Monday, April 15, 2013


Let us sculpt in hopeless silence
all our dreams of speaking

~Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Pedro Chambel on Fractal Sources:

Utpote, 2010

Pedro Chambel - Guitar, Electronics, Objects


Tonight I have picked a CD off of the To Listen To pile and played it back to back three times over, which was a little hard to do, not because I particularly dislike the music, its not that bad at all, but because its quite a harsh, difficult listen.
The disc in question is Utpote , the third full length release by the Portugese guitarist Pedro Chambel, this one released on his own Fractal Sources label following two earlier releases on Creative Sources. When Pedro sent me this new disc he also included the earlier CS releases, which alas I have not yet been able to listen to, so please excuse the lack of any comparison to his earlier work. Utpote (a latin word apparently meaning roughly “in as much”) consists of one thirty-eight minute track for electric guitar, objects and electronics. From the outset the piece hits us with a strong continual sine tone, maybe created from placing an eBow on a string, maybe created using some other form of electronics. The tone is quite high pitched, similar to that used for so long by Sachiko M on her solo releases, but perhaps thicker and slightly warmer. Besides a slow fade at the end, the tone then remains present right the way through the album, without really wavering, and if there is any adjustment on volume or intensity it happens so gradually that you don’t notice it. So, not unlike Sachiko’s solo music, this is a tough listen.

I've no idea if the sequence in these three releases is in any way indicative of the path Chambel has taken over the decade but with only these as signposts, it would seems he's taken what he's learned in the interval and applied it to aspects of his approach from 2001. "Utpote" was recorded in June of this year, a single track of 38 minutes and an extremely focused one. The spine is a relatively high-pitched hum, more complex than appears at first blush, made up of some closely aligned waves, i think. Arrayed along its length--and the hum is maintained throughout the work's 38 minutes--are various scribblings, small eructations and tendril-like growths, often involving plucked guitar strings with minimal resonance. This imparts a kind of narrative feel to it, as though the hum is a single, almost featureless road down which one is traveling, encountering the odd, nearly nondescript event along the way. I found it quite fascinating, very unforced, very evocative.
All told, I'm quite pleased to have finally heard Chambel's music and very much would like to hear more.
[I only just read 
Richard's review of "Utpote" and I'm struck by the similarity of our appreciation... :-)
Brian Olewnick

On sait que l’avenir de la musique se fera beaucoup via les micro-labels (parfois sans avenir, eux). Qui se plaindra donc de la création de Fractal Sources par le guitariste Pedro Chambel (deux références au catalogue Creative Sources) ?

Passé de Creative à Fractal, je ne sais si Chambel a gagné en liberté mais il n’a en tout cas rien perdu de son talent d’improvisateur peu orthodoxe. Dans cet Utpote, Il continue de s’empêtrer dans ses cordes électriques tel au sauvage ravi par l'instinct. On ne sait plus si derrière c’est un drone ou si c’est simplement le buzz de l’ampli mais ce n’est pas ça qui compte : ce qui compte est la délicatesse avec laquelle Chambel fait chanter sa guitare et plonge l’auditeur dans un brouillard trouble mais reposant
Guillaume Belhomme