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Francisco Lopez, "Untitled (2010)"

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cover imageUnlike his usual penchant for releasing single, album long pieces, this two disc compilation collects nine distinct, different pieces with the only specific commonality being the year that they were recorded.  For that alone it makes it a wonderful introduction to López' complex, often difficult to absorb artistry.

Alone At Last

Across the two discs, López utilizes most of his varying techniques of composition, resulting in tracks that sound significantly different from one another.  Even those with a similar source can vary drastically:  while "Untitled #241" and "Untitled #264" both use source material from other artists, they go in entirely different directions.  The former remains rather static through its 11-minute duration, sticking mostly to a layer of clicky textures and digital skips, resulting in a sub-rhythmic collage of sound.  The latter clocks in at a bit under three minutes and sounds like the infinitely drifting rattles of a metal cymbal that fell to the floor, without a sense of rhythm at all.

López' use and dissection of field recordings is also employed in a few pieces.  Both "Untitled #265" and "Untitled #268" use this technique, the former using environmental sounds from Spain, the latter from southern Holland.   "Untitled #265" trades in ultrasonic frequencies that build to a dramatic, droning crescendo before falling away to reveal vast sparseness and an intermittent, heavily treated thud.  "Untitled #268" keeps things more identifiable, with obvious animal noises and ambience with the addition of some percussive rattling later on.

"Untitled #269" uses even less processing on its field recordings, collected at various Buddhist monasteries across Myanmar.  Initially it is a heavily layered collage of voices chanting and singing, creating a chillingly disorienting cacophony of unintelligible voices before peeling them apart, leaving more individual voices singing and chanting with only a smattering of reverb.  Separated they seem harmless, but layered together produces a disturbing effect.

Oddly enough the pieces on disc 1 are not given the same sort of description in the liner notes as they are on disc 2. "Untitled #242" twists and folds the recordings into high pitched, shimmering affairs that are initially understated, but eventually evolve into microscopic recordings of glass shattering loudly before dropping to near silence.  "Untitled #246" goes in an entirely different direction, using some textural noises with less treated field recordings, clearly recognizable from the sound of flowing water and occasional environmental clatters.  While the former piece was heavily digital and distorted, this one is more natural and organic.

Like his Untitled (2009) collection from last year, this is representative of López' often oblique and challenging, but ultimately rewarding catalog.  The Nowhere box set is another example of this collection approach, but 10 discs is a bit daunting.  The presentation, however, is a bit odd on this release.  Packaged in a sumptuous, die cut and multi-folding package of geometric patterns and colors (which seems to be a label trademark), the look of the release is such a far cry from López' usual stark, sometimes completely absent artwork.  The design and aesthetic is wonderful, it just seems a bit out of the norm for a usually austere artist.



Last Updated on Sunday, 17 June 2012 21:01  


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