sonic blue /travel
It was clear from the start of the composition process in February 2012 that “sonic blue” would be a key work in Angélica Castelló’s oeuvre. The 40-year-old composer, flutist and electronic sound designer from Mexico, who has for several years now been living in Vienna, embarked on an unusual journey with musikprotokoll co-curator Susanna Niedermayr, who is also the author of this feature. On the Lofoten archipelago, an island chain along Norway’s northern coastline, they met the biologist and bioacoustics researcher Heike Vester, who in 2005 founded the organisation Ocean Sounds in the fishing village Henningsvær. Vester led Castelló to the whales found in the waters around the Lofoten islands. The field recordings and sounds they collected on these boat trips provide the acoustic basis for “sonic blue”.
Under the Banner of Environmental Protection
Ocean Sounds is dedicated to the research of marine mammals and the protection of the marine environment. At the mouth of Vestfjord the oil industry continues to expand. During seismic surveys undertaken to find new oil and gas fields underwater detonations of compressed air create shockwaves. The vibrations that are reflected back provide information to map the location, density, shape and composition of the rock layers, but they are also a massive intervention in the natural soundworld of aquatic life.
Deep in Many Respects
With “sonic blue” the musician creates her own imaginary underwater world that immerses the audience into the great sea of sound produced by her subgreatbass recorder, Castelló’s main instrument. The composition process of this piece is an examination of the profound in yet another respect, for to Angélica Castelló the sea also symbolises the subconscious.
The feature documents the unusual process of creation involved in the making of a composition that was premiered at the ORF musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst festival on October 6.