Francisco López

Le Chemin du Paradis

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Le Chemin du Paradis presents one piece each by Steve Roden and Francisco López, plus one work in collaboration. Both artists have been involved for some time in the rediscovery of hidden sounds, be them accidental or everyday background noise. So their pairing doesn't come as a surprise. The 18-minute title track is the collaboration. López gets a few seconds of his obligatory pre-music silence before the track launches right into a droning soundscape. Cavernous sounds are soon joined by chirping sounds and from there on the piece takes the form of a dreamy field recording among ruins of concrete. It evolves over time, remaining lightly dynamic and captivating throughout. Roden's 16-minute solo piece "Slab/Tilt (Schindler House 4)" explores quieter realms. This time it sounds like a real field recording, unless it has been recorded in an apartment with the recording levels set very high. Noise from the street seeps in, but the main element is a strange cranking noise moving back and forth from left to right (it's probably something very mundane, but not seeing it makes it impossible to identify). Light music enters after a few minutes, a keyboard soundscape with a faint melody. This process of accretion, of a gradual stacking of sound elements, is what gives Roden's music its appeal, its soul. You stay focused on it, waiting to find out what he'll bring in next. López's solo contribution is the 30-minute "Untitled No. 129." He pushes his quiet aesthetic to its very limit. Upon first listening, it is likely you will hear absolutely nothing. Crank the volume several times higher than usual, however, and a very soft crackling can be perceived in the second third of the piece. The first and last thirds are blank, as has been the case for most of López's output since 2000. But the artist usually recommends a normal listening level to experience his music as he intends. So there is sound, but all you hear is silence. That's called conceptual art.

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