Room40, the Australian experimental label run by Lawrence English, has just ticked over to its fifteenth year of operation. To usher in the new era, here is a new record from Rafael Anton Irisarri. A Fragile Geography is a very Room40 LP, a densely layered mass of sound that forms a gorgeous heavy-ambient wash.
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- A Fragile Geography by Rafael Anton Irisarri
7/10 Jim Staff review, 03 October 2015
Lawrence English’s Brisbane-based Room40 label continues into its fifteenth year with a flurry of releases. This latest LP from the US ambienteer, Rafael Anton Irisarri, churns up dense, atmosphere-heavy slabs of elegiac melancholia that will appeal to fans of William Basinski, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and most of the Kranky canon. Having had all his music gear stolen whilst moving from Seattle to New York, this record features a newfound sense of focus and reductive concentration, through which Irisarri wrings maximal results from a minimal palette of blurred, sepia-tinged lo-fi textures and vast layered synth cycles.
The pieces here all showcase Irisarri’s mastery of creating a mysterious, dusky atmosphere, with faint hints of field recordings, and then bringing in a central melodic line from the ether. These melodies emerge like distant mirages and develop subtly until, before you know it, you’re engulfed in a tumultuous harmonic monolith of soaring synth lines. Irisarri seems to favour emotive synth sounds; like the David Lynchian strings of ‘Hiatus’ or the epic choral wash and Steve Reichian pulsations of ‘Reprisal’, all embellished with heavy modulation and just a touch of more experimental processing that brings out a certain otherworldliness.
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