Who Am I Speaking To?

Latest item by Ale Hop is an ambitious cross-continent collaborative affair, involving messages sent to about 15 other musicians/artists around the world and audio exchanges with same…the work has been distilled down to six audio “vignettes” on the record, and it’s called Why is it They Say a City Like Any City? (KARLRECORDS KR087)

On it, Ale Hop intends to ask deep questions about time, space, and memory in the context of human experience. I think so, at any rate, reading in between the artist’s statements about technological resources and “the reduced experience of the visual”, a lot of which is hard to grasp. It’s not crystal clear from the sounds on the record either, which is largely quite opaque and hard to fathom; voice, synthesis, noises, field recordings, blended together in somewhat fantastic and impossible constructs, and where the nature of the “dialogues” with the other creators is hard to discern. City…emerges as a kind of modern-day travelogue, where virtual reality and digital sound-sculpting may have some part to play in undermining our sense of experience, the whole thing tainted in any case by our unreliable collective memories.

Perhaps it might fall into place if one sees the installation work, which Ale Hop did in 2022 by collaborating with Moises Horta, the Mexican artist; a technological feast, the installation seems to have been a mind-bending array of messages and texts fed into a network capable of somehow translating the words into visual images. With the saturated sound of this rich record, I feel we’re now some way away from the fragile and delicate sounds of her Apophenia record, which we got in 2019, but her music still retains its diffuse, unfocussed charms. Ale Hop is Alejandra Cardenas, born in Peru but living in Berlin just now, and this is her fourth album. (10/02/2022)