[ reviews ]

warszawa4. warszawa restaurant [ rec. 1995 ]

> rel. 1995 - CD Trente Oiseaux, Germany (website)
>> res. 1998 - CD Trente Oiseaux, Germany (website)
Francisco López "Warszawa Restaurant" (CD - Trente Oiseaux, 1995)
Francisco's first CD for TRENTE OISEAUX contains a dark, haunting soundscape in seven parts: far away resonances over dark waves, deep submarine space; like a magician, he suspends time with a slow gesture... Trente Oiseaux press release (Germany, 1995)

Francisco López "Warszawa Restaurant" (CD - Trente Oiseaux, 1995)
"Warszawa Restaurant" was one of the first albums to be released from the ultra-minimalist Francisco López back in 1995, though he provides hints that he has an immense amount of work that predates this album and has yet to be released. This is mostly from his ongoing "Untitled" series which begins with "Untitled 74" (one of his most unsuccessful works which happened to be released on Table of the Elements). Anyway, "Warszawa Restaurant" fits into López' ideas of manipulated any given acoustic space with the intrusion of increasingly powerful drones culled from environmental recordings. Air conditioning ducts, wind, the ambient din of a city, rainforests, run out grooves for vinyl, and of course death metal blast beats ("Untitled 108") have been some of sources for the textural recordings that López has manipulated into his dynamic compositions that blur the boundaries between silence and sound. For the most part, López doesn't wish his source material to be known... and "Warzawa Restaurant" delivers in the mystery department. Bleak swells of grey sounds slowly breathe and fluctuate out of periods of silence, with very little direct references to the world around us. Instead, this album forces the listener to concentrate on their auricular surroundings in an attempt to make us aware of his belief that the world itself is the most extravagant instrument known to man. Aquarius Records website (USA, 2003)

Francisco López "Warszawa Restaurant" (CD - Trente Oiseaux, 1995)
Clearly an overview and critical analysis of the entire Bernhard Gunter Trente Oiseaux series is in order at some point. For the López discs, they are both very characteristic of what he does and has been doing for many years now. Very low, quiet bass tones; white noise; imperceptible events; glass breaking subharmonics. Events not unlike the sound of nature without human intervention. Events not unlike mechanistic, human-machine creations that have crept into our every day lives and exist unchallenged as sonic environments. As far as recommending these discs, you really have to want to allow this type of listening into your world. Sit back with your refrigerator and maybe leave the door open to your house for a introductory sample. Maybe try reading John Cage's essential manifesto Silence to help open your ears. López's art speaks very much to me as a Cage-like listening challenge that has been proliferated since the early fifties by the likes of Morton Feldman, Earle Brown, Anna Lockwood, Alvin Lucier, and even today with Gunter and his cohorts in exploration. That is not to say it is not interesting or good; on the contrary, López's creations are quite compelling because of the mindset required for a truly deep-listening experience. I feel the best experience requires total submission - a submission not on the level of a Peter Brotzman tenor solo, wherein your are clobbered and pummeled into listening - but a submission that requires removal of one's self from one's surroundings to allow one's self to truly experience those surroundings. Sounds like psychedelic drugs, huh? Well, maybe that's what it takes for some people to get there. López is apparently trying to challenge that same notion Cage so eloquently revolutionized during the mid-century and continued to embark upon until his death: the experience of listening. It's not an argument about is it music or is it art. Those questions are long gone. It's both and neither. Most certainly it's a challenge to the audience. I never bought any age recordings because that was never really the point to me. The same goes for López, except that the Cagean bullshit concept of randomness is removed and replaced by an attempt for total environmental control. Of the two reviewed, Belle Confusion 966 is my favourite (and is perhaps one of my favourite of all the López I've been lucky enough to hear), primarily because of the length and slow development of the main 56 minute track. Think distant, sustained thunder storms and ambient room noise amplified, but kept at such a low volume, you are not sure where or if it is really happening. The second track is a curious 18-minute live piece that includes a decent level of volume (amplification) and events enhancing and augmenting the overall noise/drone. (Curious, however is the inclusion of an audience response of cheers and applause at the end, as if to indicate, "See, I can do this stuff live too; I am a composer" - such inclusions have always been suspect to me counter to the philosophy, perhaps; certainly challengeable). I really do like this stuff, but I think it's gotta be hard for a lot of people to swallow. It must be the sheer audacity of a disc with little to no perceptible events to the naked ear that ultimately impresses me. Yeah, I think that's it. www.info.net.nz/opprobrium (New Zealand, 2004)