da camp is the second release from Edu Comelles and Rafa Ramos Sania after their debut Botánica de Balcón (Archives Label). A work of pure simplicity and sparsity, da camp (from the land in Catalan) is a micro-exploration of the sound of plants found in the outskirts of their home town of Valencia. Most of these compositions are the result of an ongoing exchange, with “bleda” previously released on a charity compilation from El Muelle Records.
Comelles’s sound lies between the acoustic, the electronic and the experimental, with a body of multifaceted work spanning album releases on various labels including Impulsive Habitat and Fluid Audio. The director of the Audiotalaia platform since 2007, he is also active in installations, educational and curatorial work. Rafa Samos Sania is a multi-instrumentalist with a wide repertoire of releases ranging from jazz, rock and electronic to classical and early music.
Their collaboration on da camp is extraordinary, as a fine balance is found between Comelles’s micro-electronincs and field recordings and Ramos Sania’s expressive use of double-bass, cello, guitar, music box and other found objects. At the heart of da camp lies a convivial, highly-textured and detailed atmosphere that draws the listener closer to imagining the acoustic scenes performed in each track. The listener develops a form of empathy towards the colours, shades and movements of each plant. da camp is a solitary journey, echoing the work of writers like Henry David Thoreau, Woolf, de Nerval and Macfarlane.
Valencia natives Comelles and Ramos Sania design with delicate gestures the contours of each composition. Opener “Argilaga” operates on a bright, lightweight, major palette with gentle and soothing movements on the cello and double bass and repetitive phrases of carefully crafted electronic sounds. The listener is transferred to the inner makings of a fully blossomed argilaga, with its long yellow stems opening towards the sun. Pieces like “murta” are reminiscent of composers like Max Richter, as layered ethereal, lamenting passages cohabit with their reimagined reflections. “Heura” is subtle and delicate, while closer “lantanta” is wide, colourful and generous, slowly unfolding towards the listener like the flower itself.
Antonio Vivaldi, in Four Seasons, did not shy away from expressing all that was happening around him, acknowledging the beauty, the colours, the sounds, the drama of our natural world and the stillness of our surroundings. The same can be said about composers like Debussy or even Satie. The world of da camp echoes the sincerity of these attempts to record glimpses of experience through another medium, but also recalls at times the solace or the sombre tones found in the work of composers like Arvo Pärt, Richard Skelton, Colleen or Yann Novak. da camp offers a wonderful listening experience and an excellent sequel to the duo’s equally incredible debut. (Maria Papadomanolaki)