Wednesday, January 31, 2007

RAFAEL ANTON IRISARRI: Daydreaming (Miasmah Recordings)

RAFAEL ANTON IRISSARI
Daydreaming
MIACD004
Miasmah Recordings 2007
07 Tracks. 34mins07secs




Miasmah Recordings

Since Norwegian duo Deaf Center deployed their voluptuous blend of Gothic electronica back in 2004, there has been a pretty regular stream of associated releases related to Erik Skodvin, from his solo project (Svarte Greiner) to that of Miasmah, the imprint he set up (Greg Haines, Encre). Sound artist Rafael Anton Irisarri hails from Seattle, where he curates the Kupei Musika imprint. He has released minimal electronica as Luken, but this is his first album under his own name, and here, he explores radically different forms of music.

On Daydreaming, Irisarri paints incredibly subtle impressionist vignettes with sparse touches of piano and electronics. Each piece casts a particular light upon this effortlessly elegant suite, making it a beautiful and captivating record.

Unlike the claustrophobic formations found on Skodvin’s output as Svarte Greiner or the haunting spaces of Greg Haines’s recent Slumber Tides, Irisarri relies on gossamer drapes and carves wonderfully light and airy pieces. Traces of Brian Eno and Harold Budd are welcomed signposts in landscapes otherwise shrouded in fog. Waking Expectations, which opens, is a delicate reflective piece led by an omnipresent piano over which melancholic sound waves come crashing. When a guitar softly rains on the melody of A Thousand-Yard Stare, there is an echo of Budd’s collaboration with the Cocteau Twins. While treated sound debris cloud the opening moments of Wither, they are pushed aside by a particularly pure and sharp piano line. On Lumberton, Irisarri intensifies for a moment his execution for this surprisingly romantic piece, yet, here again, strips of Guthrie-esque guitar ornate the delicate melody until it fades away.

The piano is once again at the heart of Voigt-Kampf, but this time, in treated form. Lengthened and soften, each note becomes ethereal swathe, caught in a gentle breeze like a thought in a dream. Fractal displays a more ambitious series of soundscapes, with layers of fuzz and distortions slowly laid down over a muffled heartbeat-like rhythmic marker. Although the mood of the entire record lends itself to daydreaming, the title is especially relevant to these two particular tracks. Irisarri concludes with the haunting and contemplative A Glimpse.

Daydreaming is a haunting collection of stunning dreamscapes which not only allows for the mind to wander, but actively stimulates mental illusions and emotional attachment. Here, Irisarri assembles an incredibly consistent series of particularly elaborate and evocative ambient pieces which are likely to captivate for years to come.

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