To mark the closing cycle of this musical project, I asked some close and cherished people to write in review manner about the audio-visual universe called Lautaro. Each person has done so from where they preferred and has emerged the way they felt it.
Musicians, producers, vj’s, directors, friends, colleagues, listeners, and especially companions of this trip, participate in this retrospective contributing there gaze and support. Thank you so much!!!
Note: all who want to write something about this project that ends here, send me a few lines and I will add them !!!
Nothing beats an accompanied farewell!
Jorge Crowe / Laboratorio del Juguete
At this time, while listening to Lautaro´s record, I think about all options that, voluntarily, at the time of creation, he leaves out of his work.
Whilst he is modelling sound like a type of expansive and corporeal matter, he deliberately avoids two giant temptations: rhythm and melody.
I have no doubt that is in the gesture he has an air of defiance, but this imposes even harder on me the figure of the monk. The Man, that in his path to knowledge, renounces to pleasures and distractions to enter an enigma. A kick in black and a beautiful arpeggio are demons whispering to his ears, generating the desire to leave the track, to rest in the comfort of the familiar, in the approval of an audience, in the undeniable desire to please.
But Lautaro, in his spirit, moves into a thorny territory uncomfortable for him and for those who hear. The cuteness is the enemy of beauty and while the first patina is pure absence in his tracks (no, Lauta, your music is not pretty, and you know it), with glimpses from brightness of the second here and there, complex, ineffable and makes me remember things, with the memory of the body rather than the head. Things that happened and things that dididnt, things I do not know, it does not matter. Among those that did happen to me, I remember three or four experiences from my youth. It happened late at night, just before falling asleep. Fully aware, something like my soul left my body and watched from above my room, myself sleeping, the bed, the things. The experience scared me enough to go and tell a doctor who told me that they are called “outer body experiences” and are more common than you think. The strongest memory I recall is the way these “trips” began, a huge crescendo of noise inside my head, like a thousand people stepping on a thousand dry leaves from a thousand forests. The noise filled everything, expelling me outwards. Since then, when I hear a noise artist as Lautaro, my thoughts, my feelings are directed toward what is outside the body, which no explanation or reason is left, what some call God.
Later in life, I passed by those outer body experiences consciously, through deep meditation. And here again the monk appears, sunk in his path of Consciousness. The silence and the noise are the two ends of the same bridge to That. Lautaro searching, probing, investigates, using both a Tibetan bowl as well as a Gameboy because things are things and the artist / alchemist is who makes them sacred. In to his paved road I slip in while I listen, to approach that has no answer or explanation. Decline to understand does not mean stop asking. Quite the contrary.
Marcelo Acosta / Los Sabios Duendes
I know Lautaro Zabala for 15 years, giving me the privilege of seeing pregnancy, birth and development of the project called “Lautaro”. Since its inception Lautaro always had a strong commitment to a creative search, content and a symbolic message of his work. That same commitment today leads him to listen to that inner voice asking him to close a stage to be able to open another, which does not mean forgetting everything done so far, because as my teacher of composition Ricardo Capellano said, the work of an artist is not the composition of a record or an isolated album, the work of an artist is all he composes throughout his life, as if each peace, each composition, formed various movements of the great master peace.
Best wishes for the next movement.
Victor Arce / LxTxCx
Lautaro makes sounds that most people (speaking only statistically, numbers and trends) find “weird”, strange music that is situated radically at the opposite end to the most known type of music. Maybe it’s a matter of taste.
It is very curious to see how a person’s taste can change. I, for one, have also found myself without understanding art or understand many things, deciding that “I did not like them”. A time ago I did not like “noise” music, did not understand or it seemed strange. Today I see myself specifically looking for things that break my head somehow and manage to wallow. That is why I also believe that a person’s tastes do not change that much and actually what changes is there open-mindedness. Opening your mind is to open your taste, in a way.
