Solastalgia by Rafael Anton Irisarri

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Rafael Anton Irisarri | Solastalgia
Room40 (LP/CS/DL)

Rafael Anton Irisarri‘s new work Solastalgia couldn’t come at a more crucial time in our environmental history. In fact, it would seem that artists across the world should take a stand, in their own way, to combat any powers that be that would deny the negative impact of man’s imprint upon our plant. The word from which its title is derived comes with a sense of general malaise and existential durress brought on by this type of environmental change for which every being is responsible in some way or other. Outside pointing blame, responsibility, or the political implications, however, comes a work that responds to and breathes a heavy drone sigh of/for our times. Decay Waves is densely packed with stretched chordal strands and generous grayscale drone. Irisarri has long created impassioned work of rich ambient texture, but this seems to go above and beyond in terms of overall atmospheric impact.

Our collective anxiety over the state of our ecosystem is fragmented to say the least, and without it there is no life on this Earth as we have known. From the expansion of various floods, sinkholes, volcanic eruptions, coral reef erosion and icecaps melting away – it’s more than obvious that Mother Nature is sending a clear message. In this light the work beautifully captures a melancholic sense of floating metamorphosis between the now and potential outcomes of a worst case scenario. The mood is seductive, but at the same time foreboding. Chrysalism and Visible Through The Shroud both have this tranquil, transitional sense of separation, reflecting something about surfaces and multiple layers.

Then comes the ominous Kiss All The Pretty Skies Goodbye, and the listener will be treated to a cleansing aura of dissolution. In its most quiet and eroded state Irisarri digs up sparse remnants left in the wake of eidolic drone bathing in fragmentary harmonics.  A gorgeous bespoke work of delicate artistry followed up with the closer, Pitch Black, which oozes shadowed secrecy. The work is the album’s most volatile, restrained at first and by its midpoint blossoming like vapor, reaching with warm tonal hues (a rebirth?). And in the end all fades away to a soft silence.

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