MAP07 /// Catriel Nievas, Sergio Merce – Pampa

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released July 11, 2017

Sergio Merce, Lucio Capece, Federico Barabino they are all experimental musicians from Merlo, Buenos Aires, that is strange because it´s a place where there isn´t much to do, and there isn´t an experimental background or something like that. I invited Sergio to play in a concert that me and some friends organize. A year later we share a concert and then we started talking about making a record together. CN

Sergio Merce is an Argentinian musician, who plays on a specially modified microtonal saxophone- an alto saxophone without the original mechanisms and keys. He creates undulating sonic layers, drones and microscopic landscape drafts through the extended techniques of play, circular breathing, analog synth and electronics. He was on several European tours with Axel Dörner, Lucio Capece, Alan Curtis, Toshimaru Nakamura, Keith Rowe, Christof Kurzmann…

Catriel Nievas comes from Buenos Aires (like Sergio Merce), he’s a composer and guitarist, who combines multiple approaches. His compositions and improvisations mainly for electric guitar are notable for subtle changes between silent environment, vibrant motion, wary sound immersion and noise interventions. Nievas is a member of the CCO (Conciertos Capital del Oeste) platform- a space for promoting electronic music and sound art from Buenos Aires.

We made the record in a few sessions, me on electric guitar and Sergio Merce on microtonal sax and electronics. The music that we were looking for was a music surrounded by a certain tonality or tonal center but we didn´t want to do a classic noise or melody record, instead, we wanted to explore the connection between melody, noise and harmony at the same time, and how harmony and noise transformed each other. So we recorded two long sessions and then, thinking on the premise described before, we started an edition process that finished with the two tracks of the record. CN

Mappa editions introduces a debut release of the duo, which connects their creative powers, microtonal oscillations of saxophone and minimal vibrations of an electric guitar. Fluid changes between silence and noise, between isolated strings details and raw distortions, which on Pampa coexist in harmonical relationship on the background of wavy scenery. Pampa is a representative example of the vital experimental music scene in Buenos Aires and invites the listener to its deeper exploration.


Catriel Nievas: clean electric guitar
Sergio Merce: microtonal saxophone, analog synth, electronics, edition

Recorded during the month of october of 2016 at Sergio Merce´s house in Merlo, Buenos Aires.

artwork and design by Jakub Juhás
photogrpahy by Zoltán Czakó
thanks to Richard Čecho
released by mappa as MAP07



Two sessions they recorded and these were edited down and so there is a twenty-two minute piece and an eleven minute one on this release consisting of some very careful music that sounds like a bunch of sine waves, processed feedback in the first one, ‘For The First One’, and in the second that seems to be mostly done by Merce and his microtonal saxophone, as the guitar of Nievas is more a cross-over between feedback guitar, but very careful, and occasional plucking of strings, which makes a wonderful combination between the quite abstract music and some more desolate tuned guitars. In the first part the plucked guitar is only there for a few isolated occasions, as to mark breaks, I would think, in the piece. However in both pieces the minimalist and abstract exploration of long sustaining sound patterns play an important role. It all moves slowly but it sounds wonderfully great, if not perhaps a little like something you heard before, say the work of Oren Ambarchi… Frans de Waard (Vital Weekly)

Equally notable are Nievas’ quickness to duck out – a trait which is highly refreshing given the guitar’s demand to “stick out” for a better part of the last century. In all, this would make a great release for those who are just starting to explore sound art and the fringes of music, but is equally suitable for those who are deeply committed to marginal explorations. Also of note, is Mappa’s excellent packaging. Cardboard, letter-pressed sleeve. Hand numbered, + photograph insert. A great sleeve to accompany a solid release… Marginal Brevity

Llevar la conversación verbal al terreno de los instrumentos es una transposición constante en la música, los instrumentos ofrecen diferentes posibilidades así que también se transforma metafóricamente en una conversación entre dos lenguas distintas. Catriel Nievas y Sergio Merce comparten ser de  la localidad de Merlo en la zona oeste del Gran Buenos Aires,  cada uno ha recorrido una historia particular que los ha llevado hacia la experimentación. Desde fines de los 90s Merce ha participado de conjuntos de jazz e improvisación libre, su instrumento de cabecera es el saxofón microtonal; Nievas  mientras tanto viene forjando una carrera en la última década participando de grupos como Prusia y explorando diferentes técnicas de grabación de manera solista. „Pampa“ reúne entonces a dos músicos de dos generaciones distintas unidos por el interés en el sonido, el disco fue grabado en la casa de Merce en Merlo en varios sesiones de improvisaciones de las cuales saldrían dos composiciones largas  en las que el saxofón, la guitarra y los sintetizadores crean una conversación sutil entre sus tonalidades y efectos , el resultado nos permite apreciar el sonido en desarrollo, el poder de cada nota en su estado mas puro. La edición física hecha por el sello Eslovaco „mappa“ es un bello complemento a esta obra. (Sonidos Que Permanecen)