Enlisting only electronics, piano, and the cello of Nan Scwarz and string arrangements’ by Danny Norbury, Rafael Anton Irisarri constructs beautiful, slowly unfurled tapestries—pleasant yet meditative. Hopes and Past Desires is just one of those 7” eps that one will treasure in their collection. I suppose one might have a great deal of forgotten 7”, but I’d be envious—having no record player of my own, and no collection from which to pull this meditative, heartfelt gem.
I wrote something about Natavaara Rocks last week, lauding them (him) for making such finely constructed music in so short of time. Irisarri hits the same chord, both the title track and ‘Watching as She Reels’ slowly build up a motif that continues until it fades out. I once had a music instructor tell me that repetition only makes sense when on has a purpose behind it—and I think this is certainly the case with ‘Watching as She Reels’, you could listen to the motif once I suppose (it’d take about 20 seconds), but there is something effective in listening to it fall together and then sustain for seven minutes—the blend of electronics, piano, and cello, perfectly crafted, make it worth it.
The one fallback is the quality. Though I’m listening to a compressed transfer audio file of the recording, there seems to be some popping and cracking with pitch and altitude. I’ve thought ad nauseum about the purpose of lo-fi. It makes sense if it adds to the music, but I don’t think that’s the case here. Stars of the Lid, for instance, probably get such high marks because they spend as much time mastering as they do composing—but hell, they can probably afford it. Regardless, Irisarri is following up a 2007 release, and is working on a project under a different moniker—The Sight Below. This EP is limited to 500 copies, so do get your hands on it, O ye of commitment to physically media. 8/10 -- John Ganiard (24 June, 2009)