Exposé Online banner

Kawabata / Pinhas / Mujica / Pereira / Higashi — Alturas
(Buh Records BR129, 2020, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2020-09-24

Alturas Cover art

Free-form improvisation by musicians that have not worked together before is a risky proposition. The odds of disaster (or even mediocrity) are fairly high, but in the case of Alturas, which brings together Makoto Kawabata and Hiroshi Higata of Acid Mothers Temple with Richard Pinhas (who needs no introduction here), Manongo Mujica, and Juan Luis Pereira of El Polen, the result scores well to the opposite end of the scale, being a fascinating series of soundscapes composed of natural and electronic sounds. On the electric side, Kawabata and Pinhas augment their electric guitars with many effects and Higata gives us spaced-out synthesizer sounds; acoustic sources include a wide range of percussion from Mujica (including a drum kit at times) and Pereira’s arsenal of Andean wind and stringed instruments. With tracks ranging from under two minutes to nearly eleven, these masters complement each other effectively, whether they’re creating sparse soundscapes or morphing into something that could almost be called a rock riff. It may seem contradictory, but there are meditative moments featuring heavily distorted guitar where the guitar doesn’t overwhelm the mix, and the contributions of Pereira’s wooden flute can be heard amid the fuzz. “Super Andina” is the centerpiece of the set, the longest track, and it starts with weird electronic noises (presumably Higata’s synths) and quiet echoing sounds (probably guitars), and builds up slowly with high-pitched noises (guitar?), cymbals, and a quietly screechy folk violin. Mujica’s cymbals, the violin, and one of the guitars coalesce around a tempo while the other guitar fills space with a drone of feedback. By around the eight-minute mark, Mujica is on the toms and a raucous energy is developing into a crazy guitar riff topped by twittering synths. They finish off with “Charango,” which does indeed feature the little stringed instrument of its title, though droning guitar feedback is more prominent, along with a loping drum beat and synthesizer swoops. All in all, Alturas is a very listenable set of improvisations bridging electronic rock with South American sounds.


Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Richard Pinhas, Makoto Kawabata, Manongo Mujica, Hiroshi Higashi

More info
http://buhrecords.bandcamp.com/album/alturas

Latest news

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Lonely China Day - Sorrow – In the midst of all the noise found on the Beijing music scene, where feedback reigns and screaming is preferred to singing, there is one band that stands out from the crowd. Lonely China Day (their...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues