Santiago Astaburuaga – La Perpetuidad Del Esbozo #3


1. La Perpetuidad Del Esbozo #3 (2016) (40:00)


· Cristián Alvear: guitar, sine tones, field recordings (recorded in Japan, 2016) and archives (excerpts from Nick Hoffman’s “Bermuda”, Pilgrim Talk, 2016)
· Makoto Oshiro: kachi-kachi electromagnetic relays, prepared speaker unit, sine tones, field recordings (recorded at Hamamatsu Kamoe Art Center, 2016) and archives (excerpts from Dawang Yingfan Huang’s “Tourette’s Songbook”, Kandala Records, 2016)
· Hiroyuki Ura: snare drum, cymbal, sine tones, field recordings (recorded in Gunma, 2015) and archives (excerpts from Uchu Hakase’s “Drum Solo At Music Org”, self released, 2014)


Composed and liner note by Santiago Astaburuaga
Realized by Cristián Alvear, Makoto Oshiro & Hiroyuki Ura
Recorded by Makoto Oshiro in Tokyo on 10/10/2016
Mixed and mastered by Makoto Oshiro
Drawing by Nick Hoffman
Graphic design by László Szakács


Released: August 2018 / first edition of 300 cds
Direct purchase: Bandcamp / Discogs






“Slovenian label Inexhaustible Editions is rapidly growing into a powerhouse for more radical forms of improvised music. Here they present three new releases to proof their extremity. […] The final new release is a trio disc by Cristián Alvear (guitar, sine tones and field recordings), Makoto Oshiro (kachi-kachi electromagnetic relays, prepared speaker unit, sine tones, field recordings) and Hiroyuki Ura (snare drum, cymbal, sine tones and field recordings). For each of the players there is also a credit for ‘archives’, which is specified as previous releases by each player. The cover details the specifics of the piece, how many parts there are, how long sounds should last, what sounds should be same or different throughout the piece etc. There are quite a lot of rules to be noted. The composition is specified for three different durations, twenty, forty or sixty minutes. The version presented here is forty minutes and it is quite a strange piece of overlapping short bits of sine waves, field recordings and instruments. Some of the sine waves are quite radical. Cuts are made in an abrupt way most of the times, like it being timed with a stopwatch, which is indeed a required necessity according to the score. This piece has a certain randomized aspect to it and I am altogether not sure if it really works well. There are surely some configurations that work quite well, but also at times it doesn’t work at all and all we hear are various layers of sounds that have no relation or interaction altogether and that’s a pity. Maybe there is a point to it, but I fail to see it.” / Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly, 30 October 2018


“Ce label slovène très pointu n’en est pas à son coup d’essai et après avoir publié d’intéressants albums en duo avec Birgit Ulher, un dialogue surprenant de Carl Ludwig Hübsch et Phil Minton, ou le tandem mystérieux de Martin Küchen et Herman Müntzig, il se lance dans l’édition de musique composée expérimentale alternative conceptuelle. J’ignore tout du Mexicain Santiago Astaburuaga, le compositeur. Ses notes de pochette expliquent en espagnol et en anglais ses instructions aux les musiciens pour réaliser son œuvre, enregistrée à Tokyo le 10/10/2016 par Makoto Oshiro. Celui-ci est crédité kachi – kachi electromagnetic relays, prepared speaker unit, sine tones, field recordings et archives. Je vous passe plus de détails. Cristiàn Alvear : guitar, sine tones, field recordings et archives et Hiroyuki Ura : snare drum, cymbal, sine tones, field recordings et archives. Les instructions du compositeur découpent l’œuvre destinée à deux jusque quatorze exécutants en 14 parties et le temps en segments inégaux de 5, 14, 30 et 47 secondes, comme indiqués sur un tableau visible sur la pochette. Initialement prévue pour 20, 40 ou 60 minutes, la version enregistrée de La Perpetuidad Del Esbozo #3 s’achève à 40:00. Durant les 20 minutes, réaliser 1, 2 ou 3 segments de chaque type de son (instrument, sine tone, field recording et archives) ou durant les 40 minutes réaliser 4, 5 ou 6 de chaque type, etc… Les enregistrements de terrain et les archives sonores sont laissées à la discrétion des musiciens ou à leur initiative. En fait, ceux – ci ont une liberté de jouer ce que bon leur semble mais aussi de faire silence, car inévitablement le nombre de segments découpant l’oeuvre ne correspond pas au nombre de segments où ils peuvent / doivent jouer. Et donc à chaque césure entre chacune ces périodes courtes, le changement de matériel sonore et d’improvisation instrumentale est abrupt et leur juxtaposition semble arbitraire. Il découle de ce processus une succession d’univers sonores, de voix enregistrées (en japonais), de timbres, de frappes et de quasi silence qui questionne, surprend, ennuie, stimule l’écoute ou sollicite le rêve. Une œuvre aléatoire expérimentale conceptuelle qui pourrait déboucher sur des choses surprenantes à force de la travailler.” / Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg, Orynx-improv’andsounds, 5 December 2018


“La Perpetuidad Del Esbozo #3 (2016) is also based on a score that leaves open a wide range of possible realizations, but this one’s on an entirely other level. Each of the three musicians here (Cristián Alvear, Makoto Oshiro and Hiroyuki Ura) – the work is written for between two and fourteen performers – wields three sound sources. One is an instrument – guitar, eletromagnetic relays and speakers, and snare drum and cymbals, respectively. The second is a selection of sine tones. The third is a combination of field recordings and archival sounds. For this last, Alvear chose field recordings from Japan and excerpts from Nick Hoffman’s ‘Bermuda’ (which I’ve not heard), Oshiro opted for sounds from the Hamamatsu Kamoe Art Center and portions of Dawang Yingfan Huang’s ‘Tourette’s Songbook’ and Ura went with recordings from Gunma Prefecture and parts of Uchu Hakase’s ‘Drum Solo at’.

