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Santiago Latorre - "Órbita"

Barcelona-based studio engineer and saxophonist Santiago Latorre's final year university project saw him tackle the sonification of the human genome. For his debut albun, Orbita, he swaps microscope for telescope and joins the swirl of the celestial dancefloor. A mix of elegant jazz and gentle electronica, Orbita, ostensibly inspired by the planet's rotation and the unavoidable progress of time, its cyclical melodies departing i the flush of youth and returning with careworn faces and crumpled edges. 'Canon; sets the theme, its fresh hearty sax tones slowly twisting into an atonal tangle. The title of "Le Sobrevive. Le Sobrevive La Todo La Frialdad,' turns from an individual chant into a crowd cry and'Vajando En Rosa' warps and wobbles from glassy tones into accordion, waltzing forward like diamond anniversary tea dancers. So the planets turn. But Orbita is less a dispassionate memento mori than a warm, optimistic hymn to experience.

     - Abi Bliss, plan b

Santiago Latorre is a musician and sound engineer who lives and works in Barcelona. On Orbita, he has combined sax, accordion, piano, voice and synth. Is it jazz? Is it electronic? Gorgeous sounds and textures are put together in an original way.

     - Cousin Mary, KFJC

Barcelona born and bred Santiago Latorre began playing the saxophone at eleven, but it is not until he developed an interest for electronic music, some years later, that he became involved in sonic experimentation. Since, he has composed music for various dance, theatre, fashion and videos projects. In 2005, Latorre also began working on his own solo project, which is collected on his debut album, Órbita, released on San Diego, CA, based imprint Accretions Records.

Using both saxophone and electronics as a basis for his compositions, upon which he also adds accordion, piano, and, occasionally, voice, to create delicately layered pieces, Latorre has created with his debut album a highly personal work. Not truly rooted in experimental jazz, yet never veering far from it, Órbita offers moments where Latorre experiments freely, as on album opener Canon, where multiple instances of saxophone swirl around each other to create an increasingly dense and hypnotic theme, or Le Sobrevive, Le Sobrevive A Toda La Frialdad, where Latorre continuously repeats the title of the piece while two, then three distinct saxophone motifs flourish in the backdrop. On Despedida, Latorre plays with loops sequences and repetition, progressively gathering layers as the track progresses, rising from nothing but specs of noise to dense clusters of sax, while treated electronics are left bubbling in the back.

Elsewhere, the experimentation is reigned in to let more straightforward pieces provided breathing spaces. The title track, with its cheap Casiotone backdrop and gentle melody, played first on sax alone, then on both sax and accordion, appears curiously out of touch with pretty much the rest of the record, but later, when Latorre dispenses the peaceful and warm Viajando En Rosa, there is no doubt left that this album can accommodate both trends without causing much contradiction.

While the album was recorded in just a few months, back in the first half of 2006, it has taken until now for Latorre to release it. Órbita occasionally suffers from a slight lack of focus, but it remains a rather lovely record, its creative angles often generating some truly sumptuous moments, well worth giving it more than a passing chance.

     - themilkman

Órbita, by sound engineer Santiago Latorre, another Barcelonian, calls to mind Bill Evans' Conversations with Myself or Moon (an indie sci-fi film in which an astronaut plays ping-pong with his clone), both works that use studio 'overdubbing' to patch in interactive doppelgangers. The opener, "Canon", is just that, with four separate alto sax lines echoing each other in orderly succession, becoming more disorderly as the track progresses. Much of the disc could be perfect accompaniment for a rave, undulating 'washes' of robotic blips, trance beats, industrial-strength bass, white-noise snowstorms, reverse loops, ghostly calliopes and a grab-bag of synthesized sound effects. The techno pastiche is humanized by improvised alto saxes and acoustic and electric pianos, often layered in complementary pairs.

