Also recorded in 2005 but only recently released, “Allotropie” continues Costa Monteiro’s work with paper as a sound medium, heard previously on his “Paper Music” disc on Hazard. (The image above fails to do the packaging justice, but it’s an oversized sleeve with hand-cut horizontal slits) As before, without knowledge of the source, I daresay one would be hard-pressed to identify the whirlwind of sounds emerging from this disc as having anything remotely to do with paper. Presented as a single 20-minute track but divided into several discreet sections, he investigates very different sonic areas, from piercing high keens to breathy rumbles. At one point I was even wondering whether he’d set fire to something. The episodic nature of the disc inhibits the kind of powerful currents generated in the previous two, something I found a bit frustrating, but each portion, listened to on its own, has something unique and unusual to say.
Brian Olewnick, Bagatellen
If you plan a blindfold test for your know-it-all friends who pretend to identify everything experimental, subject them to this CD. There is no chance that they’ll guess the source used by Alfredo Costa Monteiro to bring out sounds that could be described as follows: polar wind, creaking knees, squeaking shoes, a bicycle seat that needs to be lubricated, drunk seagulls, echoing purrs, a walrus in love, the air current that precedes the arrival of a subway train, a hundred woodpeckers on cocaine, a violinist who put a finger in an electric socket and arcoes at 2000 km/h, ice skating on dying mice, horses running on crumbled concrete, chalk drawing on a blackboard, bionic chickens looking for seeds, water pressure in a malfunctioning toilet, amplified gas bubbles in a soda can while a car passes by, flanged Moto GP races. Make no mistake: this is only 30% of what you get in “Allotropie”, recorded testimony of “Concatenaciò”, a 2005 installation presented in Barcelona. The album is also another splendid example of what a real artist does, because he gives life to ideas rather than copying them. Costa Monteiro, whose creativity can’t probably be fully appreciated if you never saw him perform live, is one of those perennially ebullient brains that find a way to make music out of an instrument, a circuit or sheer inert matter, the results being always the same, namely refreshingly mind-bending sonic materials that are unluckily heard by a few hundred souls while they deserve a much wider attention. It’s great music, to be listened to while also getting energized from. That’s right, the source: different types of paper, without additional electronic treatment. Short and sharp. A genius.
Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes