AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Various Artists – Anthology Of Experimental Music From Latin America (2023; Unexplained Sounds Group)

If nothing else, the ongoing Sound Mapping project from Unexplained Sounds Group has established that excellent experimental music can be found in every populated geography on the planet. We should all know that intuitively, but at this point there is no counterargument. And what’s even more compelling, for this listener at least, is that none of the names on this 2CD compilation is familiar.

While focusing on the rough category of “experimental” music, the artists represented present a broad and inclusive view of this loose genre. They hail from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, and Venezuela.

As an example, Susan Campos Fonseca’s Refugio lands somewhere between ambient and modern classical, with deep droning chords, shifting soundscapes, and soft blasts that slowly grow in intensity. In contrast, Un Film Sobre Insectos by Santiago Fradejas is a slow-paced, twisted, and psychedelic piece. It comes across as a pastiche of samples and effects, possibly field recordings as well, that provide a strange narrative.

Tarme Til Alle’s Leaving the Body features sweeping bursts of sequencers and an overall cosmic tone. Repeating psychedelic structures with jagged noise and chords drift through Benoit from Tremolo Audio. Emiliano Hernandez-Santana explores similar “sound art” themes on Islas de Fango with unstructured rhythms accompanied by shimmering and crackling foreground noises.

Taking a few steps in a different direction, La Carabina from Quim Font features hazy drones that are deceptively pastoral until roughly-cut echoing waves and samples are introduced. Going yet further is Paulo Motta on Index Dial Maracatu, the only track with pieces of a synthesized beat, one that rapidly morphs into unstructured noises, watery sounds, and processed samples. An even more extreme take is on Leo Alves Vieira’s Darkroom – 21​-​34​-​13​-​04, which combines metallic clashes (some of which may have originated on a drum kit) with synth chording.

And if you end up liking this release, here are a few others of a similar ilk, and from the same label, that are worthy of your consideration.