I can't work out these Atlantic Waves compilations that come with The Wire each year. The 2005 one had some Portuguese fado on it, and I was expecting a little more of the same from this one. No, sir. Instead a series of pieces from the glitchy end of sonic art. When you're looking for something to relax to, well, I turned down the volume pretty quickly and then turned it off before too long. I thought it might upset the Boy, but he seemed unfazed. He can hear things in frequency ranges that are literally beyond my senses, so perhaps there was something more calming going on up there.
I don't recognise the names of the artists, apart from Terre Thaemlitz and Tim Hecker. When I come across an ensemble called something like @c, I like to imagine someone's aunt going into their neighbourhood record shop and asking the assistant at the counter, "Have you got anything by…?" and the conversation that would follow. Or if you want a more 21st century scenario, try searching the iTunes Store or Amazon for @c. That's what happens when artists depend on subsidies rather than sales, see.
The world of sonic art is an hermetic one. I confess I am periodically tempted to submerge myself in it, much as I'm periodically tempted to retreat to a monastery for a few years. From the outside it does appear kind of shut off from what the rest of us get up to.
But getting back to the compilation itself, I see it's funded by the Portuguese tourist agency among others, but (according to their Last.fm biographies), only a small handful of the 29 artists are actually from Portugal. Fair enough, it's billed as a sampler for some gigs at the ICA a year ago, and not as "Exploratory Music from Portugal" like the 2005 one. I still don't get it, though. I should probably read the magazine more closely.