Bites and Colores, nnnaaammm
Jacobino Discos, Chile
by Carlos Reyes
On his latest multi-lingual and subtitle-defiant motion picture, Film Socialisme, veteran nouvelle vague icon Jean-Luc Godard coats himself in counter-revolution subversion (in full disclosure) to talk about a new freedom of ownership, copyright, and intellectual property. Although not as assaulting or brainwashing in his approach, Chilean experimentalist Pablo Flores (nnaaammm) shares that unorthodox (and rutted) frame composition in Bites and Colores to speak volumes about the infrastructure of computer software as a transitory work in progress and a form of social application.
For those of us who only have the nerdy looks but don’t necessarily bite into the conceptual entity of software and patented algorithms, the nonfigurative premise of Bites and Colores seems more alienating than it actually is. The eight-track album is more confronting than comforting, but having Flores as the cosigner of the journey certainly helps. Even if you’re only trying to understand chain letters or why there are weekly edits to Lana del Rey’s clip of “Videogames,” this album pushes you to contemplate ownership as part of the creative spectrum. After building pedestal blocks of sequencing and allocated space, nnnaaammm explicitly makes note of the unauthorized use of all its integrated samples. Through this courteous (if minimal) disclosure, nnnaaammm goes on to sample sound schemes from Windows’ most infamous operating systems (XP, 95, and Vista), and having authoritative guest lectures by the likes of Bill Gates, Brian Eno, and most captivatingly, the illuminating harangue from software freedom activist, Richard Stallman.
Musically and conceptually, Flores seems to be in a predisposition to bite off more than he can chew. While fascinating in its generational discourse, this is the kind of album that, deliberately or not, puts the authorship of the artist in question. In the track “Piratas y Recetas,” Flores juxtaposes his condition as a sound designer with the creed of data configuration and continuum. In a humorous turn of events, the track (which is more of an interlude rather than a song) tackles the misconception of millennial software add-ons as a form of piracy, “ser pirata es atacar naves…compartir programas o recetas con su progimo es muy bueno.” Other more developed tracks like, “Burning and the Explorer" and "Modem Castle," showcase signs of Flores as a stylist of soundscape amalgam, particularly in the latter song, where the virtual windows are sorted in such a way that the melody lines impersonate the free-reed breath of an accordion. Flores, who also released an EP earlier this year via Michita Rex as Namm, certainly explains the intricate expansion of its moniker. Sure, this is alienating, but as far as Creative Commons-licensed albums go, Bites and Colores is a good piece of channel flow that highlights the hand-to-hand romance between music and software, for once, making it feel tangible.