BRIEF DESCRIPTION: “At the Fair of the American Institute, in September, 1869, was exhibited an organ, upon the plan described in the London Scientific Review for 1866. The manuals were so connected with a galvanic battery that the pressure of any key would send the electric current along a corresponding wire, charging in this way an electro-magnet, by the attraction of which the valve of the proper tone was opened in the wind-chest. It is evident that, by this arrangement, the player, with the key-board, may be at any distance from the organ with the pipes. All that is required is a small electro-magnet, attached to each valve, and a number of isolated wires, equal to the number of keys (usually about fifty), combined as in a telegraph cable, and so connected with the keys that the depression of each key completes the electric circuit for the corresponding wire. The battery may be near the instrument, or near the player, or at any point in the circuit. The London Athenaeum suggests that the organs of various churches in London be connected in this way with the key-board at St. Paul’s, so as to give them all the benefit of the excellent organ-playing there” – this piece of prose came out in the New Yorker Journal Manufacturer and Builder in 1870 and is an excellent account of the growing fascination by music made electronically that surfaced about 150 years ago and endures to this day.
It is with electricity that the project “Chalana 1984”, formed by Nuno Catarino (Journalist and critic on the site Bodyspace and on the magazines Mondo Bizarre and Jazz.pt) and André Pintado (member of the punk band “17icos”) deals. The instruments and gadgets that the duo work with, all depend on electricity and have the distinctive character of the electric sound – guitar, effects pedals, radio, toy-keyboards, electronic everyday objects… Experimental in the form of concretization of concepts, but positioning themselves in broad popular music territory, and using up to the limit a form of energy for mass-consumption, it is only natural that their “noise” propositions revealed in their single album “Kick Off” (made available in MySpace), called for the football imaginary. What is certain is that the sound experimentalism has been labelled as a elitist and marginal practice in the artistic medium, where the so called “erudite contemporary music” lives, but this research practice as nothing to do with the academic musical medium, or the historical, cultural and social heritage of the classical period. In fact, in this case, the references to Rock (a musical language that alone is a glorification of electricity) and to Jazz (the first track of the album is an homage to Evan Parker, as the name indicates), even to popular urban music, are much to clear to be labelled as “alternatives” or to support the claim of “avant-garde” music. Even the title of the album (“Kick Off”) is typical of rock music. Now, the only thing left to do is to plug-in Chalana 1984 to all speakers in the country this Christmas and to all stadiums, so that our fellow citizens may find out how electrical circuits sound.
Rui Eduardo Paes.