MYSTERY SEA 70 | Carlos Villena | [Sensacions Desplaçades]


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Sitting in a chair,
relaxing in the wings of a bird,
I see the dark horizon,
smelling the wave...

The storm will be soon here.

No words, no requiem, only ghosts coming from there...

I feel something strange...just displaced sensations...

- Carlos Villena (as edited by Daniel Crokaert), June 2011


From seething Barcelona, Carlos Villena is a multidisciplinary artist both versed in music & graphic design... he has done quite a lot of performances with other experimental musicians... Most of his released works so far were either solos or splits (with for instance, Francisco López, Z'ev, Cornucopia, Freiband, Jan Kees Helms...) on his own immaculate label, Mantricum. He also had a very well received 3"cd-r on Ephre Imprint... Working on the combined fringes from many genres, Carlos has clearly a talent in shaping engaging & hallucinating "movies" for the ear... demanding, but ultimately gripping environmental ambiences...

A flock of birds, a pool of clouds...
ribbons in shreds fluttering in the wind,
old grazed wood,
roaring voices in the distance,
passing cars...

The night is flowing, pace is changing...
memories turn to dust...

We start feeling differently,
non linear, oblique ways of perception,
abolishing time...

A blurred world full of tangents,
"Sensacions Desplaçades" wraps us in a gauze,
a reverbered haze,
just to make us see deeper within things...


01. Sensacions Desplaçades




CDR ltd to 100 numbered copies


VITAL WEEKLY 792|Frans De Waard   --- NEW !
Best known for his work with his own label Mantricum, Carlos Villena also composes his own music, using field recordings and shortwave sounds. For his 'Sensacions Desplaçades' he sticks his microphone outside but not really in the water, as we should think is somewhat required with this label. Its a work that has a flow however, perhaps alike water, but it seems less based on composition principles and more about going with the flow of the recording that is the background drop of it. I have no idea what that is, but it may seem that it is a recording of a motorway, to which he adds a bunch of other field recordings and mainly uses the equalization to transform it during its fifty-one minute course. This is a true sound-scape, without too much care for detail or dramatic courses, but that is perhaps not always necessary. Not the best work around, but all in all quite alright.
vital weekly

THE FIELD REPORTER|Caity Kerr    --- NEW !
Carlos Villena’s  Sensacions Desplaçades is characterized by a restricted use of resources, field recordings raw and processed, a clever and effective shifting relationship between background and foreground, and an element of mystery in the perception of transitions between clearly marked passages.
The sound sources are pleasing and engaging enough: an almost ‘classical’ introduction (within the idiom) of birds, traffic, indeterminate human activity, a rustling in the wings of what might be foliage. Then the processed sounds, less recognizable: longer drawn out midrange textures, growling sounds, extremes of register, resonant timbres with a hint of pitch, machine sounds, uncertain biophonies, even some very acousmatic whooshy envelopes. At times the music settles into waves or pulses of varying period, a feature of an earlier Mystery Sea release by Philip Sulidae.
It would seem as if the same sounds recur, modified slightly in various ways at each recurrence, combined and recombined differently each time. I’m reminded of a particular Harry Partch album with many short tracks, each presenting a different study combining his hand made instruments. The density of the polyphony varies from elegant two voice passages to complex contrapuntal sections, nodes of tension facilitating the pace and flow of the overall work, and, more importantly, working to avoid monotony, a danger in all lengthy sound works relying on restricted resources. Here’s the nub of this kind of work – how do you create and sustain interest with field recordings? Are they inherently interesting and captivating or, if they do need artistic working to engage the listener, how can this be carried out successfully? Overall in Villena’s choice of unremarkable sounds there is something of Arte Povera’s use of commonplace materials.
There are no sudden movements or revelations. An air of dogged patience pervades the work as we reach false summit after false summit. Again the threat of monotony is felt as we wait expectantly for something to unfold. There is no development or discernable direction, musical or narrative, which isn’t a problem in itself in new sound and music works, as long as some sort of interest and engagement with the listener is maintained. The balancing factors are, to an extent: the hints of a cyclical treatment of form, the pulses of sound, and pulses within pulses, which have just enough presence to push the work along; the binary contrasts between recognizable and obscure sounds and between simple and complex passages. It is a very fine balance. There are moments where the passages of contrast and added interest get in the way, for example filmic intrusions which certainly change the focus of the work, but which break the flow and the mood perhaps too suddenly.
There is one short section of the work which I could have listened to for hours, a passage in which the ‘pure’ gentle ambience of field recordings simply carry the listener along – wind in trees, a rustle of something in a bush, possible human activity. Perhaps a personal predilection and almost certainly stemming from a childhood memory, but I’ve listened to some artists recently who are exploiting this pure ambience, which goes far beyond any category of ‘ambient’, very well.
A final clever touch that should be mentioned is the pseudo arch form where the piece returns, more or less, to the same sounds at the end as were used at beginning.
In conclusion the album is a fine contribution to the idiom, another important step forward in Mystery Sea’s developing profile as a quality specialist label.
the field reporter