ELECTROAUSTICO, MEXICO: 1960-2007 (triple CD)
An invaluable record of work mostly unheard outside Mexico, in three volumes labelled Origins, 1960-87, Consolidation (1987-06) and Contemporary (1999-07). There is much of great interest in this collection; in fact, most of it is exceptional in one way or another. CD 1, which features many of Mexico's foremost composers exploring a wide variety of techniques, technologies and aesthetics, includes Mario Lavista's highly Plunderphonic 1972 Contrapuno, which lifts chunks of cultural debris (Mahler, Beatles, Buddist chants, , Strauss, Gagaku, pop music, &c.) into varying degrees of distortion and processing, Viols by Manuel Enriquez, a highly evolved and very listenable work for violin and tape and the remarkable Paraiso de los ahogados, from 1960, which employs the most primitive tape techniques with not much more than an overabundance of creativity, to great effect. CD2 includes Roberto Morales' impressive Nahual 2, for Chamula Harp and electronics, which is more wild and performed than carefully orchestrated, the great Papalotl by Javier Alvarez for piano and tape: a tour-de-force, Con jicamo for tape, a highly rhythmic, complex and beautifully judged composition, and Erotica 2, for balloon and violin. CD 3 is mostly more internationalist in style, which means beautifully made, full of detail and subtlety, but rather bland, uniform in sound (I blame the technology, especially the softwares) and with less character, agon, imagination orchutzpah than the earlier pieces (there are exceptions (tk 7, 10?) This is an important collection and a great tribute to Mexican composers.