Artist: Marc Behrens & Paulo Raposo
Title: Hades
Catalog Number: and/25
Release Year: 2006
Format: CD
Status: Sold Out

Track List:
01. Gate
02. Crossing Into
(03. Hades)
04. Gate
05. Crossing Out Of
After their first successful collaboration "Further Consequences of
Reinterpretation" (premiered in May 2003 at the Goethe-Institut in Lisbon,
released as a CD album by the Portugal-based label Crónica), and the
project's appendix release entitled "Product", the sound artists
Paulo Raposo
and
Marc Behrens have created a new dynamic sound work entitled HADES.

HADES is based on sound recordings made aboard Lisbon ferries and at
the quays of Cais do Sodré, Trafaria and Cacilhas 2001-2005. Both artists
had initially set out to record independently, being fascinated with the sounds
of the ship hull and landing gear, as well as with the actual passage on the
river, which gives a magnificent (maybe the best) view on large parts of the
old city of Lisbon.

During the course of the work which took three years to complete, some
more precisely directed recordings were made together. Understanding the
actual crossing as a symbolic passage, and once it was reduced to sound
and memory, it became associated to the crossing of the mythic river Styx to
enter Hades, the ancient Greek underworld.

As the different sound recordings provide the artists with very diverse
material (for example low frequencies from the ship's hulls and motors, high
frequencies and beats from the gates at Cais do Sodré), they understand the
composition as hovering on the delicate borderline between a soundscape
portrait and a multi-strata arrangement, in which things happen parallelly,
and individual layers move on more than one path simultaneously.

In the opinion of and/OAR,
HADES is not only one of the strongest works  to
surface from either artist, a/O will go out on a limb to state that it could very
well set a new precedent of quality for collaboration work of it's ilk. Needless
to say, a/O is highly honored to be releasing it. Please give it a very attentive
listen. Especially in headphones!

Apart from being collaborating sound artists, Behrens and Raposo have also
worked together since 2001 on the Lisbon based label SIRR.
Earlabs  (October 2006)
Based on field recordings made while traveling on Lisbon ferry boats and at
various landing places, sound artists Marc Behrens and Paulo Raposo have
composed a four-part sonic exposé in which untouched sounds blend with
processed sounds in such a way as to pull the receptive listener into that
shadowy region in which the real and the mythical become
indistinguishable. Hades is both a sound recording documenting real
experiences and a contemporary soundscape for a timeless allegory.

As the journey unfolds "Gate" begins with a quiet, but dense, drone as the
low hum of the ferry's engine makes its presence known. About one-half of a
minute into the composition, a stratum of noisy percussive clatter abruptly is
added along with various mechanical scrapes and groans that juxtapose
themselves against the increasingly powerful drone of the engine creating a
noticeably tense atmosphere and, at times, I hear what can best described
as fragments of garbled voices. As the track reaches the final third of its
length, the chaotic noise and intense drone suddenly cease, the tension
dissolves, and all that remains are the sounds of waves and random shreds
of high frequency tones.

"Crossing Into" is the first of two extended tracks (more than 21 minutes in
length) containing a subtle array of eerie tones and high-end frequencies
that interplay with a layer of slightly dissonant low-end tones along with
occasional moments of resonant booms and thuds making for an uneasy,
surreal ambiance. The final few minutes of this lengthy track find the
composition assuming an almost lower-case atmosphere.

The title track "Hades" is the shortest in duration of the four movements
being just over five minutes in length, but in this short time an abundance of
real sounds allow the listener to become a virtual passenger on the ferry.
"Hades" deserves the recognition of being the composition that best
captures the essence of the original source sounds. The deep, rumbling
whir of the engine drones in the background, and, in the foreground, the
creaks and moans of the ships architecture reveal in rich detail the stresses
it faces as it moves through the water. Detailed bangs and clangs make
known the ferry's mechanical operations, and there seem to be traces of
human voices and coughs present in the background.

