Edith Alonso is a composer from Madrid. She began composing electroacoustic music when she discovered the concrète music and met composers such as François Bayle and Pierre Henry in Paris. She explores sounds in many processes always in an innovative way and changing of set frequently (electric prepared bass, analog & digital synths, laptop, circuitbending…). Interested in sound physical transformation and how they change our perception of reality. She never finishes of knowing herself and full of contradictions, likes city noise but needs always to travel to a desert area in Aragon to get away from the turmoil of the world.
Analog synthesizers: Korg Ms20, Moog Minitaur, Elektron Analog Keys.
Digital synth: Waldorf Blofeld.
The Greek word Χώρα (Khôra) with a lot of philosophical meanings is one of the inspirations of this work. Khôra could mean a « no man’s land » and it would also be like a receptacle, a space, a place; a matrix that put together all the matter that it is continuously in motion. Khôra is a travel into another world, far and unknown, where we find a desolate land.
However, it is possible to rise up and think that everything is possible, and as Icarus, try to touch the sun and get it. And this time, there will be no falling down.
Credits: Written, produced and performed by Edith AlonsoTracks. 3,4,5 recorded live at Sonikas Festival. Mastered at D & M by Rashad Becker. Cover by Almudena Villar.
Madrid-based electroacoustic producer, composer and sound artist Edith Alonso has spent the last twelve years releasing compositions on labels including Spanish Electroacoustic Music Association, and three years on from her debut album 'Collapse' on Aural Terrains this follow-up 'Χώρα' ('Khora') sees her crafting a collection that has calm and turmoil lurking equally at its heart.
The predominant theme throughout the six tracks gathered here leans towards darkly-tinged ambience, with Alonso using a comparatively stripped-down collection of analogue and digital synths to generate immersive and often claustrophobic soundscapes.
Opening track 'Qui merit l'éternité?' certainly sends chills down the spine from the very outset as deep sub-bass drops slowly ebb and swell like prowling beasts beneath layers of eerily humming treated harmonies and dubbed-out crashes, the funereal atmosphere that's generated calling to mind one of Lustmord's crypt-like explorations in infrasound.
After this forbidding opening, 'Nobody is waiting for you' takes things into seemingly brighter waters with its glittering ambient intro of slowly cycling synth sequences, but it soon proves to be a false dawn as the distorted electronics build into a rush of noise and zapping effects that suddenly dies away, only to be replaced by graceful church-like drones.
Elsewhere, 'Dreams at sea' opts for a different trajectory, its opening ambient section of darkwave synths and dripping noises giving way to a skyscraping rush of distorted shoegazer textures that alternately bleed forth and then caustically decay away, in what's easily this album's most widescreen offering, before 'Tears For Somebody' unfurls perhaps its most gentle composition as treated piano keys flicker and spark against the slow background crawl of swelling feedback, as things seem to drift down into a gauzy sense of slow motion. It's indicative of this consistently strong album, which offers numerous opportunities to hold the listener spellbound.
L’espagnole Edith Alonso compose des titres axés sur la perception du son, créant des paysages désolés aux variations monochromes.
Χώρα (Khôra) qui signifie no man’s land en grec, donne une assez juste définition de sa musique, prise dans des géographies désolées, sur lesquelles soufflent des vents chauds, chargés de poussière et de particules fines aux émanations grésillantes. Les atmosphères ambient au minimalisme rampant, nous catapultent dans des zones aux tensions retenues, où l’énergie se fait électrique, couvrant l’espace de vibrations menaçantes sans chercher à se faire explosives. A découvrir.
Work from this Spanish composer has been reviewed before, even when it was some time ago (Vital Weekly 899 for a solo release, and in 922 for a work she did with Anthony Maubert as Electric Landscapes Of Rebellion). Her new release is named after a Greek word with "a lot of philosophical meanings" and one of that is "no man's land", "a journey into another world, far and unknown, where we find a desolate land". To make that journey she packs up a Korg MS20, Moog minitaur, Elektron analogue keys and a Waldorf Blofeld. Oddly enough I had the impression at times here, that she also used a guitar, but I guess I'm wrong there. It is that wavering, sustaining sound that reminded me of Ashra Temple. On the whole, however, the music owes more to the world of drone music, dark ambient, a bit of cosmic music (in 'Nadie Te Espera') and electro-acoustic, even when the acoustic side of things plays no big role, I should think. Maybe a splash of field recordings here and there, but that's it.
