Rafael Anton Irisarri

edited December 2010 in Electronic
Rafael Anton Irisarri - Daydreaming (Miasmah 2007)
Seattle-based multi instrumentalist Rafael Anton Irisarri is the latest in a growing number of electronic musicians returning to that hallowed of instruments – the piano. It has become something of a cliché now for the electronic musician to turn to the humble keys in the hope of adding something organic into the mix, but it would be frivolous to pass ‘Daydreaming’ off in such a manner. Rather than an electronic album with elements of piano, ‘Daydreaming’ sounds like a record written for piano which somehow manages to utilise current technology in its production. As the drifting synthesizers lap around the feet of a majestic piano part in the album’s opening track ‘Waking Expression’ it is startlingly clear that there is more to Irisarri than mere stereotyping. Rather this is a carefully constructed soundtrack to your most intriguing dreams, the dreams you might remember for a split second before losing everything, only to have images creep up on you some time later. Those of you left spellbound by Deaf Center’s haunting and beautiful ‘Pale Ravine’ album will be pleased to know that ‘Daydreaming’ continues in the tradition of murky, theatrical and deeply imaginative music quite wonderfully. Even Lynch is hinted at again with the album’s clear highlight ‘Lumberton’ (possibly a reference to Blue Velvet’s troubled small-town) and as the emotive piano shimmers around radio static and lightly picked guitar it is impossible not to get drawn into the shattered American dream. This is rich, visual music showing a dark, melancholic side to American life and captured perfectly by an artist unafraid to bear his soul to the world. Uncluttered and subtly realised, ‘Daydreaming’ is maybe best summed up as it draws to a close with a gaseous ambience, drawing you in for the last time before the inevitable repeat play. Pure, uninterrupted bliss.

RAFAEL ANTON IRISARRI - Rafael Anton Irisarri's music is a dual perspective close-up focus on the micro textures of rustling static-filled sonic surfaces with the wide-open distant tree lined horizons of sunset at dusk. Submerged piano melodies, reverberating guitar tonalities and electronic punctuation all contribute as the converging elements, but it's his hand at electro-acoustic composition that offers the listener the often breathtaking vantage into this sonic world. The combined effect is one of time passing in introspection, remembrances of landscapes and the nature of our relationship with things past as we move toward those yet to come. Plaintively yearning, his music never resigns itself to the stoicism of the melancholic, but is asking, moving, and drawing us into a state of hearing, seeing and recognizing the scale, scope and richness of the natural world and ourselves in the everyday.

This music draws as much on modern genre progenitors like Brian Eno, Robin Guthrie and My Bloody Valentine as it does from the more historic traditions in neo-classicism from Erik Satie and Olivier Messiaen. It's this intersection of sounds, both traditional and modernly avant, that make for the balancing act that can be described as something beyond just 'ambient' or 'cinematic' in his music; it brings the listener to a state somewhere between emotionally entranced and psychologically adrift.

Words by Jefferson Petrey, Seattle (2008)
- Miasmah


- And the new album from from the excellent Room40 label:

Rafael Anton Irisarri - The North Bend - (2010)
Rafael Anton Irisarri's music is rich in imagery, and like Wolfgang Voigt's corpus as Gas it seems to paint a synthesized portrait of a particular place and time without getting too directly involved in it, in the more documentary style of Chris Watson and the like. During The North Bend you'll hear sounds that draw you into natural landscapes, but also muffled micro-melodies and huge, immersive sonic vistas fashioned from gusty electronic plumage. The standard and scope of production places Irisarri within the upper crust of artists in his field, and as with his work as The Sight Below the well-rounded depth of his sound will keep you returning time and time again. From the anthemic, looped fanfare of 'Traces' to the intoxicating, balmy orchestrations of 'Blue Tomorrows', every corner of this album brims not only with artistry and accomplishment but also a stealthy emotive grandeur that holds your attention for long after the record has finished. So yes, it's a struggle to convey the sense of what this music is without getting a little bit wishy-washy or sentimental, but The North Bend is without doubt one of the more worthy albums of its kind and deserving of your full and immediate attention. Highly Recommended.
- Boomkat

artworks-000003088214-6z7a9b-crop.jpg?a10e4a LIVE AT OPENFRAME FESTIVAL (CAFE OTO. LONDON. UK. 2010)
- 32 minutes streaming @ Soundcloud.

