Project Description

Rui Costa
Early Electronic Music 1998-2002
[nodar004], August 2012

Edições Nodar announce a digital compilation of 97 electronic compositions, over six and a half hours in length, corresponding to the first years of public activity of the Portuguese sound artist Rui Costa, founder and director of Binaural/Nodar.

Rui Costa’s early experiments in electronic music were created using computer sound manipulation environments that at the transition to the new millennium began to allow the construction of intricate ‘computer instruments’ for improvisational and compositional practices.

Rui Costa’s aesthetic focus was the creation of ‘open-ended’ musical pieces that sought to leave a trace of ambiguity in the listener’s mind rather than proposing obvious ‘moods’ or ‘sensations’. This would be done juxtaposing and looping highly processed sound sources and building slow evolving or repetitive musical structures.

Each of the four sections of Early Electronic Music 1998 – 2002 while sharing a common character represents a different approach and outcome.

No-Man’s Bay, from 1998, is the most ‘musical’ album in Rui Costa’s carrier. It was mostly produced with an analog synthesizer, drum machine and sequencer, and consisted of an exercise where instruments originally created for ‘tonal’ and ‘rhythmic’ electronic music were pushed beyond their limits, into a place of greater sound density and unpredictability.

Incidents of mirror-travel, produced in 1999, represents a big shift in Rui’s approach to sound-making, inasmuch as it was created with his own programmed musical environment, using the principle of ‘quasi-stable systems’, which alternate between ‘orderly’ modes but are always subject to forces that push them towards chaos.

Granular Footsteps, from 2000, while still sharing some aesthetic and procedural characteristics with its predecessor, has a greater focus on the materiality of sound, as it was created from a more diverse sonic palette, and includes more levels of abstraction and tension between each of the sound sources.

Droning, from 2002, is a collection of 67 miniatures originally intended to serve as building blocks for future work. It makes use of the same principles of Granular Footsteps, although it is completely centered on the physical elements of sound, without any kind of compositional intentions.