David Vélez - El Pájaro que Escucha [3LEAVES - 2012]
"El Pájaro que Escucha” sits somewhere between natural ambience recording, drone work & enchanting field recording snapshot. David Vélez is a Columbia based sound artist, who specializes in untreated field recordings.
This CDR offers up just over an hour worth of untreated field recordings from the Palomino region of Colombia. Palomino is a topical coastal area in the northeast region of Colombia, & on one side it meets the Caribbean Sea
The first fourteen or so minutes are built around a soothing mixture of tropical bird chatter, cricket chirp haze, and the distant almost omnibus drone of an airplane. Around the 14.30 minute mark we move into the sound of rolling seashore waves, with a slight billow wind backdrop- apparently the Palomino area often suffers from floods and the spiral bands of hurricanes. For the next five or so minutes the wave & wind textures seemingly build-up power then peter back again into the distant. By the 22 minute mark we once more returned to a more active yet soothing jungle back drop with the chip haze of crickets, and the tropical bird chatter, warbling & chirping- and there’s one particular bird here that’s making a wonderful almost chattering laughter like sound, this breaks the natural ambient drift at regular intervals. Around the 35 minute mark we get a distant coastal billow added over the top of the jungle recordings, which have now become a lot more active with various banks of more aggressive chattering bird song, and things rise to a relatively intense crescendo of sound.
At the 37 minute mark the sea sound strips down, and we seemingly getting closer to the cricket chatter as you can make out more detail of each cricket sounds, along with what sounds like the distant drone of a speed boat, and more spaced-out & calmer bird song. At the 42 minute mark the recordings shift again to a mixture of locked cuckoo like chirping, crackling under foot jungle sound, more manic distant bird chatter & distant cricket drone… I found this part quite eerier, though it had quite a nocturnally soothing quality to it too. The remainder of the track sees a few more shifts in field recordings back to a slightly more daytime sounding jungle feel, with more rich maps of bird song & distant cricket drone.
"El Pájaro que Escucha” is a subtly shifting & cleverly detailed slice of long form field recording work. It’s an album that doesn’t really offer up very dramatic shifts or contrast in sound, but instead it mostly drifts by mostly in a ambient like manner, yet there are lots of rewarding sound details through-out the piece which make it a captivating sound journey for those willing to take the time & effort with the piece.Roger Batty