"As someone who has listened to a tonne of this sort of work (but doesn’t particularly make it themselves) I think I have a pretty good idea of what I like/dislike in good field recording work and this album and in terms of the scope of what Joao tried to do here and how flawlessly its been executed this album is just unreal.
The album seems to try and a really difficult thing- blend grittier lo-fi textures with extremely polished and well-documented textures. The sheer meticulousness of this is crazy. It made me think of sitting at a cafe where half the patrons seem to be made of static or low res versions of people ... Also, this is purely personal preference but when I’m presented with these field recording albums, usually I really want some concept of intention and musicality (as opposed to just documenting a setting as it occurred). If you think of amateur doubles by Graham Lambkin with that song playing in the car while he drives his kids. That's what I vibe with the hardest and this album delivers on that really strongly, the choir stuff being obvious but all the other little rural-y sounds seem to have a musical quality to them.
With a running length of 33 minutes, one issue you could definitely run into on an album like this is presenting such a broad variety of textures in a short amount of time (as opposed to more singular releases like Tarab’s housekeeping or all the raw Daniel Menche recordings). Which really speaks to the strength of this release. It never feels like it jumps awkwardly and it never seems to be rushing its task at hand.
All in all, this has been of my favorite listens of the year so far. Hi-fi, lo-fi, raw and processed, all work together to make a truly musical and utterly well-crafted album. Any fans of Joao’s previous work or any fans of field recording stuff are likely to get something out of it."
"Music from João Castro Pinto has been reviewed before (Vital Weekly 837, 894 and 1086) and in all those releases he uses field recordings and computer processing. In this new work he pointed his microphones in various cities and places, Amarante, Budapest, Coimbra, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sesimbra, Travanca do Monte, Tallinn and Vienna and a variety of microphones ("mono _ stereo _ binaural), contact mic, hydrophone") to create the 'no land soundscape', in two parts. In his usual linguistic approach this is "on the one hand, to question the perception of the ambiences portrayed in terms of the objective provenance of the presented sounds and, on the other, to draw attention to the richness of different sound scenarios: from rural to urban, from calm to noisy", which I would say, isn't it always something along these lines? To construct sound images from one or more places? The listener mostly has not been to this place/these places and even when from such a place, one may not recognize it. Whatever is the case, Pinto knows how to create interesting pieces of music with field recordings and most of the time it seems unclear what kind of processing he applies, but it also occurred to me that he may keep these to a minimum. Lots of the material he uses sound like something one could recognize. Whether or not this is something of a storytelling proportion, or if one sees similarities of differences in sounds from these places, I think is all not an interesting question. Well, for me that is; I simply can enjoy the music as I am hearing this."