In Lautaro´s music there are aspects that come into play which are not normally don’t have a main role in “mainstream music”, music that is more likely to be heard in the world, the dominant trend. Aspects that today, as I have opened my mind more than yesterday, do interest me.
The textures, silence, noise and drones, the tension of the least saturated areas in the song, repeating elements in contrast with “unique items” that appear only once in the track and never are heard again. The thought about frequencies and how we perceive them in a different way to others.
After all musical taste is a bit like frequencies, there will be some that interest you more than others, some will give you a headache and others will be your undisputed favourite, but it’s logical that you will miss many frequencies if you don’t broaden your hearing range. For our ears this is difficult, but for our mind it is possible. Expand your range, listen to Lautaro! Abstract Expressionism in audio form.
PS: A few years ago I stumbled across by chance with the cover of “Leftraru” (2010) looking throw Lowtoy´s website, I was surprised by that rare man walking through rubble with feathers on his head on the main page, and today I am sharing projects with him. If that is not a change of frequency let me be strike by lightning, or get electrocuted next week doing circuit-bending.
Manu Retamero / Lautstärke
That Lautaro is a reference in the Gameboy / odd machines scene is no secret. Nor that no one had sought low fidelity sonorities like him. That he has been a very important pillar keeping the experimental chiptune scene alive too.
What you might all not know is that all he has done was not only with an artistic spirit, but with all his heart and soul on fire. Without poetic and allegorical Mandango. I really mean it.
Javier Polo / Europe In 8bits
“End and Beginning”
My dear fellow companion of travel in this beautiful and crazy world, Lautaro, asked me to write a few words about his musical project and here we find our self, my pen, a bit of paper face to face. Everything is ready: Let the fight begin!
This endearing magician of sound came into my house back in 2012 and the first thing he was met with was an armed robbery by two cameras and a microphone. Something bad-mannered of me as he was very tired, but that would ultimately prove crucial to the future of our roads.
After stealing his knowledge, his way of understanding life, his ideas and especially his artistic concerns, I had no choice but to visit the sorcerer at his shelter. That’s when I got to really understand his music and his art. It was at that moment, going over his creative processes and his sonic experiments with him, when I got to abstract for a second from everything around me and I left my mind free. Today I still remember that feeling perfectly.
That day I realized that his songs are not made to be heard while one is concentrating on other things, nor to get to dance or party. They go much further and require your full attention to be truly enjoyed.
His music should be herd live or alone, with a good pair of headphones and eyes tightly shut. That’s how you get to feel the way he manages to upset you, get you on edge and dominate you and then move you to another place where you think you are no longer alone, a new environment of electronic landscapes wherethere are different hidden items that you need to discover bit by bit. It is a magical and wild adventure.
This compilation reviews the beginning and the end of his musical project and although all are not here, nor are all that they are, it is a journey that I invite you without hesitation. Now is the time to accompany him and enjoy his legacy.
Julian Carrara / Two Games One Boy
I sit down to master a record and the phase analyzer begins to draw geometric shapes and spirals (WTF ?!). I close my eyes and I’m suddenly transported to a world of sound full of hypnotic mantras and electronic beings that clearly are not inert. Some are friendly, others wake monsters.
After listening to the entire sequence of tracks, I return to my seat not at all indifferent to the journey that I had made me through the world of Lautaro.
Pav Lov / Co Mu
We met Lautaro in the last decade via Micromusic.net, that great network that grouped those for which obsolete technology remains a valid tool.
We took the opportunity of a visit to Buenos Aires he made to invite him to participate in one of the first 8 bit music events we organized (2007, Goto Start). We just had started when Lautaro had been working for some time with these tools. His live set at that time consisted of mixed Gameboys, synthesizers and modified photosensitive DIY toys.
At a time when the stylistic definitions had not turned into stagnant compartments, Lautaro played fluently between the characteristic circuit bending tools and chipmusic tools, as if they were part of the same desire to do things differently: distancing from the latest technologies, building his own instruments and modifying tools of the recent past.
