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Francisco López/Luca Sigurtà – Erm


Francisco López/Luca Sigurtà - ERMSome apocalyptic but imaginative futurists have posited that mankind will morph into a species of boneless jellyfish, once we leave the protective epidermis of Earth’s gravity well. Artists, musicians and sound designers face a similar dilemma, with a nearly infinite amount of possibilities available to even the cheapest project studio. Therefore the challenge presented to the would-be sound sculptor is one of limitation and self-control.

On Erm, a split between renowned maximalist Francisco López and Italian noisenik Luca Sigurtà, the two electronic improvisors surmount this challenge by using the same samples, yielding dissimilar but recognizable results. López’s side is way more subtle and spacious, frequently blending in with the environment, while Sigurtà’s take is of the power/bliss/drone/noise variety, pouring out like the molten steel that devoured Schwartzenegger at the end of Terminator 2.

The fact that both composers were utilizing the same source material, and presumably similar recording gear, proves an interesting illustration of both the personalities of the performers, as well as the concerns of the aspiring musique concrètiste: that of making music out of pre-recorded sounds, or making beguiling sound art. Working with tapes and samples, the composer has total tonal control over the harmonic character of reality, making warped simulacra congeal in thin air. Both sides of this release are broaching 30 minutes, making vast sonic continents to wander around. It sounds like a robotic replication of a primordial forest, wind whistling through high-tension creeper vines, while volcanoes belch and smoke in the distance.

Some of the more jaded of the noise elite have accused Francisco López of releasing too much music (he’s released nine albums and collaborations so far this year). First of all, nobody expects you to buy every single release. Secondly, collaborations and compilations are the lifeblood of the current noise scene, proving an honest reflection of what it is like to be a part of these communities, to know these musicians, to be involved. Haters have accused López of being unfocused, undisciplined, like one of those humanowars I talked about at the beginning. To be blunt, it seems to me that this critics aren’t proper noiseheads, or maybe a different breed (maybe some of those harsh noise wall types), as it seems to me that a defining characteristic of a noise fiend would be the love of getting lost in sound, of letting yr imagination flood with surreal and unknown visions.

Erm could serve as an interesting introduction to the field of sound manipulation, or to give burgeoning producers some ideas on how to spin the straw of raw audio into gilded tapestries. Both composers know what they are doing, and its a joy to watch them work and get lost in their imaginations for an hour.

– J Simpson-

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