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We are condemned to the landscape*


22 June 2020
This month's topic: Telurism

We are condemned to the landscape*

The irregularities of wave movement in the ocean is

partly attributable to the fact that two or more wave movement

patterns prevail at the same time and place, overlapping each other.


The first draft of this text began, like this one, by talking about distances. The one between two points and the one that makes neighbourhoods end up not belonging to their inhabitants. Shortly afterwards, everything stopped and the kilometre zero arrived as a radius of action. Now it’s all very different.

If I allow my location to be used and we map out a radius of one kilometre from this portable IP, we will find what I have come to define as telluric regions of sound or points of attraction. We all have them. There’s more. I’ve called them that, but I might as well call them HOME. They’re part of our biography. In this enclosed time our perception of the landscape may have changed radically. We are condemned to the landscape, and this landscape has become a still photograph. In the article I’m not going to write, it was a fictional character who lived these places. I finally decided to be the approximate character, who walks, lets himself be attracted and finds.

There are two telluric regions I am going to talk about. The first and the second. I arrived at the second through the first and the first through a poster. It wasn’t until I started writing that I remembered how I found out about the existence of Ultra-Local Records in the neighbourhood. The distance between these two points is 1600 meters. To get from point A to point B, we will practically only have to draw a straight line. Among them there are other points of interest, which at the time were telluric region or could have been. We will mark them on the map. Scale 1:1. In spite of everything it is not easy to recognize them. They can be seen at mid-height, but for many they will go completely unnoticed. They emit their own sound frequencies.

They once defined Ultra-Local Records as a hot-spot. Since then I use this modern definition as an inside joke, but I realize now that it is a correct definition. In geology, places known as hot-spots are areas of high volcanic activity in relation to their surroundings. We substitute volcanic activity for musical activity and we have it. In its seven and a half years of existence, more than 400 concerts have taken place in this record store and approximately 13260 records have been sold. The numbers are the least of it. Proximity, warmth, love and sincerity, there is an attitude in what Carme and Raül do that goes beyond the walls of the small place, turning everything into a kind of expansive wave, a current. The drawings on the posters, their hand-painted bags, their Microclima (local festival held during the days of Primavera Sound), their recommendations (everyone in this town knows how to spell Khruangbin correctly), the parish, their improvised radio show, that do-it-yourself spirit… A combination of things that make up a unique habitat that many have felt part of, becoming a meeting point where bands and labels have been formed or drunk and lived life. If you go in, you can’t come out. And I live 950 meters away.

It was there that I met Llapispanc, alias Joan Marc Batlle, another inhabitant of the neighbourhood attracted by the shop – Chamorro had told me about the character and how one night he walked around with an empty beer bottle. He came to the radio program we do from the store, Hip-Hip Ultra, he played some yogurt containers, passed them around the table, hypnotized us. He invited us to do a show from his workshop in La Escocesa. Eventually it would become another telluric region. To discover it, read on below.

Point of interest number 1, in strict order of appearance on the map. Passatge Caminal. My relationship with Ultra-Local is closely linked to that of Hijauh USB?. It was just a few meters away, at the bottom of an alley. It was easy to get in but hard to get out. It became a telluric region for a few years. There we lived the musical underground of the city as you can rarely live. For some it was just a place for concerts, for others it was intensity, home and sweat.

Point of interest number 2. Years ago, at more than 1400 meters above sea level, I had a brief conversation with Quim Packard, who at that time managed the Fire Place space, also within that kilometre zero of action. After that brief talk I worked on a polypoetic conference that would have Thoreau and his cabin as its protagonists. Broadly speaking, it would consist of reading fragments of his diary and his work, reconstructing the cabin, running around it, recreating the sounds on the edge of Walden Pond, playing a banjo…  It remained a draft. Sometime later, Hangar, within the same kilometre zero of action, called the residence of Escritura Silvestre in Pep Vidal’s cabin. Other possibilities opened up, he already had a cabin, he would document everything that happened there, record the sounds, hold conversations and write the text of the final reading in situ. An attempt. I never submitted the project to the call.

Llapispanc has occupied a workshop in La Escocesa for 15 years. On his website they talk about him as an antique dealer in essence. I only like that definition in part, because there is something that makes it unembraceable. His workshop, number 4, is accumulation and chaos. This is where I place the base camp of the second telluric region. Those who do not know about his work may only see the ruins of a near past. A clean ruin. A messy accumulation of used, unused found objects. Valuable objects, either through the experience they treasure, or through the image they awaken. His work is a work in progress. To the attraction of the space we should add his videos, his performative actions, his sound improvisations and musical interventions; and also his texts, poetic and experimental, either in emails, in his blog or in his unpublished kiwi diary. All together they form an expansive network, a current. If you go in, you can’t come out.

One of his regular actions is the ActvttsRdctvttSbtRRn_, which takes place every time Barça plays the Champions League. In these matches things always happen, whether you go in public or not. During the last year we have recorded the audio of these actions. It all started with the intention of making a version of a Macromassa song. The last one, which only he and I attended, we went to record the sound of the sea. On the same day and in the same place that, twenty-four years earlier, Juan Crek had recorded it. In the end, without knowing it, it would end up becoming a tribute to Victor Nubla, a telluric region for many others.

If, as Sergio Algora’s verse said, we are condemned to the landscape, I will stay here, in this one, within kilometre zero, with my ears open.


Álex Gil likes to do screaming readings. He writes, projects and researches with no interest in publishing the result. After ten years as a member of the polypoetic duo ediciones vinoamargo, he now hides behind afanes musicales subversivos e intereses de autodefensa (aei) where he experiments and improvises with sound collage. He also edits cassettes.

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