Visions Congo - Mulago Sound Studio

Visions Congo - Mulago Sound Studio

Verdict: 4/5





May 5, 2017

Written By

Eduard F. Alexandru


April 20, 2017

Mulago Sound Studio is the latest material to enter Discrepant's rich catalogue, engineered by the label's operator-in-chief after a 6 month experience through the vast lands of Africa.

Composer Gonçalo F Cardoso has produced an array of materials for his own label, under various aliases (Gonzo, Papillon), most of them carrying a distinct type of organic sound manipulation. His latest project, Visions Congo, merges the subjectivity of memory with the idea of observational recording, rendered in forms that pick up on the artists' later sound interventions. As I've stated earlier, this is a distinctive, unintrusive approach in Cardonso's works, and in this case he carefully molds his constructions capturing the beautiful details of the wild.

The album consists of two pieces that run a bit over 20 minutes each, unrolling dreamscape field recordings from various African regions. That's relevant only because the album and its presentation say so, but they might as well come from any part of the world. At some points it seems almost generic, other times contrasting. This is reflected in the mood that each arrangement sketches, Old Parrots of Leper Island relying on more melodic elements. Water acts as a natural metronome for the construction of the first piece. Whether it is water drumming layered with crocodile-like drone sounds or the pensive fall of heavy rain, the various ways in which water flows determine how the composer will interact with the medium.

The second piece, The Hoima Witch and the Songye Mask relies on a slightly different approach, capturing the rhythmic value of the smallest elements in the recordings, be it swarms of insects or distant grass winds. It might be purely subjective, but I tended to spend more time with this part because of its interplay with wider natural spaces. It's the kind of medium that if listened to in depth, produces more echoes that are open to interventions, the transitions losing their collage touch.

Mulago Sound Studio is a story, or a lot of stories built on resonances of memories and structured as freely as the chirps of the birds from the island of Zanzibar.


A - Old Parrots of Leper Island
B- The Hoima Witch and the Songye Mask

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