His musical proposal was distinguished from all that we knew previously as 8bit music. The social representation built on this scene did not work to embrace the music of Lautaro, there was no trace of that playful and bouncy sound. However the recreational component was there, improvisation and incorporating random chance as part of the game. Pulsating waves are transformed into corrosive noise that at moments become entangled with microtones, which at the same time are constructing sentences in their own dialect. A flow of frequencies ranging from mantra to chaos to return to where they started.
To hear him without knowing his role as promoter, activist and coordinator of collective organizations would be not to understand a very important part of his work. From his residence is Spain he supported the growth and development of the Argentine chipmusic and circuit bending scene, stretching links, disarming conflicts, organizing the group Chip.ar and promoting the exchange of Argentine artists with their European counter partners. Founder of the Barcelonian netlabel Lowtoy, also occupied a key role in the propagation of 8bit, experimental and European DIY scene by organizing cycles, giving workshops and facilitating artists the necessary hardware.
Transmut gathers tracks that were previously included in various compilations, being outside their four albums. This album marks the end of a stage, opening the way for a new territory that Lautaro senses but still cannot assert.
The Lo-fi technology creates environments where glitches appear as a wave. The sound of drones as bombs fall in to the centre of micro-modulations and a circuit-bended gameboy. Oscillations that rise to finish in white noise.
All these audio gadgets, as he likes to call them, are those who Lautaro is leaving behind.
Raúl Berrueco / Vj Entter
“To make all possible errors – Lautaro 2007-2015”
I find it extremely difficult to write about sound art and music, the language of words has little or nothing to do with music. There is no link more than the title between winter and Vivaldi’s famous music peace. According to the writer and neurologist Oliver Sachs’ the listening experience has no concepts, it doesn’t elaborate proposals; it has no images, symbols, lacks the material that forms the language. Lacks representation, bears no rational relationship to the world.
If anything ill say is that Lautaro Zabala´s project now coming to an end, has been a conscious and amazing journey parallel to reality that is acoustics, hand to hand with improvisation and experimentation. Mostly solo and in some moments accompanied by Manu Retamero in the side project ‘Lautstärke’. As a result we find ourselves with a complex sound map, topographed over the past eight years in various cuts scattered that at first sight seems difficult to put in order. The guide to the impossible map that is made up by discography, concerts and Lautaro´s parallel activities (Lowtoy) passes through the acceptance of the attitude of ‘DIY’ and share it, as well as the poetry of resistance in a world hyper -dumbed and commercialized to the core, where everything is bought and everything is sold.
Experiments sprung neither from the industry nor the school but from the culture of free software and hardware, from circuit bending and street markets, from the day to day, casual, neighbourhood of Poble Nou, the exchange of ideas in Espai Niu or Hangar as well as in other virtual spaces of global networks. From all that and from the radical use of tools and various non-instruments. Walky-talkies, bronze bowls, gameboy, bended devices, filters and DIY synths … artefacts of a venturesome village of chaos and glitches.
Lautaro tames errors. He never worries about anything. Doesn’t sleep enough. Talks with his mouth full, interrupts, and speaks in a higher tone. He saturates at social gatherings. He makes more and better noise than the rest. More the better. Looks for excellence in all atonal areas of life. He turns up background noise and anarchy and lowers the rest. Lautaro doesn’t go to parties. Neither flushes. Makes all possible errors and the impossible ones too. Never reads music press. He only watches deli and Bábara polka television documentaries. Spends his salary on random games. Emits acustic contamination at political gatherings. Vomits on the director´s tie.
Lautaro performs experiments and never rights down the results. Always uses devices for what they’re not used for. Doesn’t trust music in general. Goes to work in a UFO and parks it in double row. Hugs chaos in the morning and after getting up pinches its bottom.
Lautaro End and Beginning.