"Crossing Out Of" is lengthiest and most abstract of the four tracks
(approaching 23 minutes) and for me, personally, the most poignant. The
first ten minutes is an immensely dark drone, cacophonous at times, and
constructed of heavily processed sounds textured with pristine noises and a
combination of varying frequencies of harmonious tones. The remaining
thirteen minutes or so delivers a more restrained, but quite sinister
atmosphere. Random noises appear unexpectedly amongst an
unpredictable flow of varied and discordant tones. A tension is present that
never gets resolved.

"Hades" is one of and/OAR's strongest releases to date and diligent
listening will prove to be both rewarding and enjoyable. This is an opportunity
to hear contemporary sound art in one of its best moments with the perfect
blend of phonography and masterful processing.  (Larry Johnson)
Style  (November 2006)
One Should be alone when one listens to Hades, the joint work of
experimental composers and sound artists Marc Behrens and Paolo
Raposo. One needs time and, if possible, large headphones. Silence is an
absolute must. Like the CD's name already states, this is an acoustic
journey through the underworld. One can't really prepare for it - for something
that unfolds is a great power, precisely through the absence of the
spectacular.

The CD starts with a type of nervous twitching comprised of short-winded
squeaks that are layered with overtones and rumbling approaching from the
distance until they fade into an oscillating acoustic movement. A quick,
winding sound is resolved by the surf's even beating. Behrens and Raposo
approach Hades like a nervous animal resigned to it's destiny, listening for
what to expect from the underworld. At first restless, but increasingly
compliant over time. While crossing the Styx, the border between the world of
the living and the underworld, one starts to form one's own pictures: the
uncertain boat, the silent ferryman Charon, the resounding walls, the fear.

Marc Behrens created an atmosphere that makes one's own uncertainty and
vulnerability accessible. One listens so attentively, the only way one can
listen, and finally there is nothing more than creaking planks and ropes
being tugged on. Paulo Raposo's part, which then follows, describes the
departure from Hades. So is there a way back? The question remains open.
At the end, one still hears the beating rope. Rescue sounds different. The
recordings that generated the composition
Hades are from Lisbon. Behrens
and Raposo were fascinated by the old ferry boats that have crossed the
Tejo since the 1950s, and their creaking sounds at sea. They meticulously
recorded the sounds of the ships, the docks and steel pontoons. On one trip,
the two artists watched the salvaging of a sunken ship, a 'mud-caked part
suddenly emerged', says Behrens, "and suddenly it was there - the
association with the underworld; this mysterious place under the earth that
one doesn't at all hear or see, but which directs are lives.'

The crossing as a symbolic trip to one's own subconscious.
'We wanted to divide the trip into various strata - high, medium and deep. The
real Hades remains a mystery and inaccessible, because,' says Behrens, 'it
doesn't exist.'

Empty spaces as the actual places.

