Francisco López – DSB

Posted: 10 February 2021 in Albums
Tags: , , , , ,

Crónica 166 – 19th February 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

From the very opening seconds, Francisco López’s latest offering assails the ears and scorches the brain: the first track – which hits the magical running time of twenty-three minutes – is nothing short of explosive – literally. Opening with a roaring blast of brutal harsh noise, it soon separates into a series of samples and sounds, whereby propeller engines swoop low, spitting machine-gun fire and dropping detonations all around and bomb blasts tear the air. I’ve previously described certain noise works as sonic blitzkriegs, but this is actually nothing short of total war – captured in audio.

DSB is the accumulation of a decade’s work, which was, apparently, created at ‘mobile messor’ (worldwide), 2009-2019. Mixed and mastered at ‘Dune Studio’ (Loosduinen), 2020.According to the press release, López’s objective over the forty years of his career to date is to ‘Destroy boundaries between industrial sounds and wilderness sound environments, shifting with passion from the limits of perception to the most dreadful abyss of sonic power, proposing a blind, profound and transcendental listening, freed from the imperatives of knowledge and open to sensory and spiritual expansion’.

But with DSB, López doesn’t just destroy boundaries. It destroys everything in an obliterative sonic attack that’s sustained for some forty-five agonising minutes.

When it does pull back from the eye-popping extremes, it presents a dank, ominous atmosphere, and one minute you’re underwater, as if being drowned, the next, your head’s above water and you’re surrounded by a roaring sonic assault that lands blows from all sides. The quieter moments are tense and oppressive, and with unexpected jolts and speaker-shredding blasts.

A low rumble and clodding thuds and thunks, like slamming doors and hobnail boots create a darkly percussive aspect that dominates the start of DSB-B… but then you’re under water again and everything is muffled… you can’t hear or breathe, but all around there are bombs and you’re feeling the vibrations in your chest. It’s all too close and you’re terrified. It’s eighteen and three-quarter minutes of ominous atmospherics and tempestuous crescendos of noise, raging storms with protracted periods of unsettled turbulence in between as strong winds buffet away. The dynamics are extreme, as is the experience.

Something has clearly shifted here: López’s work a decade ago was predominantly experimental, wibbly, electronic ambient in its leanings, predominantly layerings of drones, hums, and scrapes. Interesting enough, exploratory, but not harsh. Yet DSB is so, so harsh, it’s positively brutal. But these are harsh times, and when everything is a grey monotony, same news on a roll on every outlet, the instinct is to slump into an empty rut.

DSB will kick you out of that and kick you around unapologetically, landing boots in the ribs, and then more. It will leave you dizzy and drained. But it will make you feel. And that’s essential.

AA

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