NEW REVIEWS! (AFTER TRANSMUT PUBLICATION )
Raül Peix / Ralp
A few years ago that I know Lautaro. I met him at the beginning of 2007, if I remember correctly, in a party of MicroBCN at the Caixaforum. At the time I was just putting the head in the scene 8 bit, and flip with those rare guys on the stage, making music with Game Boys and strange devices, and making dance and live emotion to the public.
Since those days we started to fraternize, I discovered his particular world and artistic personality. I immediately saw that him was looking for something different. Something that went beyond the aesthetic or the trend, and that exploring unconventional territories.
During these 8 years I have been enjoying closely the Lautaro project, both solo and with subATAK group and the duo Lautstärke. Big fan of them all!
In my opinion, Lautaro creations have brought the Chip music to another level. His own way of research, to use and to give a new dimension to the low fidelity sound, his passion, and the use of Circuit Bending and DIY on his productions, placed him in a unique location and with very few rivals.
Drones, noises, glitches, textures, frequencies, harmonics, minimalism, darkness, chaos… A whole universe of sonic experimentation made with obsolete technology, homemade gadgets, and modified electronics toys.
A restless mind wanting to explore, transmit and teach. Without fear of risk taking or unknown.
Lautaro musical project has come to an end, and I can’t help but feel a little sad to think about it. But while I’m sure all this only means a change of cycle to enter a new creative journey, full of experimentation. Perhaps under a new alias, perhaps with new tools and new methods, but quite sure for the better.
Because life is happening every moment and each moment is constantly changing… the smartest thing you can do is to open your ears right away and hear a sound… just before your mind has any chance to turn it into logical, abstract or symbolic.
Paco Cero / PaK-ZerO
“Hey man sup?, I’m PaK-Zer0, Lautaro, right?”
“That’s it, nice to meet you, you’ll play tomorrow night, right?”
“Yeah sure, let’s see what happens! hahahaha, you’ll be playing in a few, right?, what do you do in your set?”
“Yeah right, I’m going to do a small set with the gameboy just to fill the gap between the guys (Snail and Ralp), but just a small set, I don’t want to scare the audience”
April 2011: With a little bit of story making and pulling the memories in my head, that could be the very first conversation between Lautaro and me. In the same weekend I was lucky enough to get his phone number from him and still being able be friends with him after that sunday I fried his cell phone call after call telling him “I’m almost there” lost in the Pumarejo, on my way to the laboratorio de intr:muros for a piggy tracker class, where the workshops of the infamous/marvelous Familiar Festival #100 edition took place.
Let’s roll back to that friday night when we met: Just after that brief chitchat, Lautaro went to the intimate and now legendary stage of “El rancho” and started to deliver the goods. Until that moment, I’ve been 3 years in the realms of the square wave and all that micromusic jazz, maybe that weekend I’ve been formally introducted to circuit bending, but my ears were used to the beauty of the atonal buzzsaw noise. Or so I thought.
After just plugging in his gameboy, with just a clock mod and without any effects, what I started to hear was the strangest sounds that I heard until that very moment. To the point that maybe 5 seconds earlier I though that I knew what kind of sounds could I expect from the gameboy sound pallette and I was realizing how wrong I was. The glass that contained all my bravado were broken and shattered to pieces in a scarce 8 minute set. I wasn’t PaK-Zer0, I left my identity and my surroundings on the way for these 8 minutes to be the witness of the development of a scene in front of my eyes. I was witness of the technologic fallout, I was there hearing what you’ll hear if you were the last human on earth, after devastating wars, locked in a bunker and hearing how machines were adquiring new life glitch after glitch.
When I heard the news about Lautaro’s project ending, my head went to remember that classic philosophy cliché: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”, and I thought, if Lautaro ceases to exists, would it be the end for all the worlds he created?
I was lucky enough to be part of that worlds, now we have the chance (I would say the duty) to keep them alive in our hearts.