(Rebecca Menzel - translated from German by Cathy Lara)
Vital Weekly  (November 2006)
The Hades is the Greek god for death, and as you know, you cross a river
after you die, the Styx. The ferryman puts you on the next border. I'm not sure
if this ferryman has a boat, but ferryboats are the theme of the collaborative
release by Marc Behrens and Paulo Raposo. Over the course of three years
they worked on this, with as a starting point, ferryboat recordings from
Portugal. I only like boats when they are the size of a ferryboat; anything
smaller makes me feel uncomfortable. But such a big sized ship makes me
feel ok, and especially for a longer period, say going from Germany to
Sweden on the night ferry, makes me want to listen to the motor, the metal
bangs, the air condition, the water. I understand the fascination of Behrens
and Raposo fully and listening to this brings back the memories of the
various trips I made. All of the familiar sounds are in here, and they are
carefully processed by both musicians. 'Hades' is not just a plain recording
of sounds of a ferry, but they compose with the material. In 'Crossing Out Of',
the final piece on the album, they have some sorrowful tune at the bottom of
the piece and scraping sounds on top. A beautiful contemplative piece. The
others are equally strong pieces, less contemplative. 'Gate' for instance
takes us to the ship's motor and after a pretty noisy intro, things are slowly
silenced out in washes of the sea: the boat has left. This CD is a very fine
example of how to treat field recordings in a highly intelligent way - an
example to many, I'd say. Great stuff.  (Frans de Waard)
Touching Extremes  (December 2006)
The sea is an obvious source of fascination; innumerable artists have tried
to come to terms with its sonic power in the past. Marc Behrens and Paulo
Raposo added a "mechanical" nuance to their interests by recording the
noise of ferry boats and quays in various Portuguese marine locations,
placing them amidst other local environmental recordings to generate this
beautiful artifact. "Itinerantly" composed between 2003 and 2006, "Hades"
stimulates and wakes up the nervous centres, but even more often it leaves
a lot of mental room for concentration and reflection. The raw materials
chosen by Behrens and Raposo allow for an intriguing deployment of
gradations that might sound indelicately harsh in tracks like "Gate 1" but,
when sapiently treated, become mutations of angelic choirs looking for a sky
to dissipate in, ruptured by faraway thuds and bumps, or even studies in
dreams elicited by adjacent pseudo-tones, finally directed to complete
oblivion ("Crossing into"). "Gate 4" is an enthralling, obscure drone in a
reverberant virtual cathedral of noise, exquisitely sober and impressively
layered, later morphing into a siren's lament lowered three octaves, wind and
seagulls barely perceived in this profound context; it's a masterpiece of the
untold, one of the overall best compositions I've enjoyed in at least a decade.
Every sonic object manipulated by the couple is translated into something
utterly meaningful, and the silences they leave for the sounds to breathe in
are nicely filled by extraneous elements (a faraway bell tower entered my
room at noon this Sunday during this listening session, and it was
wonderful). "Hades" is brilliant, just like everything in the and/OAR
catalogue.   (Massimo Ricci)
Furthernoise   (January / February 2007)
Witnessing an old sunken boat being wrenched from its watery grave is what
gave Marc Behrens and Paulo Raposo the idea to create a sonic journey
towards the depths of the underworld. Though this may immediately set off
the concept album warning light, Behrens and Raposo base their work on
solid, well recorded material collected from the ports, ferries and the
surrounding milieu of various coastal locations. Their collaboration takes the
form of four parts: 2 shorter 'Gates' which work as more active pieces.
Machinery squeals and thuds; tensile coils of metal strain under unknown
pressures; sound becomes dulled by the idea and presence of water. These
'Gates' are full of spluttery abrasion as they distort and swirl around the
listener's perceptions of real and manipulated sounds. They serve as
introductions the longer 'Crossing into' and 'Crossing out of' pieces which
inhabit the bulk of this release.

The original source material: the sea, the creaking and movement of these
vessels are sensitively constructed and manipulated; modifying, blurring and
focusing reality. Smeared tones and ghostly hollow sounds drift in and out of
the horizon as the real and the processed are expertly combined, separated,
disjointed and lulled. The pace of the whole album matches the slowed
down, thick feeling of slowly drifting in water. A journey worth taking many
times.  (Mark McLaren)
ARTFORUM   (December 2006)

BEST OF 2006: MUSIC

1. Eliane Radigue: Naldjorlank
2. Maryanne Amacher: Gravity - Music For Sound Joined Rooms Series
3. Keiji Haino: Performance at Sound Forest festival, Riga, Latvia
4. Sons Of God: Swedenborg, Stockholm New Music Festival, Sweden
5. Steve Roden: Lines & Spaces
6. Folke Rabe & Jan Bark: Argh!  (Kning Disk)
7. John Cage: 18 Microtonal Ragas: Solo 58, performed by Amelia Cuni and
 musicians at Festival Marz Musik, Berlin
8. Jonathan Coleclough & Murmer: Husk  (ICR)
9. Shinji Aoyama: Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani?
10. Marc Behrens & Paulo Raposo: Hades  (and/OAR)

