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untitled [2006-2007]55. untitled [2006-2007] [ rec. 2006-07 ]

> rel. 2008 double CD Monochrome Vision, Russia (website)
Francisco López - "untitled (2006-2007)" (double CD Monochrome Vision, Poland 2008)
Francisco López uses sound in a holistic way to reward attentive listeners. Adopting Pierre Schaeffer's attitude to sound as having the ability to recontextualise the world as we know it, his objets sonore - or aural pictures - explore the sum of an environment and the sound-making elements that inhabit it when divorced from the other four senses. This forms a proposal for the listener to contemplate outside of language, a freedom so rarely offered by the 24/7 loquacity of the modern age.

'untitled (2006-2007)' showcases almost all of the shorter pieces L
pez produced over the two year period where all but three of the sixteen pieces have appeared elsewhere. This not only saves the collector from seeking out many and varied compilation albums from boutique labels spread across the globe but, for the uninitiated, also makes for a good introduction to the artist, solidly surveying the breadth of his disorientating style.

For the closest examples to straight field recording, Untitled # 209 and # 210 both use "sound matter" recorded during Costa Rica's rainy season. # 209 pans back across a field heavily populated in insects who work up to a living, breathing mantric state that takes on the properties of coastal tides and later heavy rain - intensities out of which tones and rhythms emerge self-selected by the listener. While # 210 zooms in on the syllables of apes, but somehow endows the utterances with a less primal and more deliberate tongue that is both earnest and intelligent. While both have recognisable sources that can be linked with López' ecological studies, their subtle treatment and editing ultimately encourage the listener to re-consider them as pure sound, a composition that is not attempting to convey ecological, sociological or metaphorical messages - a consistent outcome regardless of the specifics behind all of López' work.

Indeed, many of the other pieces across 'untitled (2006-2007)'s two disks are from unrecognisable sources and do not sport any guidance. Untitled # 195 jumps from electrical scratches through the hum and pace of industrial machine routines to deep, cavernous isolation, like sudden edits in a film carefully unfolding a tense, urgent drama through different viewpoints, but where the activities viewed are imagined by the audience not the director. Meanwhile, Untitled # 190 demonstrates López' predilection for blurring the boundaries between so-called natural sound (be it biological or elemental) and man-made noise (be it manual or mechanical) as signs of life move delicately in the distance triggering a wind that disturbs millions of blades in a plastic field that, in turn, becomes the background noise of a room with a photocopier whose rhythm builds as it blends with rain hitting the windows.

The results are no less warped when López works with donated source material. This compilation features four such tracks - untitled # 193 uses Rapoon's 'Tribal Sci-Fi' loop library in a seemingly subterranean excursion, untitled # 198 entombs Kathy Kennedy's recording of eight voices humming into a holophonic microphone, burying them alive, untitled # 202 turns a recording of life in Victoriaville, Canada by Thomas Phillips into a textural river of sound, and untitled # 203 celebrates the qualities of aircraft engines originally captured by Lawrence English. In fact, this rich and resonant exploration of the Brisbane airport is possibly in direct response to R Murray Schafer's comment that "no sound contains less interesting information than that of an airplane". As initiator of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology and self-elected curator of the acoustic environment, Schafer has been known to display a kind of snobbery towards 'noise' that Schaeffer's and now López' work dramatically refutes. English's aircraft soar like power chords, yet when filtered by López reveal a full range of timbres and tones in their dynamism as a dream-like aeronautical display is paraded through the centre of your skull.

Frustratingly, these short pieces don't always afford the time to mesmerise and overwhelm as much as López' more extended pieces whose length extinguishes the instinct to ‘guess the context’ long before they are over. So while this compilation is not as successful as other releases at opening up a private, uninhibited world for the listener, it certainly provides enough of a dose to drop ones defences and stir aspirations for longer journeys into the unknown. www.musiquemachine.com (2009)