Print this Page

World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Gustavo Aguilar

By Doug Merlino
Published January 24, 2008

Unsettled On An Old Sense Of Place
Henceforth Records

These six tracks of improvised free music— meditations on emotions, places and experiences that can’t quite be grasped—swirl and shift in an uneasy mix, never quite resolving into form but creating a feeling of tension just the same. Percussionist and composer Aguilar, who hails from Brownsville, Texas, but now lives in New York, keeps the instrumentation minimal some tracks bring in only voice, harp, woodwinds and electronic processing. On “Contrafactum for Scelsi,” he plays the guitar as a percussion instrument, spraying out fragments of sound, while “Dirac’s Theory” is simply a series of shifting tempos and rolls on a snare drum. On the album’s closer “Wendell’s History,” he beats out a jittery, unsettled pattern on the glockenspiel over a reading of the Wendell Berry poem “History.” As Aguilar notes, the poem is about being rooted, contrasting the feeling of temporality and the yearning for a sense of place that pervade this haunting album.