Before Surgery

Available via Touch Radio


Field recording of fireworks on Saint John’s Night, June 23, 2014, the local pagan inheritor celebration of the Summer Solstice. The vantage point, overlooking the tailend of the Douro river from a considerable open height, allows the acoustic experience to become as impressive as the visual one: the sound of the fireworks travels back and forth through the valley in remarkable detail.

Recent trends in mass entertainment have dictated the expectation for further ingredients of sensory input, i.e. the “pure” experience of the explosives shall not be enough. Cue the arrival of pop anthems as an added sound layer that, as far as acoustics go, can only be experienced as a distraction. This is the main reason for the dramatic pitch shift in the present recording: the sound fabric is brought down to the point where pop pap no longer hurts. In the meantime, a different landscape emerges, austere and foreboding.

Recording by Heitor Alvelos at Bruce Geduldig and Bernadette Martou’s balcony, Porto, Portugal.
Edited by Heitor Alvelos in Suçães, August 2014:
the recording has been left unaltered save for a pitch shift of -77%.
Mastered by Anselmo Canha in Porto, September 2014.
Assisted at various times by José Maria Lopes, Teresa Serôdio, José Canha, Antifluffy.