Behrens draws on his background in product design to create compositions
that are far removed from Frankfurt's click 'n cut aesthetic - his second
collaboration with Paulo Raposo is based on recordings made on ferries
and on harbor quays.  (Christina Kubisch)
DMUTE / Le Son Du Grisli  (December 2006)
Après avoir disposé leur matériel d’enregistrement à l’intérieur d’
embarcations évoluant en rade de Lisbonne, Marc Berhens et Paulo Raposo
montent leurs sound recordings en vue de fantasmer une traversée du Styx,
puis une approche du Royaume d’Hadès.

Ingrédients concrets de l’ambient expérimentale proposée ici, le souffle des
vents et quelques vagues, les craquements du bois des nacelles puis des
chocs métalliques. Relevant l’ensemble concret, le traitement électronique
se charge d’amasser les nappes grondantes, d’allonger les
enregistrements brefs offrant la possibilité de leur propre changement en
bourdon hésitant.

Aux portes d’Hades, donc, la tempête est simulée, qui marie les zones d’
ombres portées aux menaces des flammes, et transporte l’auditeur de l’
appel étrange d’une soufflerie inquiète à l’abîme abstrait de silences
troublants. Le tout déposé lentement, conseillé paisiblement ; imposé avec
confiance et audace.  (Guillaume Grisli)
Neural   (January 29, 2007)
Marc Behrens and Paulo Raposo made these recordings one by one at the
beginning, on board a ferry boat and in other places near the Lisbon area's
landing places within the space of three years (2001 - 2003). All the
recordings were afterwards edited and condensed into only four tracks,
poetically hovering between analytical vocations and audio-narrations. The
work is effective in the extremely refined assemblage tidiness, varied in
drones and textures. The sequences are then dilated, and the harmonies
and the iterations, very well structured following sensitive attractions to (even)
immaterial atmospheres. These practices becomes really influential when
the skills are so unequivocal. These methods are not new in experimental
music, but in this case they reflect the most inspired environments of the
genre. This is an incomparably limpid (lucid) sound art work, even in the
uncertain lack of specific programs and theories supporting what the music
extensively tells and charms.  (Aurelio Cianciotta)
All Music Guide  (March 2007)
In the minds of Marc Behrens and Paulo Raposo, Hades, the abode of the
Dead, is a water-world, but only because they elected to focus their attention
on the Styx, the river one must cross to get there. Hades (the album) is
definitely water-centric. The two artists have recorded their sound material on
ferry boats and quays in Lisboa (Portugal). The album also features
additional material recorded by Patrick McGinley (aka Murmer) who also has
a very strong water-based release to his credit ("They Were Dreaming They
Were Stones").
Hades consists of four pieces with titles depicting a journey
to and back from the Greek underworld. The two different “Gate” pieces are
portals made of wood: the creaking wood of old boats, the sound of floating
objects hitting piers. These portals are quickly behind us and lead to the two
main tracks: "Crossing Into” and “Crossing Out Of”. Here we are treated to
delicate and disquieting compositions made of splashing water, (not quite)
silent sailing, mournful foghorn calls, wincing metal brackets, and various
other sounds evoking a ghost ship sailing through a haunted area. These
pieces are more eventful and image-filled than Behrens’ usual output, but
they are just as carefully paced and artistically shaped as ever, turning
Hades into a vivid cinema for the ear and a must-have for sound art
afficionados.

