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Thelmo Cristovam | paisagens sonoras em õstrõ hyija
TRB.011 | 2008/04/18 | CDR

price : 5 EUR (includes shipping costs)

    "Paisagens Sonoras em Õstrõ Hyija" is the new full-length release of the Brazilian improviser/composer Thelmo Cristovam who has already been introduced to Europe through his releases on labels like TIBProd., Krakilsk, Desetxea and Test Tube among others. In this collection of diverse-natured recordings that took place in various moments between 2003 and 2006, at v(g)erme mobile, Thelmo Cristovam copes with heavily treated acoustic guitar on track 1, "Aço" (2003), with c-melody saxophone and amplified objects, all processed beyond belief on track 2, "Os Jardins Eletromagnéticos de Ur" (2004), with pure field recordings being captured/mixed in real-time on track 3, "Pradarias Inversas" (2005) and with concept-specific recordings of walls, floors and windows of a building making a sonic collage of musique concrète on track 4, "Construções em Barro, Vidro e Plasma" (2006). "Paisagens Sonoras em Õstrõ Hyija" deals with abstract sonic fields, those of "Õstrõ Hyija" - an imaginary place that could be a planet, a city, a country or a dimension, in Thelmo Cristovam's own words. Crafted with utter care, apart from the audio content, also is the graphic artwork that is based on a collage/painting by Fotini Kallianou.

contents & credits

01  aço  07:37
02  os jardins eletromagnéticos de ur  13:05
03  pradarias inversas  23:24
04  construções em barro, vidro e plasma  14:04

total time  58:10

conceived and constructed by Thelmo Cristovam at v(g)erme mobile, in Olinda, Pernambuco, between 2003-2006

mastering and graphic by Themistoklis Pantelopoulos, February 2008
cover collage by Fotini Kallianou, February 2008


Massimo Ricci | Touching Extremes | November 2008
    The curriculum vitae of this young composer (1975) from Brazil looks interesting: studies in physics and mathematics, participations in miscellaneous improvisation and EAI local projects, interests in singular techniques on wind instruments, field recordings and electronics. At present, Cristovam is "investigating radio art, sound poetry and Brazilian indigenous music". The four tracks in "Paisagens sonoras" are presented in chronological arrangement from 2003 to 2006, the music's worth growing accordingly. "Aço" deals with heavily treated acoustic guitar, and it's indeed more noise than accurate testing, not exceedingly appealing in my opinion. Things get better from "Os jardins eletromagnéticos of Ur", where a C-melody saxophone and amplified objects are so disfigured that what we hear is roughly equivalent to an inner-city guerilla in between electrically charged fences, powerful whirrs and shrapnel-like discharges assaulting our focus amidst digital griminess of any kind. "Pradarias inversas" is a superb pseudo-static piece, pregnant of implications despite a pretty simple configuration, mostly based on the parallelism of next-to-ultrasound high frequencies and the mumble of processed environmental sounds. "Construções em barro, vidro e plasma" concludes the CD in style, utilizing the walls, floors and windows of an edifice to inculcate a feeling of insecurity in the listener via hostile drones, harsh waterfalls and sudden silences. It evokes a fragrance of wariness identical to that pervading the whole record, at the same time representing its most engrossing trait.

Catherine C. | Connexion Bizarre | September 2008
    I have to admit that the press release accompanying this release by Brazil's Thelmo Cristovam did not fill me with joy. Ascertations like "he is into extended playing techniques on wind instruments" and "he investigates radio art, sound poetry and Brazilian indigenous music" made it sound a little trite, but as soon as you press play you forget any preconceptions you may have. Recorded between the years 2003 - 2006, and presented chronologically, this is a collection of perfectly constructed bubbles of time and space - each track is complete, finite, and seemingly disconnected from the others, yet as a whole they compliment each other perfectly. The artist is quoted as saying that the work deals with the abstract sonic fields of Ostro Hyija - "an imaginary place that could be a planet, a city, a country or a dimension" - whatever, it would seem, the listener hears in it themselves. Opener "Aco" is an atmospheric slice of ponderous introspection, where each noise serves only to enhance the feeling of an echoing space, building to a slowly grinding crescendo then fading almost instantly back into that almost- nothing, laced with eerie, displaced chords. Lulled by its rhythms you suddenly find yourself falling headfirst into the buzzing maw of "Os Jardins Electromagneticos de Ur", full of strange jitters and clacking, clicking distortions. You struggle for comprehension -at once it seems like an electrified tropical forest's soundtrack, and also the speeded up noises of an everyday office. It's disorientating but compelling nonetheless, creating an insect like aural collage before grinding suddenly to an unexpected stop, and you find yourself straining to catch the beginnings of "Pradarias Inversas". At 23 minutes this is the longest track on the CD, and it certainly seems in no rush to get anywhere, allowing a slow, constant stream of "pure field recordings" mixed in real time to set the scene and play off each other: a dog barks, barely heard voices speak, and always the low reverberation of unseen machinery, everything is at one step removed, as if observed from a distance, but as the track progresses it seems to draw itself together, becoming a swirling maelstrom of sound which draws the listener in. Throughout there is the sense that you are hearing something private, limited to a conception that may or may not be your own, but this time it envelopes you completely before fading back again, to the gentle whisper of the opening few minutes, dissolving finally into shivering echoes. The album closer "Construções em Barro, Vidro e Plasma" is unpleasant listening: comprised of "concept-specific recordings of walls, floors and windows of a building" it starts with what sounds like the magnified, distorted sound of ripping material, before dropping suddenly into a deeply unsettling landscape, building then switching again, changing and mutating constantly, at first seemingly without connection until slowly a motif becomes clear, each snapshot of sound creating an image of something greater than the sum of its parts. There is something more sinister in this track than the rest- it is most certainly a fitting end to an uncomfortable, if gripping journey. In summation, this complex, thoughtful effort is well worth checking out via the Triple Bath website. Personal, engrossing and utterly without pretension, it is a welcome change from the increasing number of mono-toned, featureless soundscapes.

