Library #2

Derek Baron – Palmillas

The second release to hit the library shelves is an amazing tape by New York musician Derek Baron.

Strange thing: I was thinking about taking a breather from releasing albums to focus on a few things of my own, but this album floored me right off the top. No breather necessary, the a/v stacks need purpose and promise. This record also lit a newfound lantern-drive to keep sharing and stacking high all that collectively can line up, in inter-personal tuning/tethering of the like-or-interesting mind.

Palmillas hit all these super intriguing and mysterious receptors and I knew I wanted to help give it a home. The audio curiosities, the collage work, the bricolage (as Baron properly called it), it all seemed so transfixing and documentary-real.

This is incredible work the more you look and listen in, and the more the layers peel back and reveal the structure: the way things are stacked recording-wise and go in and out phase; the fidelity differences; the use of self-percussion or pulses to skip the landscape into composition, instant and through; the act of listening intently and shaping the happenings into wonder and pause.

Life-moments/the-now, all pass through the recording devices and blur across the audio-horizon, revealing detail and context and framing. Hiss and room-air help moving shots form intricate and webbed motivation/musicality cycling back through the everyday. Handhelds in a magic-always-on, truthful reality in a level-lock, read-outs hitting red and reporting back. Audio journalism.

Two-dimensional sonic fields turn into three, and vice versa.

Following the ears and walking towards the smoldering distance, lingering, adapting, listening, meditating on the sounds. Then retreating back as the ears catch something from behind, further afield. Tone blends with guitar blends with voice blends with static blends with the real time it takes.

Or run the microphones hot and let the moment dictate how to proceed.

Composition vs improvisation. Editing vs documentation.

Baron never fully redefines the original moments, he adds a glow or sketches a notation in/on the margins, scratching surface art, the found/netted turns into self-dream-creation, carved by luck and wielded by skill. The pieces still stand as their own slice-of-life layers, but like etching directly on film or tape, their use now doubles in outcome and chance. Each solitary second is allowed to breathe, coaxed out from shadow and into the microphone multiplication.

In his own words, Baron fills me in on the work and place-time …

“I travelled in Mexico in January and brought 4 recording devices: a minicassette handheld, a regular cassette handheld, an iphone, and a zoom h4n.  A large part of my experience of recording was getting the same content on every different recording medium, and then listening to the differences in those media when I finally listened to the material again (which wasn’t until May, 4 months later).  The classical guitar at the beginning and the end of the record isn’t me, it’s this guy Sergio who was playing in the library in San Miguel — the “delay” effect comes from the fact that the minicassette recorded everything just a few clicks faster than the other media.  In a sense its a genuine ‘delay,’ but that the source is actually being recorded at two different speeds at once.

Everything heard on the record was recorded to one of those 4 media during my trip — the only thing I did in production was compile, arrange, collage, and the occasional ‘utility’ effect: gating, sidechaining, compression, EQ. No effects that produce their own sound, just a polishing/editing of the sounds that are already there. The goal is to share a week or so of experiences/thoughts/sounds without letting the production process become too big for its own good.”

I hope you dig it the same way that I do, this is great work that sits super in headphones too. I’m more than impressed and can’t thank him enough for wanting to set up shop with me. I have a strong feeling this album is just the introduction to his musical and audio-documentational know-how.

The tape was a small run of 25 copies dubbed at home.

Digital is free and ready to go. Any time, no rush.

Thanks for listening. And reading.

Take care,
Kev

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