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Addy En El Pais De Las...

Francisco Lopez
Addy En El Pais De Las Frutas Y Los Chunches

Francisco Lopez is one of those artists who is amazingly prolific (he's released over 120 works on 80 different labels around the world), yet has also managed to stay pretty much under-the-radar in terms of how many people actually know about his work. An artist of many different conceptual themes and ideas, his work mainly falls under the minimal ambient / musique concrete category, but he brings a wide range of sound to the pallete, including (but not limited to) field recordings, digitally-manipulated sound, and even bits of acoustic instruments. He's recorded minimal deep-gong hits in an empty silo, has stacked layer upon layer of metal riffs for sheer dissonance, and has divided listeners worldwide with his approach (some of his works are downright inaudible for the majority of their running time).

Addy En El Pais De Las Frutas Y Los Chunches is actually a re-release of what many consider one of his best works, a super-dark rush of manipulated field recordings from Costa Rica, Buenos Aires, and a whole slew of other exotic locations. Any thoughts you may have of this simply being new-age background music that you could pick up from any tourist track are almost immediately quashed, as the disc dives into an abyss of slightly unsettling sounds and stays there for a majority of its 3 track, almost 60-minute running time.

Like some of his other releases, the disc starts with the sounds of what could have possibly been a field recording of a rainforest at one time. The album-titled track opens with the faint drone of an organic place before what sounds like a rumble of thunder rips through and a wall of noise comes rushing through. Though processed digitally (and retaining features of that), it sounds like the collected sounds of crickets, a rainstorm, a raging river, and other small life all pushing forward at some faster-than-evolutionary pace. Throughout the track, Lopez takes away certain elements once in awhile to expose the others underneath, and just as you think the wall of sound will continue for too long, it drops off into quiet again, as if you were falling through the loud canopy and cacophony of sound before being submerged underwater and hearing everything continue above through the muffled liquid of your surroundings.

As I've already mentioned above, this is a minimal record. There are no melodies to hook you, and there isn't any percussion. It's the sampling of pure nature sounds and then turning them into something slightly different. Lopez takes the sound of small bugs and makes them overwhelming, or amplifies the sound of a quiet stream of runoff, brining things to the foreground which would be relegated to tranquil background sounds on most enviromental releases. His study in extremes (both with the aforementioned tweaking, and with many dynamic shifts from quiet to loud) is one of the thing that sets him apart from other total ambient drifters. Even with the organic sounds, though, it's mostly uneasy listening as gutteral noises creep through subterrain passages and silent washes are overtaken with almost violent clambors of noise. Fans of more stripped-down work by Coil should take note, this is often times very creepy stuff.

Rating: 7