Pedro Tudela - La Ou Je Dors (Cronica)

Stealthily sneaking onto our radar screens last year, the Cronica label came to our attention not from the usual myriad of music magazines and our associate sound freaks, but rather from a few art student acquaintances from Goldsmiths College. That alone should immediately tell you something about the overall direction of this promising new Portuguese label. Based in Porto, Cronica has been around for around two years now, existing as a true multimedia environment rather than just a record label. Think Warp with The Designers Republic exclusively making music videos or Tomato incorporating a full time record label and film company, and you're on the right track.

Going far beyond the typical DJ/Producer base, the Cronica label bases its musical output firmly in the world of art, and although electronic in nature, its overall sound is determined by the individual processes of its artists and collaborators rather than any pre-conceived ideology, influence or mission statement

Pedro Tudela is one of the label's co-founders and has been an active participant in both the Portuguese and European art community for almost two decades now, working in a variety of mediums from video to traditional canvas based work.

This latest project of his is a soundtrack to a commissioned dance piece by Portuguese choreographer Isabel Barros. Inspired by the text of Maurice Blanchot's "The Dream, The Night", Tudela followed the rehearsals, recording sounds and images of the dancers and then after three months of editing and sound processing, the results were mixed together to create this release.

The first thing that you notice both about Tudela's work and the Cronica label in general is that this is no amateur operation. La Ou Je Dors is a sonic masterpiece, densely packed with layer after layer of intriguing sounds and sampled loops that come from the heart, not some pre-packaged piece of software.

For example, "Playing" could be an anonymous stripped down remix of Autechre's Gantz Graf; "Dream Seller" could be Ritchie Hawtin remixed by Missing Foundation.

" Figures That Fall Apart" reminds one of some of the more dissonant Teletype transmissions that used to be sent on shortwave radio. From there on in, the CD scratches and rolls around stealing bits from many genres; industrial noise, granular effects processing and deep techno, all thrown together at odd angles to create a very unique and genuinely inspired sound.

Tudela's mastery of DSP effects and audio production is evident and he easily outshines most (if not all) of the recent powerbook brigade with the depth and scale of the soundscapes presented herein. Like the Cronica label he helped found, Tudela has amassed an impressive body of work that marches firmly to its own beat.

A truly captivating and stunning release from a label that is very much at the top of our list at the moment.

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