domingo, 7 de octubre de 2012

"Luz" (Streamline, 2012) reviewed by Fluid Radio

Posted On: October 7, 2012

Environmental sounds receding before gentle notes. Notes blurring into tones. Tones washing into grains, and fading into clouds and spaces. Spaces filled by the sound of rain…
These two long-form pieces are the result of collaboration between Federico Durand and Nicholas Szczepanik – both authors of fantastic albums this year – Durand’s ‘El Libro De Los Árboles Mágicos’ and Szczepanik’s ‘Please Stop Loving Me’ – the first an expert blend of field recordings and electronic textures, the latter a wonderfully realized slice of choral drone.
There is always a danger that collaboration will result in less than the whole – either each player backs off too much, too respectful and we lose their individual voices, or both deploys every bag-of-tricks they know to try and snare the spotlight. Happily, there is none of this here. We can guess at who might be responsible for leading each segment; the evolving drone in the second half of the first side bears Szczepanik’s fingerprints – the interplay of recordings and textures that bookend it feel more like Durand’s, but to ‘train-spot’ these passages misses the point of most collaborative practices, and the quality of the music here.
Having open, slow moving pieces works to the music’s advantage – rather than try to distill ideas into four or six pieces, segments, ideas, themes, sounds, are given space to unspool slowly (like the sound of film spooling through projector that runs through the opening minutes of side 2). While this can lead to hours of aimless noodling – a cd-r is can feel a very long seventy-four minutes – here the shifts between longer passages are perfectly timed; a looped vocal phoneme pings gently between speakers, and twenty seconds later, the entrance of plucked chords – a hint of banjo – changes the focus beautifully.
The second side slides in and out of focus – like the sepia pink-toned photograph on the cover – sometimes highlighting notes and chords, sometimes slipping back into time-dilating waves of granular sound. These shifts between textures are a joy to listen to – never jarring, never simply one obliterating the other – a sense of four hands at the desk, working with one mind.
This is a gem of an album; beautiful, thoughtful, that creates its own sense of time by giving its many ideas space to unfold. Guaranteed to reward repeated listens, get this while you can. Recommended!
- John Boursnell for Fluid Radio


Thank you very much Fluid Radio, John Boursnell and Daniel Crossley!