New Voice: David Vélez

David Vélez
David Vélez

David Vélez describes a recent work ~

Unseen Terror is a work that I composed using the sound captures I recorded during the creative process and exhibition of my installation Adrift and Catastrophe, which explores the notion of destruction and catastrophe.

Listen to “Unseen Terror”

Watch the installation video


David Vélez was born in Bogotá. He moved to New York City In 2002 and returned to Colombia In 2010. He holds a M.A. in Fine Arts from the Universidad Nacional de Boogotá.

Since 2006 David has participated in a series of exhibitions and sound art and music festivals such as:

Efimerx (Bogotá, Colombia 2014)

Tsonami (Valparaíso, Chile 2013)

Sonósferas (Bogotá, Colombia 2013)

50ha / 50m²  (Bogotá, Colombia 2013)

Reminiscencias Sonoras (Bogotá, Colombia 2013)

Arte Ocupa (Santa María, Brazil 2013)

Aural detritus (Brighton, UK 2013)

In the Field (London, UK 2013)

Deriva y Catástrofe (Bogotá, Colombia 2013)

Transversal Sonora (Bogotá, Colombia 2012)

Frequencias (Medellín, Colombia 2012)

Cacería de Brujas (Bogotá, Colombia 2011)

Densidades (Bogotá, Colombia 2011)

Intermedios (Bogotá, Colombia 2011)

Internacional Ruidística (Bogotá, Colombia 2010)

Fine Diving (NYC, USA 2008)

Rake Festival (NYC, USA 2007)

Photophono (NYC, USA 2006)

David Vélez also works as content manager, curator and publisher for Impulsive Habitat a label he co-founded on 2009 that focuses on the publication of phonographic and musique concrete works.   In 2011 David Vélez founded the journal The Field Reporter which is focused on the criticism and review of phonographic and musique concrete based works.


What is your earliest musical memory that, in looking back, has proved to be significant regarding your career as a composer?

I remember when I was about 5 years old that I first listened to Antonio Vivaldi’s La primavera from Le quattro stagioni (The Four Seasons).  I felt something really strong and emotional and yet completely unexplainable and impossible to articulate with words. The joy I felt was only comparable with the curiosity prompted by trying to understand “where” that joy came from.

Are there composers who have been influential or relevant regarding your own work?  Has this changed over time?

It is complex to acknowledge influences because you wouldn’t know whether some piece or composer has influenced you as this process could happen unconsciously and inadvertently.  I believe that the quotidian sounds of my everyday life have a big influence in the way I compose, mostly those with repetitive patterns where I can find forms of rhythmic and harmonic shapes.  As far as listening and enjoying, I would like to mention Amjad Ali Kahn, Satya Dev Pawar, Balaram Pathank, ES Shastry and Sheila Dhar from the ancient Hindu musical tradition.  In a more western perspective a composer whose work has great relevance for me as listener is Morton Feldman and works like AtlantisPatterns in a Chromatic FieldNeither and Rothko Chapel, to mention a few. Also I am interested in the work of composers and artists like Dick Raaijmakers, Richard Marclay, Patrick Farmer, the Coppice project in Chicago, Francisco Meirino, the VVAALR project in London, Stephen Cornford and Yann Leguay.

Would you mind speaking a little concerning your working process, i.e., do you have a regular schedule for writing; do you use a computer for composing (either for creating pre-composition materials or notation), if so, do you find that it inhibits your process?  What other technology, if any, do you use?

My composition process is based on recordings that I capture with air microphones, contact microphones and hydrophones. Today I focus on recording the sounds produced during the production process and exhibition of my installations and also on recording all sort of sounds that I produce in my studio working with matter and vibration. 

I compose with recordings in an editing process based on layering and sequencing.  Sometimes I work with little fragments; sometimes I work with one hour recordings.  Sometimes I manipulate the recordings that I work with, sometimes I don’t. 

To compose I use a computer and a very basic sequencing software called Audacity which allows me to work with channels/layers, cut and paste and make changes on the equalization and amplification of the sounds.  I have always worked with a computer but today the composing process occurs a lot during the staging and recording process; by that I mean that I first stage a situation, record it and then, the next situation that I stage in this process I do it as a narrative continuation of the previous one.

Website | Vimeo

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