Alejandra And Aeron
It's easy enough to capture audio. All you need is a tape recorder or a minidisc or whatever else, and you can fairly faithfully preserve the auditory for a later date. Over the past 28 years that I've been alive, I've owned everything from a sturdy little fisher-price tape recorder (that's probably still working today, even after getting dropped down the stairs several times) to a microcassette recorder, and I clearly remember listening to moments on each that broke through what had simply become a mundane act of recording and actually captured a moment. By moment, I mean not just the actual audio, but whatever emotions that were being felt at the time. Several times, it was the way that someone laughed at a family event or during an interview, and another time it was a catch in a voice during the recollection of something painful.
It was this mining of moments that The Books did so well with their offbeat sound collage/experimental pop Thought For Food, and it's really the essence of what most field recordings try to accomplish. Alejandra and Aeron run Lucky Kitchen Records, and Bousha Blue Blazes is a sound collage of different recordings they made during the holiday season over a year ago in Spain while spending time with Aeron's grandmother (Bousha). It's a mixture of found-sound singing, acoustic guitars, piano, old vinyl, and a decent amount of digital manipulation.
The resulting album is a 40-minute slice of life that feels a slight bit voyeuristic at times, but not in a bad way. Imagine living in an apartment complex (the open-air courtyard in Hitchcock's Rear Window immediately pops to mind), where you can hear little bits of the lives of your neighbors filtering through the air and coalescing into a slightly nostalgic mood of general warmth. "Humming Radio Caro Carino" is all of these things, opening with what is probably an old record playing (crackly static and tinny sound) before singing by Bousha comes in and is subtlely manipulated until there are three or more parts. An acoustic guitar melody and the creaking of chairs mingles in towards the end, along with a vocal drone, and it all just floats by like sounds in the warm night air.
"Thanksgiving Going On Anyway" takes on a sort of natural glitch, with the manipulated sounds of creaking floors and moving furniture repeating and looping in sly ways while "Learned An Instrument" repeats the acoustic melody from the very opening track and filters it into warm modulation. Likewise, "Learning From Mistakes, Good (Not Fun)" takes a more experimental route, with soft drones washing over one another while "Ampola Dust" again features singing by Bousha that is cut up and manipulated. The simple phrase of "I Love You" becomes a breathy phrase of even more resonance as each syllable is pulled apart and filtered (and it doesn't hurt that Bousha has a good voice to begin with). Other than in a couple places, the disc doesn't really have many melodies or even songs (although the fairly straight recording of "I Don't Know" is close), and that alone may drive some listeners crazy. Like a good sound collage/field recording, though, it definitely evokes moments, and those will be different for each person who hears it.