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> rel. 2001 - double CD .absolute.[osaka]/Allquestions, Japan/Italy ()
John Duncan / Francisco López "NAV" (double CD - Allquestions / .absolute.[osaka], 2001)
Francisco López / Zbigniew Karkowski "Whint" (double CD -.absolute.[london], 2001)

Two double CD's, two collaborations, one Francisco López. On both of these recent releases, we find one CD by López and one by his fellow collaborator, John Duncan and Zbigniew Karkowski. As far as I understand, one each production both work on the same sound material. Let's see how the approaches work. NAV-Gate is the López side of the work with John Duncan. In 51 minutes he paints us much silence, or better near silence, and sometimes more audible parts which occassionally rises out of the almost silence. It's almost perfect ambient music that is presented here. Soft drones, an occasional bump and towards the very last minute a more then audible sound. To even image where López gets his sounds from, is an impossible task. An airconditiong system, the humms of motors, or just a microphone hanging in an abonned village? It might all be possible, but López will not reveal anything, not in his music, not by writing about it. NAV-Flex is the Duncan part. Knowing John quite a bit as a composer of extremes, he moves here into the more subdued extremes, maybe it's the López influence? Larger sections in this one piece opus are very quiet, but not as extreme as López, but still... Another important difference is that Duncan works with various blocks of sound, lengthy indeed, but various blocks he puts together with cross fades, other then López who seems to work with just one piece of sound (but maybe not of course). It's hard to tell wether they both used the same sounds, but maybe that's of lesser importance... A likewise collaboration went between López and Karkowski. I think here the use the same material, and if I'm not mistaken it's either the amplification of hiss or a far away recording of the sea. López again plays a difficult thing with the listener with a few blocks of processed sound, but also large blocks in which hardly anything happens. If you crank up the volume in those parts, something is there and the parts that were already audible become very loud. I guess that's the idea. Karkowski on his side made a lot of sound treatments of the original recordings and paints us a very nice collage of these processings. Less noisy then some might expect, but more and more I think Karkowski's power lies in composing "softer" music. This work can easily be ranked to his best yet... Vital Weekly (The Netherlands, 8/01)

John Duncan / Francisco López "NAV" (double CD - Allquestions / .absolute.[osaka], 2001)
With two names like these, it's guaranteed. The first of the two CD's, NAV-gate, presents López and Duncan chiselling vibrations that are often suspended at the limit of the audible, and it's true that playback via headphones brings discoveries to the ear that speakers not in a setting of total silence don't catch. The color of the sound seems dark, galactic, in a limbo that contains spirits now ready to make the leap to the center of the earth, to know once and for all the origin of its continuous tremors. A few percussive touches seperate the parts, and in the end you'll find yourself disoriented, needing to understand yet aware of invisible forces new to us. The second disk, NAV-FLEX, starts off from a sort of electroacoustic 'lightning', a dry flash of frequencies that start together as a chord, but then are divided, chasing each other and almost disappearing, only to return and show themselves in the distance, meteorites not flying wild but driven by the same great centripetal force that sent them out. It's a matter of choosing where to stand: through their work, there are artists who open the mind much more than a thousand books, thanks to a simple concept taken through analysis; John and Francisco are in this company. Otherwise, we can continue to memorize tracks taken from other writings, just to make ourselves look good... but we remain so very, very small. Ascolti Profondi Magazine (Italy, 9/01)

John Duncan / Francisco López "NAV" (double CD - Allquestions / .absolute.[osaka], 2001)
Hmm. These experimental ambient drone electronics guys sure keep themselves -- and each other -- busy. Elsewhere on this list you'll find another double cd that sees López teaming up with Zbignew Karkowski. And there's also a Karkowski/Xopher Davidson disc too. Etc. But if they can't get enough of the drones, well, that's 'cause neither can you, right? So check this out...
Both artists collaborated in collecting all of the source material found on "Nav" (mostly very obscure acousmatic field recordings, datastream broadcasts, and shortwave transmissions) and then took those recordings to their respectives studios to construct very distinct compositions. For his composition"Gate", López buries all of the original sounds within his slow moving, deep sonorous drones that are quietly audible, but do reward the listeners who crank up the volume. Duncan, on the otherhand, is far more dynamic in his sound constuction "Flex", beginning with a discordant organ blast which steadily fades into a silence which in turn is disrupted by a quiet steady bass throb (a heartbeat?). That organ blast returns with a menacing slash that melds into nervous washes of processed data / shortwave recordings. While the López piece is certainly nice for López, it's a little tough to comprehend why it's a collaboration. Duncan's piece really does attempt to bring the silences of López to the tense, psychological investigations that Duncan prefers.
Nevertheless, another fine effort from two of the more interesting contemporary composers. Aquarius Records website (USA, 2003)