by Peter Aaron
I really dig the weird work of Chatham, New York, sound artist and musician Al Margolis, whose releases under the name If, Bwana have been reviewed by me in Chronogram over the years. Margolis has released much of his music, as well as that of adventurous composers and musicians like Pauline Oliveros, Noah Creshevsky, Nate Wooley, Lou Cohen, Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), and more obscure artists, on his own Pogus Productions label.
A recent standout offering on Pogus is Tensions at the Vanguard: New Music from Peru (1948-1979), a two-CD set curated by writer, journalist, and sound poet Luis Alvarado. With a 24-page booklet that includes an essay giving an overview of the works, the composers, and the musical and social setting of the times (in both Spanish and English), the album presents some of the most important pieces of the early Peruvian avant garde. Tensions at the Vanguard’s 13 lengthy and strange electronic, tape, and electroacoustic tracks show that the South American nation’s torrid climate wasn’t the only thing heating up the landscape back in the day. Who’da thunk? For a sampling, just open your ears to this excerpt from Leopoldo La Rosa’s 1969 work “Andes No.1”: