Rafael Anton Irisarri - Agitas Al Sol [Room40 - 2022]
If you’ve ever wanted the gorgeous reverse-delay soundscape of My Bloody Valentine to go on forever, becoming its own place of sonic immanence, then Rafael Anton Irissari’s latest release, Agitas Al Sol, is the answer.
This New York-based composer has a solid footing in ambient drone works, creating impossible musical journeys through the haze of warm, white noise to the subtleties of microtonal colouring. Where exactly the genre emerged is probably subject to debate, but there are some formal attributes that help to map the field, all of which are brought to crystalline realization on Agitas Al Sol. Artists as diverse as Grouper, Stephan Mathieu, and early Kevin Drumm, along with countless others, have managed to found an aesthetic, which should include Irissari at the top of the list, characterized above all by the way in which transitions are treated; or, lack of transition, to be more precise. Not once, does Agitas Al Sol stutter or falter in its movements, smoothing out all of the rough edges of the editing process into a final whole – diverse but perfectly self-contained.
Two foundational tracks divide Agitas Al Sol – “Atrial” and “Cloak” – though you’d be none the wiser unless you peaked at your preferred playback device. The album begins under extreme acoustic pressure, as if you suddenly found yourself in the gears of an outboard motor. The expanse begins to settle, and suddenly atmospheric elements pierce the total picture, added layers of complexity to the steady build of Irissari’s washes. In the end, there is only “the work”, the totality of the soundscape having gobbled up any last hint of distinction. For fans of the aforementioned bands, and for anyone who appreciates the hallucinatory and majestic side of drone. Head here to check it out for yourself Colin Lang