Review of A Traves Del Espejo [12k1085]

Vital Weekly (NL)

By now you must be familiar with the name Federico Durand, with his releases on Spekk, Own and Desire Path, either solo or with the duo Melodia. Apparently, like other musicians from Argentina, he’s big in Japan and plays a lot of concerts over there. In 2014 he bumped into Taylor Deupree, head honcho of 12K and became friends and that friendship now brings us this album of new solo pieces, all inspired (apparently as always) by his family. The cover lists all of his instruments, which makes an interesting read: “Auris lyre hammered with a black pencil, synthesizer, piano, music boxes, Roland Space Echo RE-201, Ehx 2880, Mackie 402VLZ4, hokema, little objects, crystal cups bowed with a penknife, Koshi chime, Fostex X18, contact microphone, minidisc, Sony TCM-200DV, owl of wood, tape loops, scissor and masking tape”; I guess it sums up his love for small objects and all things analogue. I understand also that much of what Durand does is hands-on: playing all of this with his two hands and looping stuff on the spot, thus creating this very intimate sound his music always seem to have. More than before it seems we now hear snippets of voices, maybe from around his own house, children voices. It is perhaps a reminder of home-life when he is on the road? For me it’s also another reminder: that of the music of Dominique Petitgand, who was also an avid taper of domestic life, and who also used small instruments around these home recordings; there is however one distinction and that is that for Petitgand it was almost obligatory to use them in every track, whereas Durand uses it more sparsely. For him the sound of his ‘toys’ play the most crucial role, and it makes his work less of a radio-play and it seems to be using a bit more melody, which he loops around and creates beautiful hissy pieces of music with. Sometimes, such as in ‘Linternas Junto A La Laguna (Lanterns beside the lake)’, the cassette hiss forms even the most substantial part of the composition but usually it’s a few sparse notes on the piano, a bow playing a small object to create some overtones, and everything pitched up and down, to form a web of small tones, intertwining with each other. All of this is a highly natural setting, free from digital processing or other computer tricks. In the official world of music journalism one would say ‘honest’ music. I don’t believe in such notions. But I’d say this is highly personal music, without caring too much about ‘styles’, ‘trends’ or ‘scenes’ and this is some damn fine release. (FdW)

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