AMN Reviews: Beatriz Ferreyra – Huellas Entreveradas (2020; Persistence of Sound)

Beatriz Ferreyra is among the first generation of Acousmatic composers who worked directly under Pierre Schaeffer at the GRM (Groupe de Recherches Musicales).  That puts her in the company of Bayle, Parmegiani, Dhomont, and Henry.  Unfortunately, many of these composers are no longer with us, so any release by her garners significant interest from me and I’m sure others who are fans of Acousmatic music.  Reams can, and have been written about her contribution to the style of music fathered by Schaeffer, and rightly so since she was there from the beginning.  Her catalog is deep and wide, and in the last twenty years alone she has created a string of excellent albums in varied styles with many different collaborators, or just her solo.  Huellas Entreveradas is certainly no exception.

The album has three pieces of various lengths and the general tone is lighter and more playful than many of the Acousmatic records I’ve heard.  Having said that, the exception is the 14-minute title piece, Huellas Entreveradas (Intertwined Footprints).  The piece is constructed from the human voice, although you would be very hard-pressed to identify that source.  Ferreyra takes a fragment of a fragment of a syllable and proceeds to chop that grain up into even smaller bits and pieces.  She strings the “parts” into a rather dark and tumultuous whole that ebbs and flows with the force of a small hurricane.  Sometimes she’ll leave Planck length silences between the sounds while at other points she’ll connect them into a ghostly, and sometimes fiery nettled drone.  Either way, the result is completely unique as it whirls its way across the sound stage.

The second piece is La Ba-Balle du Chien-Chien à la mé-mère (The ball of the old lady’s dog).  The mood gets much more playful as this is an Acousmatic representation of man’s best friend interacting with its obviously adoring owner.  Ferreyra takes a human/dog play session and dissects it, pulling apart all its defining aspects and examining each under an electron microscope.  The sounds are highly processed but if you are a dog lover, I think you’ll identify with this immediately.  You’ll hear exaggerated bouncing balls, friendly quizzical doggy exclamations and the alien language that owners use to communicate with their 4-legged buddies.  All of this is filtered through Ferreyra’s highly imaginative use of sound technology.  I’ve honestly never heard anything like this, and being a lifelong dog lover…completely appreciated it!

The last piece is a short homage to Bernard Parmegiani.  Deux Dents Dehors (Two teeth sticking out) is a title similar to Parms Dedans Dehors and in the span of 4 short minutes, Ferreyra packs every second with a veritable cornucopia of mashed up audio information.  Jump cut follows jump cut at the speed of sound and it all results in a raucous sprint to the end of this too short (30 minute) album.

Highly recommended, which comes as no surprise given Beatriz Ferreyra’s amazing quality of work over the decades.  I’m really looking forward to the Persistence of Sound split release (with Natasha Barrett) dropping in the next couple of weeks!

Mike Eisenberg