- Rafael Anton Irisarri is also a member of The Sight Below



  • edited December 2010
    Rafael Anton Irisarri with The Sight Below:

    The Sight Below - It All Falls Apart
    (Ghostly International / !K7 Records 2010)
    Review by Andy Kellman, All Music Guide:
    Rafael Anton Irisarri?s first album as the Sight Below was titled after a My Bloody Valentine EP. Two of its songs happened to share titles with songs by the Verve and Ride. The connection between It All Falls Apart and shoegaze runs deeper: Simon Scott, who played drums in the Charlottes and Slowdive, provides ?guitars, treatments, and electronics? on three songs, co-writing and co-producing two of them with the Pacific Northwest producer. Not merely another album of impeccably made ambient thump-and-drone, It All Falls Apart improves upon the exceptional debut in that it is more evocative and less insular, with a sense of openness that is far more comforting than alienating. Only two songs -- back to back, in the middle of the sequence -- carry that muffled Gas-eous pulse-rhythm heard on Glider, and even those are elegantly downcast, graced with layers of deceptively contrasting guitar-generated drones that can create states of anxious bliss and becalmed terror (to such an affecting extent that Irisarri could have justifiably swiped the title of the Verve's first album, A Storm in Heaven). A slow-motion, almost motionless, rendering of Joy Division's ?New Dawn Fades,? featuring pitched-down-sounding vocals from Jesy Fortino (Tiny Vipers), resembles a Velvet Underground & Nico ballad heard through wind-tunnel squall. ?A change of speed, a change of style? takes on a literal meaning here.

    Full streaming @ Bandcamp:
    It All Falls Apart


    The North Bend
  • edited December 2010
    Recorded live at Cafe Oto (London, UK) during OpenFrame Festival. Nov 5, 2010.
    "Rafael Anton Irisarri built on his ROOM40 release The North Bend with a set which drew on looped guitar and electronic drones, placing them amongst some damp-sounding field recordings, matching the prevailing atmospheric conditions outside. Grey, drizzly static gave way to the sound of footsteps in soggy mud, while slight bowed and ebowed guitar was followed with some overwhelmingly powerful bass frequencies."
    Performance as I3O Recorded live at The Triple Door (Seattle, WA) May 12, 2010
    This is our interpretation of Arvo P
  • artworks-000004266975-or3qk2-crop.jpg?8b8424
    Until Then (Broadcast cover)
    "Cover version of "Until Then" I recorded with Benoit Pioulard this week. Benoit and I were working on our collaborative project this week and decided to record one of our favorite songs as a tribute. We were both extremely saddened by Trish Keenan's untimely death. She was a brilliant, talented artist and her music became a huge inspiration to both of us. R.I.P. Trish, we'll miss you."
  • edited February 2011
    Erik Satie's Gnossienne No. 1 - 1 track, $1.

    This is included on this Arbouse Recordings compilation:
    - With:
    CD1 : Library Tapes – Kyle Hawkins – Minotaur shock – Max Richter – Chessie – Danny Norbury – Julia Kent – ww.lowman – Akamatsu- Part Timer – Rachel Grimes – That Summer – Monokle – Sylvain Chauveau – Fred Longberg-Holm – Steve Peters
    CD2 : Rafael Anton Irisarri & Goldmund – Pan American – Moinho – Hauschka – 0 – Beatrice Martini & Robert Lippok – Peter Broderick – Rachel Grimes – The Boats – Astrïd – Eluvium – Dustin O'Halloran – Nils Frahm – Mr Potier – Steve Roden – Inlandsis

    - An abundance of interesting names.
    The label is on Emusic, so maybe it will turn up there. . .
  • - A gorgeous name your price single @ Bandcamp:


    “Deeply expressive minimal melancholy from Irisarri, whose fluid style on the cello and ability with a particularly sad computer both work out in his favor. Cold, slow, bright compositions of intense emotional depth, in a very settling, pleasing way. Pretty special stuff here, both pieces turning on their individual axes instead of going anywhere, allowing the light to catch their most striking facets. Those of you enamored with guys like Jóhann Jóhannsson may want to look in this direction.” – Still Single;"
    - Dusted Magazine
  • edited August 2011
    Abandoned (too soon) - (name your price @ Bandcamp)

    "Abandoned (too soon)" was originally released in 2009 on the Unreleased Tracks 2009 compilation by Fugues (FR)."

    - Irissari at his best . . .
  • edited August 2011
    Love that bandcamp track. Thanks.

    I see that he has a new vinyl album out under the The Sight Below name. A set of remixes of Biosphere's recent N-Plants album.


    There's an album preview on Soundcloud.
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