AMN Reviews: Various Artists – Anthology Of Experimental Music From Peru (2021; Unexplained Sounds Group)

In the coming years, we may look back at the Sound Mapping project from Unexplained Sounds Group as a watershed moment for making contemporary experimental music available from a wide variety of regions around the world. Or at the very least, we owe a debt of gratitude to Raffaele Pezzella, the label head who is the brains behind this operation. Spanning Latin America, Iran, the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, and Indonesia, these releases are uniformly compelling.

The latest recording is a 75-minute set from Peru. The music covers a wide variety of sounds and styles, including drone, ambient, electroacoustic, folk, and experimentation with electronics. Árbol, Rodolfo Ontaneda, Qsn10​-​97, and Ian Duclos merge drones with various combinations of walled noise, static, oscillations, field recordings, and more conventional acoustic sounds. There is a rough texture to these efforts, and they take up various positions on the light / dark spectrum. The use of field recordings is either the focus of a track (as in the case of Vanessa Valencia Ramos), overlaid with percussion, effects, and processing (CAO), or violin and drone (Paola Torres Núñez del Prado). Some of this crosses over into folk, such as the piece from Ivanka Cotrina featuring percussion, flutes, and stringed instruments. And then there is a “weird electronics” category, with Marcelo Mellado’s lilting melodies, Kevin Salkeld & Juan Pablo Egúsquiza’s haunting atmospheres, and Brageiki’s static and synth lines.

Throughout Anthology Of Experimental Music From Peru there is a rawness – not in recording technique per se, but in the directness of emotion. If anything this adds to the charm and authenticity of these efforts, and leaves one wanting more from Peru, South America, and other parts of the world.