Tobias Fischer | Tokafi | August 2008
    Brazilian composer Thelmo Christovam is not just a musician. As a studied mathematician and physicist, his work is marked by a spirit of research, analysis and discovery. The territory of experimentation is clearly delineated by pre-prepared parameters, improvisation guided by concise and concrete modi operandi. His love for Noise is just as much the result of its physical immediacy as its proliferating and mushrooming complexity under a blanket of smooth distortion. After a lifetime of performing and releases all over the place, "Paisages Sonoras" could well be his most important album to date. Spanning four tracks between seven and twenty three minutes of length, the CD bases on source materials culled from field recording trips and meticulous jams, incorporating grating granular textures and three-dimensional organic correlations. Describing a journey from surreal, feverish hallucinations to translucent, spacey atmospherics, it is, most of all, a dynamic enterprise slowly moving from focussed hollers to near-silence. In the final quarter of an hour, the immaterial drones of "Construcoes em Barro, Vidro e Plasma" are almost like listening to a distant waterfall from inside a plastic tipi. Of course, intimates to Christovam's oeuvre will not be shocked. Over the past years, he has entered a dialogue with almost painfully beautiful sonorities and brutal shocktactic pulses, taken extended techniques to their limits and consoled improvisation with composition - crossbreeds are therefore immanent to his personality. And yet, the mixture between Noise and Sound Art of "Paisages" is genuinely intriguing. Even though the plentiful use of hiss, blur as well as the use of wind blowing over the top of his microphones as a musical element add a charming lo-fi character and underground credibility to this music, it manages to still come across as delicate, refined and dreamy. The reason for this ambitious ambiguity can be found in the right balance between concretion and abstraction: Field recordings are always recognisable enough to reveal their human foundation, while simultaneously never giving away too much to spoil the mystery. The world that Christovam erects could be just outside your window, but it is as scary and alien as the mars-like rockscapes of Utah's salt lake desert. Without wanting to wander the usual route of comparisons, Christovam can therefore be put in line with artists like Asher Thal Nir. Just like the resident of Summervile, his interest lies in musically deforming reality around us until it resembles the image he sees in his haunting visions. The difference lies in the way they arrive at their results: While Thal Nir zooms in on a fractal-like aspect of sound until the difference between repetition and free flow looses itself, his Brazilian counterpart morphs complex acoustic phenomena into seemingly homogenous pastures. It is almost inconceivable that this music could end up being seductive and consoling. And yet, it never once sounds constructed. Especially the album's heart piece, "Pradarias Inversas" is a long sheet of white noise breeding subtle scenes underneath its flittering palpatations. Here, Christovam forgets his background as a mathematician: Only the clever use of chance, rather than any congenially construed algorithm, could lead to this kind of metaphorically dense ambiance.

Frans de Waard | Vital Weekly | issue 618 | May 2008
    Work by Thelmo Cristovam has been reviewed before. He's a member of various groups in the field of improvisation and electronics, such as Hronir, Combo Recife De Improviso and Abillas and plays various wind instruments, such as c-melody saxophone, pocket trumpet, valve trombone and flute in combination with phonograph/field recordings and electronics. The works on 'Paisagens Sonoras Em Ostro Hyija' were made from 2003 to 2006 and sees him exploring also the acoustic guitar in 'Aco' and spaces in 'Construcoes Em Barro, Vidro e Plasma' along with his usual line of instruments. The shortest piece is just under eight minutes and the longest is over twenty-three. That is a bit problematic I think. Not everything he has to say needs that much time. Here is a rule for Cristovam's music: the longer the piece is, the less interesting it is. It seems that Cristovam's likes his sounds very much, especially the free use of sound effects, and that love he wants to share with us. His music could be 'saved' if he would prepared to make some choices and make things a bit more concise, instead of offering a free run of sound material. As it were to get out of the improvisation mood and into composing. Now we hear potentially interesting sounds, but we loose the sight of a composition. There would be a lot to gain I guess.