Alfredo Costa Monteiro
NYX is a live piece combining real-time and pre-
recorded turntable manipulations and environmental
sounds which were carefully selected for their particular
grain and relevance. The live and pre-recorded sounds
are mixed together in such a way that they become
almost indistinguishable from one another. The piece
on the whole attempts to convey the telluric forces
present in darkness.
Alfredo Costa Monteiro is a Portugese artist living and
working in Barcelona. He plays accordion, electric guitar,
turntable, electro-acoustic devices and resonant objects.
Alfredo Costa Monteiro (E174)
Photo by Dimitra Lazaridou Chatzigoga
NYX is a tense, nervous affair that often breaks out into
really very violent moments of sharp, abrasive noise.
For the most part the sounds we hear are subtle, gentle
lulls and rumbling, growling textures, but these stop
and start in slabs, which feel almost randomly placed
like a small child’s building blocks. Every so often though
a brittle, barbed crackle might rip across the textures,
or a sudden hit of white noise will appear, often cutting
dead as sharply as it began, leaving deep hollows in the
music in the spaces they vacate.
There is a deeply angry feel to this thirty-seven minute
piece, but rather than building steadily into the usual all-
out assault that noise music often slides into, NYX stops
and starts, broods and sulks, luring the listener into
a false sense of safety before hitting them again.
The sounds here are mostly familiar, grainy static and
electro-acoustic hisses, the sound of a turntable cartridge
passing over rough surfaces, the whine of feedback
and the uncertainty of electronic screeches but the
intensity of the music comes from the construction of
the work, which is carefully composed to make the most
of the jarring effect that each sound enters and exits with.
If Costa Monteiro set out to portray something of the
depth and qualities of darkness then he has achieved it
here. Listening carefully is a bit like wandering around
unfamiliar narrow streets in the dark. Every little sound
alerts you, everything feels alive, and turning a corner
to be suddenly faced by a dramatic noise, as happens
several times in this album frightens you out of your
skin. Maybe not one for those of a nervous disposition
then, but an enjoyable ride for the rest of us.
Richard Pinnell at The Watchful Ear
[NYX] is split into three sections of pronounced activity,
bracketed with quiet tactile cracklings emerging from
silence. In each of these sections, rarefied tones echo
through magnetic hums and muffled howls, looking as
if they build as a gradual crescendo;however, Monteiro
upends these trajectories with harsh bursts of sibilant
noise and scabrous metallic scrapings. The interplay
between all of the sound elements is both cryptic and
dynamic, while never overworked through effects or
treatments. Electroacoustics in fine style.
Jim Haynes in The Wire