Francisco L√≥pez, "Untitled #370"
After a few recent, highly conceptual and very long-form works, Francisco L√≥pez has gone back to basics with his latest release. Consisting of a single 60 minute piece, packaged in a plain sleeve with the most limited of artwork, he is at his traditional, reductive best. With little information given as to the source material or the strategies used in creating the piece, it emphasizes the sound above all else, and it is another diverse, brilliantly composed piece of art from the legendary composer.
Besides the approach as far as duration and packaging, the audio L√≥pez is working with sound as if he is drawing from the most basic elements of the planet.Empty spaces and textural crackles that could be fire, water, or soil appear throughout.Frigid sheets of sound and insect like processed noises can be heard as well, giving the full scope of nature filtered through L√≥pez‚Äôs mixer.
Untitled #370 may be a single piece but the overall structure sounds far more song and album-like than I expected, with different elements appearing for a brief duration and then changing up again.Machinery humming, rhythmic loops, and an occasional foghorn like effect all crop-up from time to time, almost resembling recurring instruments throughout.Towards the end of the first segment the way in which Lopez layers the sound begins to reflect a traditionally structured song, with loops interlocked and sequenced with one another.
The first section may be mostly textural, organic, and sound heavily rooted in nature, but the second is more phantasmagoric.Shrill, icy sheets of aural textures and subsonic low frequencies set a sinister stage.Lopez then brings in a series of metallic scraping and grinding noises, along with a multitude of haunted house creaks and groans.As if this were not enough, there is an added passage of what could be either a human voice or an animal growl.With the processing added, the line between person, animal, or something supernatural is further blurred into something that is in league with the most unsettling work I have ever heard Lopez do.
The final section draws on elements from both, from clicking, microscopic textures, subsonic bass, and what almost resembles heavy breathing at times.This, with another section of wet, organic and indistinct noises keeps the mood unsettling and uncomfortable, if maybe somewhat less overt.L√≥pez then adds on multiple loops, building in density and tension before relenting, leaving a black mass of sonic muck to end the piece on.
Unlike L√≥pez's more recent work, there is a lot of intentional vagueness throughout Untitled #370.From its minimalist artwork and lack of conceptual details, it would seem that he is recalling his early days in which the music and its ambiguous sourcing was the most important part.I certainly have enjoyed his recent, multi-hour works, but there is something refreshing about a singular focus and mindset, letting the sound be the integral part of his art.