The Musique Concrete Ensemble

Disonancias y Repeticiones Ambiguas

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This album is the debut release by the Musique Concrete Ensemble and the Orlando-based label Eco Discos. It almost screams for deception and misinterpretation: Raphael Irisarri's project sounds nothing like the musique concrete pioneers it hints at (including Thomas Ekelund's nouveau-retro cover design) and the "dissonances and ambiguous repetitions" announced in its title are nowhere to be found. Sure, there are atonal background textures and some repetition, but it isn't any more ambiguous than what we find on a regular basis in Krautrock or IDM. What the MCE sets out to achieve is a symbiosis between avant-garde trends of the early 2000s and instrumental post-rock. The resulting music, despite the message conveyed by the package and press blurb, is a pleasing form of creative instrumental music rooted in pop and rock. Brian Eno's '70s pop albums come to mind, but also Yo La Tengo, Below the Sea, even Radiohead, among others. It doesn't mean that the album is not good, it simply explains the lukewarm reaction of the avant-garde music press. If you approach this album for what it is, you are in for a treat. Irisarri has a clever sense of ambience. His tunes breathe easily and quickly put you in the right mood. His soaring guitar soundscapes, simple drum patterns, dreamy guitar accompaniment, and occasional ghostly wordless vocal insertions all gel together into a trippy aural journey. And the combination between noisy drones and catchy tunes runs deeper than, say, the disposable background textures (supplied on a second disc to be played back simultaneously with the "main" one) of Locust's Wrong. If the idea of field recordings and drones turning mainstream gives you nightmares, stay away. Otherwise, this is a very fine disc.

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