Three of the six pieces are live recordings, which is something I would not have known if I had not looked on the cover. Usually, Alonso in her pieces goes for a dramatic build-up, coming from something silent up until something very loud, to calm down the proceedings towards the end. Each of these pieces is a small story, and while some of the structures are the same, the story is not the same. These stories are not to be understood in a literal way, but abstract. It is more like an abstract painting in sound; from a monochrome one to a variety of colours and shapes. It is all quite solid music and at thirty-four minutes also a bit on the short side for me. I would not have minded this to be a bit longer.
SULPONTICELLO: Nov 1, 2019
Living in Spain does not make things easy for creators. Even more so if they move in the margins and aesthetic instabilities. This is the case to affirm that Edith Alonso (Madrid, 1974) is one of the electronic composers most shrewdly connected with the here and now of the experimental composition. Sure, also less lavish. His new work, Χώρα , weaves a very fine thread that conglomerates the full weight of the electroacoustic tradition (from Henry to Bayle, from Oliveros to Dhomont) and, in turn, is positioned as a strictly contemporary composition that would fit so exemplary at the most outstanding experimental music festivals in Europe. Radio art, electroacoustic composition and even certain excursions in aDeeply personal and cavernous noise refers to Alonso as a composer capable of bringing the art of fixed sounds that Michel Chion invoked to the most sublimated degree.
Ismael G. Cabral: His new album, Χώρα (Truthtable), seems to point to a very remarkable aesthetic turn, as if trying a more organic sonic universe and even, we would say, kind ...
Edith Alonso: The work emerged from my concert at the Sonikas Festival (Madrid), in the winter of 2018. Χώρα means vague terrain, something like a no man's land . There are multiple influences in this work, most of them strictly literary. The sound matter is very volatile, it is always on the move, as if stating that all things are possible. And the travel idea, so close to so many creators, is also a consubstantial part of the album. Well ... I think, indeed, it is my job less noisy, noisy in quotes, of course. I propose a kind of trip in which we go to unknown, desolate terrain, with a certain mental reference to Stalker , by Andrei Tarkovski. Another connection is the question of eternity, thought from the book The possibility of an island , by Michel Houllebecq. “Who deserves eternity? We are walking but really what we crave is eternity. ”
IGC: It also opens timidly to the melody.
EA: Yes, there are some melodies and harmonies that I develop. And, in general, the display of sound is calmer than in other previous creations. It is a very intense CD, full of information, which in the live, is transformed, because I tend to extend more ideas, which are presented here more compressed.
IGC: An earlier work of his, Collapse (Aural Terrains), for prepared electric bass, can be heard today as a perfect aesthetic antagonist of Χώρα . Is changing registration a necessity?
EA: Although they can be seen a priori as two very distant works, for me they are not so much. In both there is a huge condensation of the material, there are many ideas displayed in the two pieces. This is something common to my way of composing. Even for me it is difficult to explain, but I always see that common thread that unites one composition and another. Because, even if you want to change radically, there are always things you take with you, that you keep and end up being embodied.
IGC: The electroacoustic composition has been marked for decades by the influence of its great initiators and also by the laboratories themselves. In recent years, a generation of composers who work outside this academy has also begun to hatch. Will both worlds get mixed up?
EA: I think so. He is right that for too many years accusative music has always rewarded the same style, that of a more articulated and canonically structured music. But at the present time we converge creators that, in some way, I think we unite both universes. Χώρα was scheduled this summer at the Futura Festival (Crest, France). And when I knew it until I was surprised, I am not sure that it is a purely accusative piece.
IGC: In fact it is the first one that has been conceived with multiple synthesizers...
EA: Yes, this album is the first one composed with them. Changing tools also changes the way you think about sound and, therefore, composing. One of the main problems of accusative music is the absence of spectacle. It is very difficult to get excited about the idea of a speaker concert. The public wants to see how music is made.
IGC: What is left in your current work of the teachings of your teacher, François Bayle?
EA: My dedication to the sound quality. I always try to make these very careful and precise. Bayle's accusative polyphony is also in my music. And, like him, I intend that in listening everything seems simple but, if you stop, you will see that the sound is very worked. I also made mine a fierce organization of events, everything is planned. And, as in Bayle, there is a descriptive eagerness, very subtle, but that is there. Of course in Χώρα it is very appreciable ... I spend many hours of my life listening to music. I have had a classic training although I lived rock and punk. In the new generations these mixtures are increasingly natural, they are more integrated. But when I studied it was problematic, conflictive at the mental level.
IGC: These reflections are not far from an already distant disc, and more circumscribed to radio art as Faces in the crowd (Luscinia).
EA: In the last piece of Χώρα , the sun has broken , there is hope. It is an optimistic (sound) message. And both in this work and in the album he refers to there is a certain social anchor, a belief in humanity ... I like records because I feel that each of them documents and ends a stage, it is a memory of nostalgia that remains there.