Richard Francis

Three Tracks

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The third release from New Zealand's CMR label is a 3" CD EP by Richard Francis, also known as Eso Steel. Simply titled Three Tracks (and the three tracks in question have been left untitled), it contains perplexing music of the extremely quiet kind. The press release states that Francis works with field recordings. It may be so, but it is hard to tell. What he keeps from them can be qualified as non-events: hiss, background noise, the tiniest, most faceless textures. It could be worn out tape running through a Revox or heavily filtered recordings of deserted pastures on a windy day. Francis arranges these barely audible sounds in short pockets separated by long stretches of silence. These constructions can be absorbing, but only if you are willing to surrender all thoughts while listening to them. They are even more difficult than Francisco López's and Koji Asano's most quiet pieces.