Arturo Ruiz Del Pozo

Resident archivist Jack Dangers picks up a reissue from the Peruvian composer Arturo Ruiz Del Pozo

‘Composiciones Nativas – Music For Native Peruvian Instruments And Magentophonic Tape (1978)’ was recorded between 1976 and 1978 at the electronic music studio of the Royal College of Music in London, when Arturo Ruiz Del Pozo was in his late 20s. 

The LP falls into that category of music by artists who didn’t bring a record out at the time they were making the compositions because they were students, or whatever. Just because it didn’t come out on vinyl originally doesn’t mean it’s no good. It’s really unusual, hypnotic and rhythmic, with clever use of tape echo and reverb.

After getting his degree from the Lima National School of Music, Arturo Ruiz Del Pozo left Peru to study for the award of Master of Music Composition at the Royal College of Music in London. He brought with him a collection of Peruvian instruments, with the idea of introducing them into the modern world of avant-garde electronics.

The Royal College of Music studio was well equipped, which is probably why this record sounds so good. Judging from the picture on the sleeve, although it’s a bit blurry, they had a rack of big old test oscillators, and it looks like he was using an 8-track tape machine and a 10-track mixer, and there are three VCS 3s too.

Each composition uses traditional Peruvian instruments with applied electronic and musique concrète techniques including looping and altering the tape speed, layering sounds on top of each other and other academic electronic music techniques of the day. He used aleatory mixing, composing pieces from the random interactions of loops he’d created.

The album was originally released on cassette in 1984 by Arturo Ruiz Del Pozo himself, but this vinyl version is a re-release from 2018, with some more material added. There’s also a CD from 2015 with another two 11-minute orchestral pieces on it. The good thing about these reissues is that they’re more widely available, so you can find this album with the same track listing as the CD on Spotify.

Buh, the label that re-released it is Peruvian too, which is interesting. The other records I have from South America tend to have cheap paper and card stock, and the discs themselves are flimsy, but this isn’t. It’s a high-quality pressing. There isn’t that much South American electronic or electroacoustic music out there, so this is a very welcome addition to the collection.

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