– 1. Sonidos Del Subconsciente (I) 24:55
Mixed & Mastered by Álex Gámez
Barcelonan Alex Gámez is perhaps best known in this community as the founder of Störung, a label focusing on audiovisual studies. In other circles, he is better known as a tech-house DJ. We find him in yet another guise on this release, under the alias Asférico, working with field recordings and analogue synthesis.
Those other facets of his oeuvre come into play early in the ~25 minute piece. The credits refer to analogue synthesis designed specifically for the release, and the listener is hard-pressed to determine whether the gorgeous curtains of soft pink noise that pan, cycle and fade for the first section are organic or synthetic in origin. Their lilting rhythms and diverse attacks and decays of signal subtly allude to Gámez’s history with electronica.
Aesthetic and structural explorations of dance music through a deconstructivist lens seem to be in vogue this year. Indeed, parts of Sonidos Del Subconsciente (I) are a inverted analogue of Lee Gamble’s Diversions 1994-1996. While the latter created liminal spaces out of sampled segues and synth pads from drum’n’bass tracks, the former uses the structural and relational elements of techno and glitch to delineate source material that is rarely used for such purposes. The result certainly isn’t danceable, but beat and meter are never far removed from the listener’s attention.
Midway through the piece we are thrown rather suddenly into a troglodytic setting, with fine details of a sewer or HVAC system atop hazy hall-scapes. This particular recording feels a bit mundane, but seeps into attention-grabbing mechanical loops just when one is tempted to skip ahead. The hints of harmonic tones amid the clanging remind me a bit of a merry-go-round. The album continues its departure from manipulated fields into more a synthetic environment, and after a stretch of pseudo-silence to prime the ears, finishes with aggressive looping pulses both syncopated and rhythmic.
The focus on idiosyncratic aspects of otherwise mundane sounds leads to some interesting territory. On my first listen it seemed there was not much in the way of cohesion, though the stark contrast between sections probably indicates this was not intended: at least in an aesthetically superficial way. That said, the degree to which the fields are deconstructed and re-purposed only increases across the piece, building a narrative arc that leads from the soft appeasement of the opening windy chords, to the spiky unease of the last syncopated pulses.
While it ends on a somewhat unfinished note, it is (as the title suggests) the first in a series. Fine work that stands on its own, and leaves me looking forward to Asférico’s next release.