Drone Records
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Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Touch TO:97
Release Year: 2015
Note: the so far only album (under his own name) by this Portugesian designer, DJ, and curator, who worked for TOUCH and Cronica, as well as visual artist for projects like BIOSPHERE, BJ NILSEN or FENNESZ => "Faith" presents a drone composition in 12 sections, using very low hums and frequencies..." Flowing as a single piece rather than 12 vignettes, it largely consists of what could be described as a series of auras (words like ‘drone’, as ever, feeling too limited and one dimensional)" [The Quietus]
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"Faith is the first full-length sound release by media researcher and curator Heitor Alvelos under his own name. Heitor Alvelos has been a long-time on/off collaborator of Touch, having on occasion provided photography and stage visuals for Biosphere, Fennesz, BJNilsen, Rafael Toral and Philip Jeck, as well as releasing sound pieces under the aliases Autodigest, Antifluffy and Before Surgery, on Ash International, TouchRadio and The Tapeworm.
“The essence of the present piece is autobiographical: therefore the use of my own name”, the author clarifies. “And yet it aims at being resonant to others”: in this context, resonance may be regarded as both semantic and visceral, as the sound frequencies on Faith are often of the kind that “rearrange one’s organs”, to quote the recently departed Bernadette Martou. A necessity in order to carry the gravitas inherent to the subject, a confessional confrontation with the zeitgeist.
All sources have been gathered, recorded and produced throughout five decades, all the way back to a recording by Francisco Alvelos in 1972 that closes the release. Elsewhere, sounds have been processed to various degrees, the bookends retaining their original contexts, others mutating into deep abstraction. Overall, they flow as one single composition, evocative and foreboding in equal measures."


Heitor Alvelos is no stranger to the Touch label, having collaborated as a visual artist with the big names of the label such as Fennesz, BJ Nilsen, and Philip Jeck, as well as issuing sound work under a variety of pseudonyms on the associated labels. Faith is a collection of processed sound recordings and “audio irregularities”, and due to their more personal and autobiographical source, it is the first record released under his own name. Essentially a single composition split into 12 segments, it is a sparse and murky record, steeped heavily in an analog sound.

Culled from a variety of unspecified recordings collected by the artist since 1972, most of Faith has Alvelos sticking to an open mix, working in bass heavy sounds at often very low volumes, conjuring a sense of space and ambiguity that often becomes unsettling. “Exodus” and “Edict” both have a ghostly rumble to them, distant and unspecific but always there. During the latter he begins to increase the volume and simultaneously the intensity.

On “Allvion” into “Pseudoself” the sound becomes deeper: a wavering expanse of noise that evolves into something with significant depth and variety, but never stops being discomforting. The latter especially sees Alvelos working with monotone electronics and a heavy low-frequency passage that slowly evolves and changes to become all encompassing, climaxing and leading into the silent passage of “Vicarious Solace”.

He builds the minimalist, rumbling hum back up on the lengthy “The Way of Malamat.” Superficially, the droning bass may seem static, but perceptible variations become prominent, at times looping into an almost rhythmic passage that again reaches a heavier, denser saturation point but never too oppressive. This continues through “Peirasmos” and “The Other,” the latter resembling the muffled vibration of machinery.

In its concluding minutes, “The Hopeful Night” has him stripping the piece back to its barest essentials, largely consisting of a low volume buzz that would not be out of place on Bernhard Günter’s work, albeit his sound being more digital than the analog warmth that is more prominent on Alvelos’ work. The single piece that is Faith never becomes overly boisterous or forceful, but its concluding passages are especially understated.

The intentionally ambiguous source of the recordings Heitor Alvelos used to construct Faith does add an extra layer of interest to the album. Rarely does anything ever resemble what we usually consider to be a field recording, so either his processing or his selection of unconventional sources are what makes this album, probably a connection of both. It is sparse and minimalist, but done with an exceptional sense of grace and poise. [Creaig Dunton]