Francisco López & Miguel A. García | Ekkert Nafn
These two artists spent time collecting a pool of sounds together before individually exploring their own direction with them. The album title, Ekkert Nafn, is a mash-up of two Icelandic words that effectively translate as “no name”, and this abstract, mysterious title is certainly fitting for the release here on the Cronica label.
Francisco López contributes an extended, 31 minute piece that bristles with energy from the get-go. This track, to my ears, is a bit of a departure for López, whose work often hovers just above the possibilities of perception. Untitled #351 is a sonically rich tapestry of processed field recordings, woven together in such a way that sounds whizz and whirl in abundance. This slightly cacophonous introduction lasts for 5 minutes before we enter more familiar López territory. As the energy abruptly cuts out and we are left with silence, save for some microscopic pin pricks of audio. Barely perceptible is a low frequency rumble, only heard if the listener turns up the volume. But of course there’s the fear that a louder sound might suddenly burst out from the speakers… and it does! Rasping, ragged digital detritus begins to sparkle and fizz across the stereo spread, and the whole track comes to life again. Personally, I found this extremely satisfying, like López was really letting go and pushing the sonic boundaries. Again, a silence encroaches at the track’s midway point, and this to-ing and fro-ing between the loud and the quiet is effective in keeping the listener’s attention, and serves as a precarious balance.
Applainessads by Miguel A. García also begins his piece with hard sounds. There are more bass tones and speaker shaking low frequencies present here that contrast well with López’s piece, which overall lent more towards treble. García drops little sonic boom depth charges of that punctuate layers of stretched static and reversed samples. There is a maximalist approach going on here, and those reversed sounds are repeated, creating a looped pattern that plays with the listener’s expectations. The piece continues in this vein until half way through, when those layers begin to subside, and subtle details emerge. The low end starts to take over, casting a murky shadow over proceedings, and little sonar-like pings escape up like bubbles rising to the surface. Listening with my eyes closed brought images of deep water submersion, the weight and pressure of oceanic depth having a profound effect on my inner senses.