Moody and atmospheric with a nocturnal pulse, “U” is composed of 4 nostalgic experimental ambient tracks drawn from the deep legacy of post-punk and new wave with the silhouette of jazz and the spirit of free improvisation. Sonically, the music is a direct continuation of Palma’s previous work but with a thematically more personal approach. Recorded between November 2022 to February 2023, the majority of the tracks were done in a single take.
The album scintillates with elegant inclusions from Chilean musician Sebastián Román (Persona RS) whom Palma worked in collaboration with. These unique details contributed to defining the album’s sound without overcomplicating the musical delivery. The mastering by Nes Rodríguez (BYM Records) brought warmth and analogue texture, giving the music a spectral richness. These additions enhanced the record’s pre-existing nuances.
The finishing touch to the album was the playful but minimal cover art created by Trinidad Davanzo (Still Life Stylist and Set Designer), a collage of objects collected from her joint home with Palma, based in Berlin.
The single “UU” is scheduled for release on 2 February followed by the full album “U” release on 16 February 2024.
Ap Ducal began in 2012 as the independent musical project of Camilo Palma, based on improvised live sessions, atmospheric textures and certain kinds of soundtrack music. Palma has been a band member in Mutrone (Le Rock Psicophonique), Fulin Lawen (ETCS Records) and a live band member in Föllakzoid (Sacred Bones).
Over the past year, I’ve been working on the development of this new album “U” by Ap Ducal, which continues in the sonic sequence of previous records, but this time from a more personal perspective. The sound, the process, and the timing of this album are imbued with the idea of collecting and enjoying the sonic elements and influences that have had the most impact on me. Perhaps as a form of nostalgia or simply as a tribute to music styles like post-punk, new wave, and even some compositional elements of jazz, in a long-play format. I tried to incorporate these elements into the four tracks of this album. An example of this is the theme “UUUU,” based on The Cure’s song “A Forest.” These four themes were completely recorded in my home studio, using only four elements per song in a band-like format, which is essentially the format I’ve been most familiar with in my career. The challenge was how to do this as a solo artist with unconventional instruments in my context.
The instrument setup included a drum machine, the Arturia DrumBrute, handling the rhythm section with separate layer for each element, snare, kick, tom, and hi-hat, allowing me to work on the unique characteristics of each element individually. Punchy bass lines were played on a Moog Sub 37 synthesizer, while synthesizer textures, LFO, oscillators, cutoff filters, and arpeggios came from a Behringer Monopoly synthesizer. Finally, the Fender Jaguar guitar added the warmer, more organic, and aggressive moments to the album. Most of the tracks were recorded in a single take, maintaining an improvisational character and evolving as the development of the themes progressed.
These recordings were made between November 2022 and February 2023, in a continuous workflow with Sebastián Román (Persona RS), a Chilean musician and producer closely related with electronic music but with a musical repertoire around folk, pop, rock, jazz, and electronic music for almost two decades. It was important to take this into account when working with him, in addition to our previous musical connections. We worked with a dynamic method in which I sent him the pre-mixed tracks as I finished them. By this way, each theme drew inspiration from Sebastián’s production and mixing work, resulting in continuous feedback between each theme and between Sebastián’s work and mine. He added elegant and unique details to the limited tracks we worked with, allowing us to define the album’s sound very directly without overcomplicating the musical delivery.
The mastering was handled by Nes, the man behind the Chilean label BYM Records. Nes worked to add warmth and analogue texture to the machine’s sound, which was initially played as cleanly and raw as possible, creating a consistent result in line with this intention. This was the intention of making a homemade album, without using a computer for musical tasks, but limiting it exclusively to sound recording.
The album cover was created by my wife Trinidad Davanzo, and it also follows the theme mentioned at the beginning. This time, it pays homage to a life process marked by collecting and, this time, as a tribute to our home and the things that surround it. Trinidad put together a collage of objects from our apartment that reflect the passage of time, complement, and unity present during that stage of our lives.
In the end, all of this is part of a new life that we are building from a previous story, a life that we have chosen to create from a new place, Berlin.
— Camilo Palma (AP DUCAL), December 2023.
All music by Camilo Palma
Drum machine, synths and guitar by Camilo Palma
Mixed by Sebastián Román and Camilo Palma
Post-production by Sebastián Román
Mastering by Nes Rodríguez
Album artwork and photography by Trinidad Davanzo
℗ Ap Ducal
© Weisskalt Records 2024
Ap Ducal Single Release of UU – 2nd February
Ap Ducal Full Album Release of U – 16th February