Night Studies –Felipe Otondo


This is Felipe Otondo’s second album, the long awaited sequel to Tutuguri, from 2013. Anyone who already had Tutuguri has doubtless already bought Night Studies, probably several months ago, that’s how out-of-date this review is. (And that’s how eager Otondo fans were to get his next album.) But reviews aren’t really for people who already own what’s being reviewed, but for people who have yet to buy them. For those people, I would first say “buy Tutuguri. If you love your ears, buy Tutuguri.” As you know, Asymmetry Music Magazine was almost completely destroyed last year, and as time goes by, the articles that used to populate its pages will begin, slowly, to reappear. Since these two albums by Otondo are related, this seemed a good time to repost Asymmetry’s review of the first album. I would write it differently today. I would try to be more accurate in describing the sounds, and I would praise it more highly. But that’s as may be.

The first thing I thought when I first listened to Night Studies was that I was in a familiar sound world, one I knew already from having been listening to Tutuguri over the past five years. And while it is true that there are similar sounds, similar phrases, and similar uses of percussion, subsequent listens will convince you, I am sure, that the three night studies are quite remarkably different from any of the four pieces that make up Tutuguri. Not better, different. And different is, of course, a very good thing in a composer, I think. I also am sure that once you’ve gotten a copy of both, you will be twice as happy as you were before you had neither.

I’m only offering one clip from Night Studies, the first two minutes of the first one, but I will say that if I were so inclined, I could give you a detailed study (as it were) of how cunningly and intricately these three pieces are connected to each other. You can easily hear all that for yourselves, and I’m sure that if you buy one of these discs, you will also buy the other, and so will easily hear how clearly the two albums are related—and how vastly different they are. Otondo is a genuinely fresh voice and has something genuinely new to say in each piece he writes.

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