[ reviews ]

untitled #924. untitled #92 [ rec. 1999 ]

> rel. 2000 - LP Mego, Austria ()
Francisco López "Untitled #92" (LP, Mego - Austria)
"to be multi-layered with several copies"
Rare vinyl appearance from this respected and profilic sound artist. This LP can be used to play simultaneously in four turntables, running the different tracks slightly de-synchronized, so they merge and turn slowly into different parts,creating a big sound mass of vinylcracklings.The edition is pressed on white vinyl." (MUSIQUE KORREKT)

Francisco López "Untitled #92" (The Wire, UK)
This is exactly the kind of record (and what a record record: gorgeous solid white vinyl curvature and weight) that Guardian reviewers and other far-ahead types sniggerinly hold up as proof of the continued risibility of the thought of an 'avant garde'. The fact that Francisco López's symphony of Absence is nothing if not pure delirious PLEASURE seems to evade such 'critics'. What precisely are they so spooked by?
In conventional terms, this is four pieces of (I would guess) 'identical' length, each an echo-setting of a different run-out groove. The same immaterial Thing: recorded, rechorded, multiplied. They all take a while to come on, the way 'actual' music does once the run out groove recedes... and then they repeat: gloriously, jarringly, germanely, hauntingly, surprisingly. Track two, I find (especially with the bass down a notch), is as hypnotic as good dub, whereas track three is more like rainfall beating against isolated windows. Track four is the most 'beautiful' in my opinion, as well as the most funky. Track one? Track one is everything a track one ought to be.
UNsound sculpture: multilication, fold-out, fold-in. #92 is all the bits of hearing we don't want to hear and have (had) banished from our new, cold, clean, CD-shiny listening archive: dust, repetition, catch, scratch, ghosting, all the uncanny places where all out DIRT collects and sticks and burns. Here, set free to run and spark and sizzle.
The record -the actual vinyl I mean- is a pure translucent white. It will inevitably catch more gunk and hairs and cat fluff and drifting skin the more you play it. If you keep it sealed, it will remain everything it is not: perrfect, undusted, indifferent. But if you take it out -as I do, at all hours- then inevitably you will 'spoil' it. But spoil it how? By adding to its discrepancy and crepitude and disgrace. By adding, in turn, a further return of scratch and dust and seepage.
#92 is all ellision, crackle, undulation. López takes the groove of reception/farewell -the ultimate 'in-between place' of the run-in run-out groove- and 'fills' it with emptiness, with all that has been erased in its wake to leave the simple act of listening, turned into an impossible rhythm.
Nothing but repetition, they will say. But of course! I would be happy for it to go on forever. Morton Feldman style. We will never be done listening to this sound. As part of its jouissance, too, it reminds you of the impossible violence of our old hearings: the tearing into, the rusty nail through snowy fold, of a stylus through vinyl.
López never attempts to join the dots and turn it all into some smart aleck symphony, but is acutely happy sinply allowing these sounds their day in the sun, barely there, playing along the edges of being.
And I love the fact that it's not for anything, that it pushes the notion of a 'single' to a borderline of utter ridicule/sublimity, where all the shapes are about to shift, all the beats about to melt, all the sounds in the world be forgotten, then remembered, then forgotten again. #92 is the sound before (and after) Ambient. The sound of 'run out' groove as an endless introduction... to Nothing. The sound of angels through e-mail -and the sea heard through the ear of your free PPP connection- and a distantelectronic shore where waves of 'information' break crackling against sublime Absence.
And anyone who can't hear the pleasure that rains through Francisco López... well, all I can say is: it's your lack, fill it how you will. Me? I nominate this the record of my year so far. In all senses.