Well what do we have here. Sumptuously subtle sounds from Argentinian sound artist Federico Durand. Blending field recordings with reverb-heavy piano, guitar and tape loops, Musica Para Manuel is steeped in melancholy and creeps along purposefully at its own pace. Marvellous. Out on digipak CD from Hibernate. Limited to 200 copies.
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- Musica Para Manuel by Federico Durand
8/10 Robin Staff review, 17 March 2015
It’s a delight to hear Federico Durand again after being warmly comforted through the dwindling October days by 2014’s ‘La Estrella Dormida’, a patchwork of conventional drone compositions that understood the simple delight found in reassurance and repetition. Few artists are as good for your Monday morning cluelessness, when you have no idea what to play to your coffee percolator, and Durand envies Kyle Bobby Dunn for crafting evocative but seamless drones for synth, field recordings and creaking instruments.
On this reissue and upgrade of ‘Musica Para Manuel’, his works are rawer, drawing more overtly from rumbling field recordings, and emphasising piano as a centrepiece: “I” takes archaic chords as its base and lets the rest of Durand’s tricks fill in the extended scenery. The notes, muffled and played softly enough to disappear without resistance, resemble Ian William Craig’s early work for piano, and also show a Cage-esqe affection for hearing silence. “II” uses tinkering, chiming instrumentation to lightly develop a droning framework of watery recorded sound.
Durand’s use of percussive sound is perhaps what makes ‘Musica Para Manuel’ so astonishing -- on “III’, he extracts it from its natural rhythm, using fumbling sounds to posit a constant cycle. It’s drone that doesn’t extend itself onward to eternity, but instead comes back around, over and over again. While Durand’s work can tremble with anxiety -- such as on the thrummed piano and bell-tolling of “IV” -- it’s mostly something a lot warmer. It's a good time playing on loop.
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