, and I would praise it more highly. But that’s as may be.

    The first thing I thought when I first listened to Night Studies was that I was in a familiar sound world, one I knew already from having been listening to Tutuguri over the past five years. And while it is true that there are similar sounds, similar phrases, and similar uses of percussion, subsequent listens will convince you, I am sure, that the three night studies are quite remarkably different from any of the four pieces that make up Tutuguri. Not better, different. And different is, of course, a very good thing in a composer, I think. I also am sure that once you’ve gotten a copy of both, you will be twice as happy as you were before you had neither.

    I’m only offering one clip from Night Studies, the first two minutes of the first one, but I will say that if I were so inclined, I could give you a detailed study (as it were) of how cunningly and intricately these three pieces are connected to each other. You can easily hear all that for yourselves, and I’m sure that if you buy one of these discs, you will also buy the other, and so will easily hear how clearly the two albums are related—and how vastly different they are. Otondo is a genuinely fresh voice and has something genuinely new to say in each piece he writes.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *