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untitled #18851. untitled #188 [ rec. 2006 ]

> rel. 2008 - CD Con-v (website)
Francisco López - "untitled #188" (CD con-v, Spain 2008)
Anyone with Francisco López' considerable credentials will surely be a welcome addition to the roster of any label, and Con-V have persuaded him to contribute one of his full length "untitled" works to their now considerable catalogue.

The López sound in general swamps the active imagineer with a sea of images, and lack of any kind of titling only adds to the mystique of each piece. With no clearly defined conceptual cues being present, it is simply a process of active listening, and allowing oneself to be carried by each segment. Untitled #188 opens with a huge burst of activity, a gristly, taut swirl of electronica that gradually subsides over a prolonged period of time.

Frequencies and activities are slowly deleted, and become mere fixtures, as slowly the listener is plunged into the void, a placid, bubbling vacuum that menacingly lingers, and listened to under headphones leaves only sonic pressure on the ears, with no tangible hooks, or events to link us to reality. We are cast adrift in this uneasy, and slightly threatening environment, like being left in a cold, dark chamber, with no obvious reference points, nothing to hang on to. Gradually, glimmers of light appear, and sounds start to emerge once again, alien sounds that could be the minute movements of atoms, or some huge, alien energy source, once again threatening, but never too close. Everything is rinsed through with vast chasms of reverb, in an indefinable, yet deeply compelling atmosphere. This is film music, food for the imaginations of lonely souls, perhaps the lost soundtrack for some alternative "Eraserhead", definitely traversing David Lynch territory, with epic and obscure slants and gestures, it will increase López's stature as a master experimentalist for sure.

I can highly recommend. http://whiteline1.wordpress.com, March 2008

Francisco López - "untitled #188" (CD con-v, Spain 2008)
Back in Vital Weekly 537 I reviewed 'Montreal Sound Matter', a compilation CD, which was made up using sounds from that lovely Canadian city (I hope I now apply for a free plane ticket after all this promotion), put together by Francisco López as part of a workshop organized under his guidance. López lived in that city at that time, and had been there on numerous occasions. On 'Untitled #188' he goes back to all the sound material from that city he recorded over the years, as well as the sounds recorded for 'Montreal Sound Matter' and built a new seventy-one minute piece out of that. Perhaps as a goodbye to the city, since rumor has he is going to live in Amsterdam (which in my book is a big leap backwards, but alas). It's a very Lópezian work, divided in various sections of sounds from the environment, yet it's hard to recognize these sounds. I won't even try to make an assumption here. It moves from block to block, divided by silence, or near silence. It makes you aware of your environment, even in the silent street I live in. Highly 'processed' sounds, although perhaps (perhaps!) it's just a matter of making all the right equalization or even adding loops to the proceedings. Quite a dark piece that requires full attention. You should adjust the volume in the opening sequence. Put that up there, quite loud, and you'll be find for the rest of the CD. It moves away from the old López and his side steps with heavy metal samples, but it's so much better: a thoughtful collage of sounds, never near silence when the music actually plays and can easily meet his best releases, 'La Selva', 'Buildings [New York]' or his recent 'Pantagonia Wind'. Great first real CD for Con-V - way to go, boys. Vital Weekly, The Netherlands (March 2008)

Francisco López - "untitled #188" (CD con-v, Spain 2008)
RATED: 10 / 10 reviewed by Larry Johnson
The source sounds for Franciso López's Untitled #188 are environmental recordings collected in Montréal by López himself between 2001 - 2006 along with the gathered sounds of several other artists involved in the Montréal Matière Sonore project [2006]. However, surprising as it might seem, these details are pretty much irrelevant to the work at hand.

As with many of the López's works, the mutated sounds of Untitled #188 transcend the source. To paraphrase the artist, it's not important whether the recorded sounds come from nature or machines, they have their own being independent of the source context, so both the sound artist and listener should focus on the exact sound material that is being extracted from these sources rather than on the original collected sounds.

The name of Franciso López is one that is internationally recognized among contemporary sound artists. A veteran of the experimental music scene, he has been composing and performing his uniquely abstract sonic creations for over a quarter of a century. Untitled #188 is a continuation of his dedicated and passionate efforts and is the first true CD release for netlabel conv. Not satisfied with just creating sounds, López has made it a point to articulate the particulars of his efforts, developing and communicating the philosophy behind his methods. Untitled #188 is a recent exemplary demonstration of his labors.

In mathematics, when an abstraction of some idea or concept is envisioned it's taken out of its usual context/setting. Quite often the end result is something that has a deeper meaning and carries with it a more general applicability. For example, the abstraction of arithmetic resulted in the far richer branch of mathematics known as Algebra. I don't know how far this analogy can be carried to the abstraction of sound, but in the case of López's sound art I believe that there is a significant connection.

Abstract painters often use real images as the basis for a work of abstract art, but they deliberately make unrecognizable any concrete (or even latent) interpretations that might be connected to corporal source. López appears to have taken a comparable approach to composing his sound art. Untitled #188 makes for a good example. Because we listeners have an innate propensity to associate sounds with sensory images, López manipulates, distorts, transmutes, bends, twists (or whatever term you chose) the collected noises so they can't be recognized. Anything that takes attention away from the pure sound matter at hand, including written word (many of his works like this one are untitled), musical structure/technique, tangible associations, etc. is suspect. Like many of his creations, Untitled #188 is more than an hour in duration. Several distinct slabs of noise separated by near silence makeup this extended composition. As you move from one segment to the next, there both subtle and pronounced differences in the sonic ambiance present ranging from quietly rumbling drones to cacophonous bursts of noise.

But I'm saying too much as even these words have what the artist himself refers to as a "dissipative" effect - distracting the listener's attention from the immediate sounds at hand. Ironic as it may seem, Franciso López's intense, mutated noises are persistently in our face and we know where they came from, but we were never meant to know the real thing. Earlabs (April 2008)

Francisco López - "untitled #188" (CD con-v, Spain 2008)
Approximately 72 minutes of the most typically unfathomable López in this edition, which comes in an entirely black digipack (it's not the first time that a record by the Spanish composer is characterized by such a kind of exterior, a delight for finding the CDs amidst piles of thousands of releases indeed). The attention-grabbing feature in this circumstance coincides with the lack of absolute silences, the fundamental element that habitually distinguishes long fractions of this artist's work. The quietest sections incorporate some sort of perceptible movement, too: might be an uneven breeze resembling a cross of spurious electrical energy and asymmetrical interference, or remote roaring presences that we won't succeed in accurately deciphering. Suspensions that - like in every other subdivision - last for interminable instants, the following chunks either gradually introduced or suddenly appearing, just an abrupt cut to a new prospect. Interestingly enough, there's also a revisiting of certain settings erected upon thumping rhythms made up of intimidating concurrences of urban noises (or so it seems - with FL one is never sure about anything, the man rendering singing birds akin to the murmur of a ghost). The mastery shown by López in connecting the right dots and lines even when the whole appears just as an untidy heap of clanks translates into this writer's hypnotic somnolence, caressed by the ever present harmony underscoring that dominant amassing of hostile machines. Or are they? http://www.touchingextremes.org (October 2008)