Ok. These are then deployed over various time sequences. For a recording of 40-minutes, like the one at hand, each musician ‘elaborates’ on 4, 5 or 6 of each kind of sound. There’s more but you, perhaps, get the picture. The result is a very unusual and, to say the least, unique mosaic of sound bearing jump-cut and collage characteristics but having, to these ears, an odd and unexpected kind of coherence despite the extremely disparate elements, partially due to the sine tones, I imagine, which while varied, provide something of a unifying factor. Certain sounds recur – there’s an orchestral passage that rings a bell but one I can’t pinpoint – a movie or TV theme, perhaps – that pokes its head up several times, on organ piece and a goofy-sounding guy (Huang?) who ‘sings’ – seriously annoying in and of itself but as an element in the landscape, strangely appropriate. That can be said of the piece as a whole – I’ve no idea why it works (though, naturally, I suspect the judgment of the musicians involved), but it does. Everything I’ve heard so far from Astaburuaga has held some large degree of fascination and ungainly beauty; I’m greatly looking forward to hearing more.” / Brian Olewnick, Just Outside, 21 December 2018


“How do we configure the territory in which a music occurs? How do we trace its boundaries?” asks Chilean composer Santiago Astaburuaga in a philosophical essay. These and related questions are addressed in practice by his composition La Perpetuidad Del Esbozo #3. During this 40 minute realisation recorded in Tokyo, Cristián Alvear, Makoto Oshiro and Hiroyuki Ura distribute an intriguing selection of instrumental sounds, field recordings, sine tones and archival musical materials in accordance with the broad specifications of Astaburuaga’s indeterminate score. The persistence of the composer’s outline within the choices made by the performers is part of the fascination of this piece, but the manner in which heterogeneous elements cohere within a structure of encounter produced by attentive listening is no less absorbing.” / Julian Cowley, The Wire – Issue 419 (January 2019)


“Very impressed with La Perpetuidad Del Esbozo #3, a composition by the Chilean composer Santiago Astaburuaga. Astaburuaga has appeared on recordings quite a few times in recent years performing with fellow Chilean Cristián Alvear, the fine (very restrained) guitarist and composer whose delicate work has crossed our path a few times now, and indeed he plays on this recording, the latest in a series of unusual items from the Inexhaustible Editions label. Also appearing are Makoto Oshiro and Hiroyuki Ura, both Japanese players with whose work I am far from familiar – although the former has played with Tim Olive.

La Perpetuidad Del Esbozo #3 is an odd one; for one thing there’s the rather unusual instrumentations, printed here with a very specific credits list – already I am intrigued to know more about Makoto’s ‘kachi-kachi electromagnetic relays’. I suppose if you summarised it all they are playing a combination of guitar, electronic devices, percussion, voices, and field recordings – but that shopping list overlooks the niceties of sine tone generation and speaker placement. Even the field recordings – here called ‘archives’ for some reason – are lovingly detailed, some of them being lifts from performances, or recordings by other musicians, all folded into the work. All three of them do this, and perhaps the composition called for it. It’s some way from what we would understand as ‘sampling’; for one thing the source musicians are relatively obscure, such as Dawang Yingfan Huang and Uchu Hakase, although I am familiar with Nick Hoffman at least – and he’s a man who would feel at home in the company here, I expect.

The second thing to understand is the compositional structure, which evidently works to a set of prose instructions with very precise ideas about duration, order, and segmentation. These are in effect rules which govern the production of the music, which is not a new thing, but I’ve rarely heard it used to such powerful effect. I say ‘precision’ because the entire work lasts exactly 40 minutes to the second, and the grid of numbers printed inside the tray looks like something which would be more at home in a book of algebra. The art that emerges however is far from laboured, stilted, or mechanical; rather, it’s very warm, gentle, feels quite spontaneous in places, has a great deal of humour, and is packed with unexpected surprises popping up every other minute. Quite often, the musical moments in these episodes are so lovely that I just wanted it to keep playing forever, but then the next shift occurs and it’s all-change. In a way, there might be enough good ideas here to fuel several hours of such music. A mosaic, if you will, of beautiful music fragments that somehow coalesce into a very satisfying whole.

The title here translates more or less as ‘the perpetuity of the outline’, a resonant statement if ever there was. Perhaps Santiago Astaburuaga conceives of this work as a plan for a larger piece of work. I am mystified, in a very good way; this Chilean may have discovered a new musical code. If he has, it’s a very productive one. Great!” / Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector, 16 April 2019





· Log at National Sawdust, New York, 21 October 2019