     - Tom Greenland, all about Jazz New York

La grâce, tout simplement, et comme il en parle bien lui même je laisse la parole à son site : "Órbita parle de ce qui tourne et évolue, toujours le même voyage constamment changeant, vieillir, mourir lentement. Comme une planète qui se déplace autour du soleil, chaque piste repasse par le même endroit un certain nombre de fois, mais chaque fois quelque chose est arrivé, un an a passé."

"En 2005 il s'est mis à travailler sur ses projets personnels, à la recherche de structures cycliques, de mélodies enveloppantes et de structures subtiles. Il a utilisé des couches de sax, d'accordéon, de piano, de voix et de sons synthétiques pour progressivement construire et déconstruire les pistes."

Le résultat est un disque d'une présence à la fois forte et diffuse, goûteux jusqu'à l'écœurement parfois, qui va et vient dans l'espace comme des nappes de brouillard, quelque chose de très ancien et tout nouveau, comme un objet déniché chez un brocanteur réveille d'autres échos quand on l'introduit dans la maison.

     - Noël Tachet, Improjazz

Orbita, per l'etichetta indie Accretions, è il primo CD di Santiago Latorre, sassofonista e ingegnere del suono, che vive e lavora a Barcellona.

Latorre fa tutto da sé. Usa diversi registri di sassofoni, fisarmonica, piano, voce; poi sintetizza i suoni composti per arrivare, progressivamente, a montare e smontare i suoi pezzi. L'andamento è orbitale. La musica è gioco, sperimentazione e invenzione di nuovi suoni. Pulviscoli di stelle che si diperdono nell'etere, le nove "orbite" sono luminose e sottili, raggianti e armoniche.

I suoni, come fossero pezzi di Lego colorati, sono assemblati da Latorre seguendo una traiettoria precisa, sempre leggera e sottile:

"Orbita gira e avanza, fa sempre lo stesso cammino e sempre lo cambia, invecchia e muore a poco a poco. Come un pianeta che ruota intorno al Sole, ogni pezzo torna allo stesso posto varie volte. Ogni volta tuttavia qualcosa è passato, un anno si è lasciato alle spalle..."

Magico come un mondo nuovo, sottile e delicato in tutte le sue sfumature, malinconico e allegro, Latorre può essere considerato una rivelazione.

     - Francesca Odilia Bellino, All About Jazz Italia

On Accretions comes the debut CD of multi-instrumentalist composer Latorre, from Barcelona. The first piece - "Canon" - is gorgeous, a superimposition of reeds reminiscent of Urban Sax; this piece deserves accolades. Unfortunately the rest of the disc is not always on the same level, alternating deeper intuitions with excessively trouble-free materials whose melodic content is nearer to easy listening that avant-garde. As the man is specialized in writing music for different kinds of artistic expression - theatre, dance, fashion and video-art - the inhomogeneous typology of record must be probably attributed to this reason. There's excessive inequality from a track to the other in terms of profundity and sonic intrigue to consider this a proper concept; it's more like a collection of demos, very well recorded yet containing too many useless segments. Perhaps Latorre does possess talent, but he should choose only the cream of his production and apply a few layers of consistency next time.

     - Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

My first encounter with the work of Santiago Latorre, a musician from Barcelona. He plays an instrument that I am known not to like very much, the saxophone. But there is some quality about this recording which makes me likes this to some extent. Latorre plays the instrument since he was eleven years old, but over the years he developed an interest in electronics and that is something that is shown here. His saxophone is pretty regular, I think, by Vital's experimental standards (say unlike the Rives CD reviewed elsewhere), and when the instrument appears naked by itself, such as in the opening 'Canon' (albeit playing with and against itself), its not the sort of thing I really like. However, when he starts using electronics things get more interesting. Stuttering, processed saxophone sounds, bouncing off and on, forming loops and are used in the bigger play of the real saxophone. Even drum machines start to play a role here. This makes a nice, yet not always original listen ing session, but it forms nice late night, jazz inspired music. A good sense of experiment, but never going over the top.

     - Frans De Waard, Vital Weekly


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