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Beatriz Ferreyra
Canto+ Vanessa Ague , July 30th, 2021 09:16

Formerly of the GRM, Beatriz Ferreyra's latest collection for Room40 proves a subtle and bewitching take on textural electroacoustics, finds Vanessa Ague

Recordings of Beatriz Ferreyra’s electronic compositions have historically been hard to come by, but lately, her music has begun to reach a wider audience. In 2015, Ferreyra’s work with the pioneering musique concrète organization, Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), was featured on a Recollection GRM retrospective record, bringing new attention to her practice. In 2020, Echoes+ – a Room40 record that centered on searching for meaning in mortality – further launched her music into the fore, as did a 2020 Persistence of Sound album titled Huellas Entreveradas. Canto+, another Room40 release, is next in line, presenting an eclectic range of pieces from the past four decades of Ferreyra’s long career. The five-track album is short and sweet, providing a quick and comprehensive glimpse into the range of Ferreyra’s music.

Ferreyra’s compositions don't rely on complex patterns or dense thickets of sound in order to entrance listeners. Rather, she allows notes to unfold at their leisure. Intricacy comes from the textures she layers and mashes – crunches and twinkles, piercing rings and fuzzy hums. Canto+ succeeds at uniting an eclectic mix of her music, highlighting her eye for simplicity. Some tracks on the album are punchy and futuristic, while others live in a chilling limbo, but all channel Ferreyra’s ability to slow down and reap the benefits from every single moment.

Each piece on Canto+ exhibits a painstaking attention to detail: every bounce and pluck and hum feels expertly placed, and it’s evident that Ferreyra is as comfortable creating buoyancy as she is liminality. ‘Étude aux sons flegmatiques’ features sparse ringing that floats in a distant background as haunted sounds murmur underneath, while ‘Canto del Loco’ opens the album with bouncy shooting stars that ripple across layers of robotic chimes. The music easily transforms from bright timbres to forlorn rumination, even with just a few notes.

There’s also personal motivation hidden amongst Ferreyra’s futuristic sounds – ‘Jingle Bayle’s’ and ‘Au revoir l’Ami’ are both dedications to close friends, and Echo+ centred her niece’s harrowing life story. That intimacy is subtle in her music, yet ever-present: her meticulous details, and fine touch, make her music feel like it’s connected to a deeper humanity. Ferreyra has been working in electronic music since the 1960s – to encapsulate her practice into one album seems quite impossible. But Canto+ centres on the most critical parts of her compositions, reminding us that there’s care in every aspect of her music, from the minutiae to the philosophical.