Review of A Travs Del Espejo [12k1085]

Igloo Mag (US)

The music is as beautiful as it is introspective, like a small window of antique glass looking right into Federico’s soul, allowing the listener to explore a mysterious, invisible world that suddenly appears.

After a series of amazing releases on awesome labels such as Spekk, Own Records, Home Normal, Desire Path and White Paddy Mountain, Argentinian composer Federico Durand finally reaches the 12k family to present his new album. The label’s instantly recognizable, elegantly spartan artwork contributes to create an inseparable symbiosis with the lovely handcrafted music Durand is renowned for. In his own words, he explains that the album title in Spanish means “Through the mirror,” and that he is fascinated with the experience of putting a mirror in front of another, seeing as a result the miracle of the image turning in a loop that flows into infinity. Loops in the mirror get less clear with each repetition, the color becomes diffuse and greener. When these loops turn into a lullaby we can enter the other side of the mirror: a place of delight and insight. So we could look at Federico’s music, and think about it, in a similar way. It has always been a very highly personal matter, very precious.

As the press release quotes, Federico Durand works like a craftsman, meticulously piecing together fragments of sound from cassette recorders, small instruments and loopers. Broken and simple melodies spinning from tape reels, field recordings and small found objects being played with care, the crackle of loops and other sounds that appear as an unexpected gift to create a dusty air of nostalgia. The music is as beautiful as it is introspective, like a small window of antique glass looking right into Federico’s soul, allowing the listener to explore a mysterious, invisible world that suddenly appears. Each of the ten track titles, as always in the Spanish language of his own country, are very evocative and carefully describe what probably had inspired the song’s birth: sometimes the world around him, sometimes a personal experience of life. A perfect example that reinforces this thesis is “Hora de dormir,” where children and other voices from his own house emerge over the warm tapestry of sounds to create a delicate world of hazy childhood memories, or in the following “Recuerdos en Super 8,” where the tactile and dusty quality of the vintage tapes is captured in the recordings and the listener can easily get lost in the slow, nostalgic, enveloping cycles. “Linternas junto a la laguna,” is also a standout: dreamy, instantly catchy melodies played by something that sounds like a delicate and familiar carillon, are progressively drowning under a layer of warm tape hiss and accidental physical sounds, until the point to become nearly inaudible, like an old Polaroid faded by the passage of time.

A Traves Del Espejo is a stunning and awesome release that confirms Federico Durand as one of the finest and most talented composers out there these days. Quite sublime.

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