Francisco López

Untitled #89

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Francisco Lopez' discs on the Touch label come in clear, empty jewel boxes with no booklet or other information save what is barely legibly inscribed on the disc itself. One could argue that this Spartan approach reflects the music therein, with the composer's single-minded investigation of the extremes of noise and quite, both amply represented on this disc. The single piece builds from near silence, gradually (very gradually) accruing sounds of a harsh and industrial nature, as if one is slowly drawing near a massive power plant. Although in one sense monolithic, the listener can discern multiple strands of sound giving the strong impression of not only various sources but also sources that vary in apparent distance as they seem to echo back and mingle with each other, forming a rich and complex web. As the din increases (and, boy, does it increase), one gets the impression of standing inside a jet engine, totally surrounded by a furious cloud of sound. Then, 41 minutes and 25 seconds into the work, just as your fillings are about to disintegrate: total silence. Maybe. Seventeen-plus minutes of it. Or is it silence? If one hikes the volume, is that recorded sound you hear or the inherent buzz of your speakers? It's very hard, if not impossible, to tell. But Lopez' point is clear: Here are two supposed polar opposites of sound, and each, in their own way, can be equally compelling, even equally oppressive. Untitled #89 is a very impressive document, both for its actual sonic content and its conceptual ground.

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