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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Francisco López & Miguel A. García - Ekkert Nafn [Crónica/Tronicdisease - 2019]

Ekkert Nafn finds two respected Spanish sound artists utilizing & manipulating the same selection of sound materials- taking in field recordings & electrical/ mechanical devices- to create two thirty-minute tracks, which highlight both parties distinct way of sound-working.The artists are here Francisco López- a Madrid sound artists/ field recordist who’s been active since the mid-1980s, creating a large & distinctive body of work. And Miguel A. García- A Bilbao based artists who has been active since 2008, but has equally built up a large body of work that blurs the line between electro-acoustic composition and improvisation.

The release is a joint venture between Crónica & Tronicdisease, & coming in the form of a CD. This is limited to 300 copies and comes in a gatefold sleeve- though I can’t comment on this, as we were just sent a digital promo.
 
First up we have "Untitled #351"- which is the López track, and of the two this is the most eventful, unpredictable & at times jarring. The track begins with mixture of bleak scraping/ drilling tones, which are underpinned by a starkly fading drone- before we know it we get a sudden & urgent jump as we get a blend of forking tone descents, crackles, snaps & pops- which are later underfed by the unease shambling, almost harmonic drone element. As we move through the track we move to layered pile-ups of grating drillings, slicing machine sounds, and choppy wetness. As we get deeper in the tracks shifts & alters once more, but it all feels very composed & balanced as if we’re on a journey to some alien world that blends both machines & organic matter. We go from pared backs to stark rustling & organically hovering drone, abstract electro soundscapes, more plain noise textured moments, and blends of weird throbbing ‘n’ rustling percussion & of machine/ organic field recordings. I’ve always had a soft spot for López work, and the way he processes & arranged sound- and this piece once again is a most captivating & moodily shifting example of his art.
 
The second track here is of course from Garcia, and is entitled “Applainessads”. And with this track, we get a lot more linear, and at times dare I say predictable take on utilizing the sounds. Once again we have a mixture of machine-like drills, purrs & slices, and these are blended with hovering ambeince & simmering high pitched tones. We begin with a decidedly dense & murky feel, and as we continue on Garcia adds in more layers & sound elements- very much building the whole thing up, before dropping back down again- then at the end of the track we have shorter snippets of processed sound elements, which feel tagged on. Don’t get me wrong Garcia certainly knows how to creating a feeling of sour unease, and building tension- it just feels somewhat lacking after what López did with the material on the first.
 
Albums that see artists utilizing the same sound elements to create their own work are always interesting propositions- and while both pieces here certainly have their own value, I’m afraid the stand out of the two is  easily the López track. So as a result, it means as an album Ekkert Nafn feels somewhat unbalanced- with captivation leading to moody if slightly clichéd sound-scaping.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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