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[CP 120-120.5 CD] Juan Blanco; El Guije, Suite Erotica, Suite De Los Niños, Contemporaneos 4, Musica Electroacustica

Creel Pone

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September 2022; long in-the-works re-collection & augmentation of this classic mid-period C.P. title (instigating the P.T.B.'s ongoing research into Cuban Electro-Acoustic music) now issued as two separately-housed discs, with the first brand-new disc premiering Blanco's never-issued 1969 "El Guije" suite (meticulously resuscitated from a crumbling, one-off Cuban Radio Acetate & appearing here in both its 78RPM & 33RPM iterations) followed by the remaining piece of the Blanco puzzle: his second/1987 Areito "Música Electroacústica" collection covering the pieces "Suite Erotica" (composed from 1979 to 1986 in Cuba), & "Suite De Los Niños" (composed in 1984 at François Barrière & Christian Clozier's GMEB, directly referencing the couple's "Ritratto a Giovane" [CP 193-193.5 CD]).

Note that the, now, "Second" ([CP 120.5 CD]) disc is exactly the same as the one issued in 2010 (linen-ized booklet & all) so there's no need to "top up" on it if you're holding; otherwise this set offers "El Rescate Del Reyes" of Blanco's formative music meshing Afro-Cuban Folk & Classical forms with the then-nascent Musique Concrète traditions coming out of France...

Last C.P. of 2010, finally available after countless delays, mostly involving the tricky /expert-level remastering job needed to resuscitate this incredible, historically-important music from sub-par vinyl pressings - a high-spec issue of Cuban composer Juan Blanco’s first two Egrem / Areito label LPs, covering his earliest electronic music dating back to 1963.

Opening with the token non-electronic “Musica Para un Joven Martir” - or "Music for a Young Martyr" - rife with swelling, Penderecki-ian strings, spare wood-block iterations & a rather romatically-delivered exhoration towards the end, we’re then thrust into the darkened void of “Galaxia M-50” - combining sunken, Almuro-esque Concrète thunder with some truly terrifying, Ruth White -esque spoken fragments, delivered just on this side of pure feedback.

“Desde Su Voz Amada” continues on in similar fashion - claustrophobic tape treatments of presumably political speeches, echoes of Luis De Pablo’s “We [Nosotros]” - as does “Estructuras” from a decade+ prior, with its gorgeously minimal & quite deep transmogrifications of the prepared piano source material - imagine a “Dante’s Inferno” variant of Dick Raaijmakers’ “Pianoforte” & you’re close.

Skipping forward to the early 80s, the second half goes in a completely different direction, opening with “Circus-Tocata's” twin “Latin” percussion & Live-Electronic array - 17 minutes of straight electro-acoustic jamming, keeping a constant rhythmic / sequenced pulse of bubbling electronic patterns to which the percussionists riff & version. Finally, “Tañidos” & “Espacios II” each offer an aggregate of tightly harmonically clustered electronic sound, with the latter accompanied throughout by some excellent, a-harmonic classical guitar shredding.

To think, prior to this I hadn’t thought there was an Electronic Music studio in Cuba during Castro’s early reign, let alone one that allowed for the creation of such technically astute, world-class work, making this easily one of the more appealing C.P. outings in this recent wave. Much like the Chris Swansen offering before it, this Creel Pone replica comes complete with both albums on a single disc - at just a hair under capacity - with a single gatefold booklet detailing the layout & design of each LP in question.