Note that the sleeve announces five tracks (“1. Gate”, “2. Crossing Into”, “[3.
Hades]”, “4. Gate”, & “5. Crossing Out Of”), but the third one is placed
between brackets, as it does not exist. There isn't a piece for Hades per se
on this album, only the journey leading to and out of it.  (François Couture)
Paris Transatlantic  (February 2007)
Marc Behrens and Paulo Raposo have been running the Sirr label together
since 2001, but this collaborative release appears on the increasingly
wonderful and/OAR imprint, which is going from strength to strength these
days. After some early cassette only releases, Behrens' first CD Advanced
Environmental Control appeared on Bernhard Günter's Trente Oiseaux label
in 1995, but, as is also the case with Francisco López, it's a mistake to
associate him exclusively with the quieter end of abstract electronic music.
Hades in fact is quite noisy, especially 34 seconds into the opening track,
"Gate", a clattering, squeaking assemblage of sounds recorded on
Portuguese ferryboats, but it eventually settles into more familiar territory: low
rumbling drones and ghostly wails, accompanied by meticulously
transformed natural sounds (footsteps, doors slamming, distant voices, and
waves breaking). Hades, as Wikipedia will tell you (hey, if Wiki's good
enough for Phil Freeman it's good enough for me – 'scuse me if I haven't got
time to re-read The Odyssey), was "the gloomy abode of the dead, where
almost all mortals go. There is no reward or special punishment in this
Hades, akin to the Hebrew sheol. In later Greek philosophy appeared the
idea that all the dead are judged after death and rewarded or punished. In
this view, Hades was the destiny of those who were not particularly good or
bad." Indeed; if you were good you ended up in the Elysian Fields (not my
idea of fun, the Champs-Elysées, I can tell you), if you were bad it was off to
Tartarus and if they couldn't make up their mind what to do with you you went
to Asphodel. That probably explains why DJ Spooky ended up there. Anyway,
whether the south bank of the River Tagus is Lisboan Paulo Raposo's idea
of "the gloomy abode of the dead" or not is open to question (it looks a far
nicer place to hang out than certain parts of Manchester I know), but if it's as
beautiful as the music on this album I'll take my place in the queue to cross
the Acheron right now. I'm waiting for the silent boatman / To ferry me across
the unknown waters. Oops, wrong album.  (Dan Warburton)
Aquarius Records  (April 2007)
Sourced from recordings made aboard Lisbon ferries and at the quays of
Cais do Sodre (one of the neighborhoods in the Portuguese capital), Marc
Behrens and Paolo Raposo have constructed an allegorical set of
compositions on Hades that intentionally mirror the mythological journey in
crossing the River Styx. According to the ancient Greek beliefs, Styx was a
border between the Underworld and Earth; and a ferry was the only means of
transportation across the river. When put into a modern context of sound art
and field-recording based collage, quotidian sounds such as the rumble of a
diesel motor as it spews crusty exhaust and the creaking of the hull against
the pier takes on a much more profound significance.

Behrens and Raposo have done quite a good job in highlighting particular
sounds, frequencies, and vibrations from the aquatic journey in traveling
through Lisbon by way of boat, as a way of transforming that experience into
a sombre event of mournful bellows and anguished sighs. Yet on occasion,
Hades becomes agitated with rasping clatters of mechanical noise, alluding
that the end of life is certainly not an easy journey. For an album about such a
portentous subject as death, Behrens and Raposo do well to concentrate
upon their sounds through the lens of a minimalist conceptual framework
and allow the mythological and allegorical images to flow around their
well-grafted sound.
E / I  (September 2007)
With The Sun, Andrew Deutsch aims to construct a sound event that is static,
or which, at any rate, shimmers in its fixed place. Towards this end, an ocean’
s wave is adopted as the sound source which becomes the object of an
excessive fixation on the part of Deutsch. Over the course of the work,
however, the recording moves from its largely immobile, frozen state, and
comes alive as a spectral apparition. What remains fixed, that is, what one
experiences as stationary, is the gaze of Deutsch itself. Through various
digital processing devices, then, Deutsch not only makes the ebb and flow of
the waves chime, rattle and clang along an expanded dynamic range, he
stands himself in as the frozen point of immobility, creating a fine catch and
retreat game between him and his source sounds. Hovering clusters of
organ-like notes and panoramic spaces are thereby seen from a fascinating
perspective, one that participates in rather than frames the proceedings.
Deutsch himself makes efforts to point out that this is music specifically
intended to aid in the process of painting. While this work is no doubt
successful on that front, intentions be what they may, the simple appearance
of this work, with its sonorous humming and eloquent, effulgent tones, is
becoming in and of itself.
Successful, too, is Hades, a collaborative work
between Paulo Raposo and Marc Behrens, which took place over some
three years. Sounds featured are the knocking of a ship’s hull, the clanking of
gates and thrum of motors, all of which were captured aboard Lisbon ferries
at the quays of Cais do Sodre, Trafaria and Cacilhas. Quite clearly, the pair
are not only interested in the exhibition of a sonic environment, with all its
respective particularities and manners, but their arrangement in a complex
structure of many levels that feed into each other, overlap, and separate in a
partially controlled yet spontaneous fashion.

