Felipe Otondo ‘Night Studies’


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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…


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