Daniel Corral – Refractions (CD Review)

Refractions

Daniel Corral

Populist Records CD PR012

Jeremy Kerner, electric guitar; Isaura String Quartet; Corral, music box and laptop

LA-based Populist Records has released another treasure trove of unusual ambience. Daniel Corral’s Refractions, featuring the composer on music box laptop alongside electric guitarist Jeremy Kerner and the Isaura String Quartet, captures a compelling ambient composition. Delicate strains from guitar and strings are offset by bell-like interjections from Corral’s music box and swaths of sustained sounds from his laptop. The piece begins with all of these various textures and gradually is winnowed down to the music box, supplying minimal punctuations and offset repetitions in a slow ritardando until the piece’s delicate denouement and eventual close. Given the deliberate limitation of resources and lassitude of pacing, this slowly evolving piece of music is spellbinding in its execution. Rather than foregrounding the incremental shifts of material, the listener is encouraged to bask in a wash of sounds, varied and lovely timbres that are deployed with enough independence to seem to have minds of their own.

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Julianna Barwick: “Look into Your Own Mind”

barwickjulianna_large

Julianna Barwick’s latest album, Will, is out now via Dead Oceans. Atmospheres awash with echo, stratospheric vocals, and ambient backdrops combine in a swath of tone colors and synthetic timbres. Lots of people have jumped on the “analog synths and pedals” bandwagon, but Barwick has the vocal chops and imaginative arranging skills to make her music a journey down this pathway that’s truly worthwhile. Check out her live performance of the single “Look Into Your Own Mind” in Moog’s Sound Lab below.