Unlike
The Sun, which is largely serene, Behrens and Raposo favor abrupt
oscillations, doleful pauses, and more or less sudden changes of attack. It
stands as an approach that comes to work as well as it does on account of
the concise and insightful way that it is employed. The boom and squeal of
machinery, while exaggerated many a sawtooth edge, providing a leap in
intensity, is shaded well by metallic monochrome reverb and brooding,
suspended chords and hovering atmospheres, which approach and recede
like the tides. Although more manic, then, with so many muffled squawks
and rasping, churning drones that enable one pleasure through displeasure,
it also oozes a sublime oceanic stillness. A most remarkable document, it
seems to give a presentiment of the dimension of the kernel from whence
this environment came.  (Max Schaefer)
The Squid's Ear  (April 2007)
Hard to believe that Marc Behrens once made abstract, reductionist techno
(under his Feedback Bleep and Eyephone guises), as his recorded output
since those early 90s operations are literal three-sixties, manifesting
themselves instead via installation, field recordings and sound art work. He
seemed to shed his former skin completely, turning his back on all things
rhythmic - and harmonic or melodic, for that matter - for "serious" artistic
endeavors of more site-specific, concretized and politicized natures. Paulo
Raposo, whose modus operandi virtually mirrors Behrens' own, founded the
Portuguese experimental imprint Sirr, and has built up just as provocative a
career muddying the waters between audio, visual, space, and architecture
by highlighting the situationist malleabilities of sound.

On
Hades, both Raposo and Behrens integrate natural sounds and
"synthetic" occurrences so seamlessly that the environment created is
rendered totally physical, a subliminal actualization of minutely coarse,
occasional texture. What goes in between the sounds is every bit as
important as what our ears duly render - grey area becomes a third
dimension in the stereo field, the mind effectively filling in the blanks during
each "epic" bit of sonic grandeur, thanks to the duo's cinematic acumen.
Using sonic flotsam coaxed off of ferry boats and at the quays of Cais do
Sodré, Trafaria, and Cacilhas, Portugal, despite the inherent proclamation of
the album title, Behrens and Raposo want to offer glimpses and sensations
rather than broad portraits of whatever seventh circles they've witnessed
visually. The opening "Gate" is about as clangorous as the recording gets,
as a river's tidal rush, scraping ship's hulls against scabrous pilings and the
rusting shells of buoys, explodes into an index of metals and whitewash,
nature's own ambience subverted into a twisted soundscape. On "Crossing
Into," random squeaks weep between taut pulses, metal fibers are scored
so their resonances seem to decay indefinitely; timbre is altered in an
engrossing enough fashion that each steel ping, knock and shiver achieves
an epic, otherworldly heft.

Though broken up into five distinct points of reference, Hades' long day's
journey into night has been constructed to flow effortlessly along its Stygian
parameters, Behrens' and Raposo navigating the compass of the
soundscape with a bracing intensity of purpose. Eclipsing contextual
margins that reaches far beyond mere installation wallpaper, Hades supple
imagery informs a powerful work that ballasts its exotic origins.
(Darren Bergstein)