Abul Mogard & Rafael Anton Irisarri – Impossibly distant, impossibly close (Black Knoll Editions)


It was only a matter of time for Rafael Anton Irisarri to start a label. With a remarkable solo trajectory, enriched by his mastering duties for all sorts of projects and constant collaborations with other artists, either live or in the studio, he stands as a distinguished and particular voice in contemporary electronic music.

The new label, Black Knoll Editions, had its first reference back in November with a remaster and vinyl debut of Irisarri’s Midnight Colours, originally released on cassette in 2018. And this month sees their second feature with a joint effort with Abul Mogard, the Italian musician -also a distinctive voice in immersive electronic music- with whom Irisarri performed live for the first time at the beginning of last year.

Impossibly distant, impossibly close consists of two compositions with enough time to stretch into the deepness of both artists’ sound explorations, reaching moments of reflection and splendorous beauty.

‘Waking Up Dizzy On A Bastion’ is a live recording during their presentation at the SoundSet Series in Madrid’s Condeduque cultural center in 2023. It was an encore after they both played solo. We can only imagine how it must have felt live, given that both artists seem to have a clear understanding of utilising the physical qualities of sound. It is one thing to daydream with a bowed guitar being looped over ethereal hums through headphones, but to be present at a collective deep listening experience of such a sound dialogue must feel healing. Luminous motifs emanate in the middle of the composition, while nostalgic synths layer up, and morph in tone for evocative melodies to rise. An evolving drone atmosphere creates a sonic massage, grows in intensity, then vanishes in an echo.

‘Place Of Forever’ is spatial at the beginning and immersive at the end. First, Mogard’s Farfisa organ keys float around, panned in a virtuous, elegant way. The track is long enough to indulge, 5 minutes in and we feel how evolving this dynamic can be, right before Irisarri’s signature looped bass treatment starts to merge, growing in intensity and texture, expanding. It feels like focusing on a wave while looking at the sea, but then zooming out to drown in its sublime dimension, ever changing. There’s something cathartic in the air, the build up takes us somewhere else, while the ocean fights against its mandate to fade away.


About Author