Ruth Barberán

Capacidad de Pérdida

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Solo trumpet that is not -- that cannot be -- solo trumpet: that is how most listeners would probably sum up Capacidad de Pérdida, Ruth Barberán's first recording for the Portuguese experimental label Creative Sources. Her approach to the instrument as a sound-making device is strongly reminiscent of the groundbreaking late-'90s and early-'00s work of Axel Dörner, Franz Hautzinger and Birgit Ulher. No electronics are mentioned in the scarce liner notes, so the listener has little choice but to believe that this is all acoustic trumpet playing. Several of the bubbly, breathy and cavernous sounds heard here have been pioneered by the aforementioned artists, but Barberán also comes up with a few new propositions, including arresting "crashing wave" effects in "Lo Contrario de Pérdida de Capacidad." Remaining so close to the mic draws the listener inside the bell of the instrument, for a journey more evocative of a walk in the sewers than anything trumpety. Each piece (there are four of them, six to eleven minutes in duration) paints a slightly different landscape, with more asperities here and wider blank spaces there, but the unity in form is undeniable -- and would easily become wearisome if the album was longer than its 36 minutes. Barberán masters the techniques of Hautzinger and co., but she adds little more to their vocabulary and does not match their intensity. That is why this album makes an interesting exercise in minute abstract sound-playing, but little more.

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