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About the Artist
Presspectives

VOLAVÉRUNT

Luis Tabuenca

Duration 38.30 | Released April 2014

Based on Francisco Goya's prints "Los Caprichos " —

Zulaima Boheto / cello and voice (tracks 3,6,8,9) | Alberto de la Fuente / piano (tracks 6,8,9) |

Eva Lootz / voice and text (track 2) | Pablo Pardo / saxophones (tracks 1,4,8,9) |

David Romero / clarinets (tracks 1,4,6,8,9) | Luis Tabuenca / percussion (tracks 1,2,4,5,7,8)

RECORDED IN JUNE 25TH AND DECEMBER 4TH, 2013 AT BURGOS CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC (SPAIN) BY SERGI GRAS AND IGNACIO MONTERRUBIO

About the Artist

Percussionist/improviser Luis Tabuenca was born in Zaragoza, Spain. For the past years he has focused on contemporary percussion music both as a performer and a teacher. Tabuenca is also an emerging artist in the improvising scene. He has been recently named head of the Percussion Department at the Burgos Conservatory. He studied in Europe and USA with Steven Schick, Miquel Bernat, and George Elie Octors. He is former member of the Red Fish Blue Fish Ensemble (USA), the Jeunesses Musicales International Orchestra, and the Ensemble Reserche Academy (Germany), among others. He has toured in Europe, Asia, North and South America, and he has played in several music festivals either as a solo player or together with other artists. Tabuenca has recorded for Aural Terrains , Mode Records, RTVE, RAI and Verso. He has been honored in percussion competitions and awarded by the Government of Aragon, the Ministry of Culture of Spain, and the Fulbright Commission. Luis Tabuenca is founder and Artistic Director of the experimental music festival Audio Tangente FAT in Burgos, Spain.

Picture of Luis Tabuenca

Presspectives

Eyal Hareuveni — All About Jazz — 23.12.14

As a performer and composer, Spanish percussionist Luis Tabuenca focuses on the contemporary and experimental, blurring distinctions between improvised and composed music. He has studied in esteemed modern ensembles such as the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the Ensemble Recherche and he has written music for solo percussion, contemporary dance, documentaries and visual artists. 

Volavérunt is based on the Spanish artist Francisco Goya's print series "Los Caprichos," created in 1797 and '98. Goya used these prints to condemn the universal follies and foolishness in Spanish society, referring to the predominance of superstition, the ignorance and inabilities of various members of the ruling class, and the decline of rationality. Some of the prints even have anticlerical themes. 

Each of the nine pieces is based on one of Goya's prints, and each offers a different spirit and compositional strategy. In some of the pieces Tabuenca emphasized completely defined elements, while on others he left decisions to the musicians, enabling them to influence outcomes with their own individual language. 

Tabuenca succeeded in beautifully balancing the composed and improvised elements. Eva Lootz's suggestive vocals on "Tántalo," charge the piece with mysterious tension. The wild, playful solo vocals and cello improvisations of Zulaima Boheto on "Chitón" are simply inspiring. Tabuenca's quiet, meditative solo vibes on "Correción" and the nervous percussion work on "Autorretrato" are masterful pieces that juggle between thoughtful composed elements, subtle sonic searches and creative, intuitive, improvised freedom full of nuanced drama, arresting tension and vibrant colors. The whole ensemble turns the title piece into quiet, resonating sound poem that lingers in mind long after its end. 

Highly original, unique work.

Matt Schulz — The Squid's Ear — 01.03.2016

Volaverunt is based on the master painter Francisco Goya's print series Los Caprichos. “Ya Es Hora” begins with lamenting horns and tip-tapping percussion, quickly giving way to Eva Lootz's spoken words. Strings lazily bow underneath, squeaking as they ebb in and out of rhythm. It's fractured and sparse until Eva's voice returns and devolves into a series of sound effects. Later she engages with the bass in a duel that features such amazing unison lines that it's either tightly composed or a truly heroic display of improvisational facility. Finally the horns return, brief and frenzied, signaling the other musicians to join in a full-scale blowout of ensemble interplay closer to free jazz.

“Soplones” opens with fluttering, screeching bass clarinet and prepared piano innards. Solemn emotions emerge with fingered and barely blown woodwinds mingling with vibrating piano wires. Like Goya's print of the same name, it's foreboding and sinister. “Autorretrato “, which ironically means “self portrait” in Spanish, explodes with muted traps punching out cells of time via toms and hi hat. This is a masterful percussion solo that builds to a boil in several movements before receding to a simmer... a melee of broken meter punctuated by spectral cymbals and low resonating tones.. The title track “Volavurent” glides in gracefully with sustained contemplative drones smearing dissonance at will. “Unos A Otros” begins with fragmented piano chords and sustained horn notes hanging at different angles. The crashing chords dance with strings and insistent, deep woodwinds, culminating in giant chords and drones; the woodwinds returns with a more scattered approach, with freely blowing sax riding atop. The piece is composed of several short movements that seem to end the record on an unresolved note. Goya's prints were made in the 1700s as a comment on the then-current Spanish society, and Tabuenca's interpretations do the artists' critiques justice in the modern era. Highly recommended if you are a fan of percussion music and exploratory vocal music.