Rafael Anton Irisarri is an American composer and multi-instrumentalist, mainly active in the drone-ambient regions. In his career he has released loads of albums, eps and collaborations, some of which under a different moniker, the ambient techno act The Sight Below. For this latest album, he delves deep into the world of dark drones and haunting soundscapes, much to my delight, I may add.
While the album opens quite gentle with the soothing ambient track 'Displacement', follow-up 'Reprisal' slowly grows into a pretty noisy drone track, driving on pulsating, almost trance-inducing soundscapes. Somewhere far, far away is a hint of melody, probably not even intentional. Yet, this is a great track, both of them are. They set the tone for a magnificent album.
This slow but continues harshification (I don't know if that's a word, it is from now on) is also present in most of the other tracks. 'Empire Systems' opens quite minimal but halfway through, we're being dragged into a very strong set of soundscapes, flowing on a stunning melodic rhythm. In a strange way, it perfectly aligns with both modern day drone acts as with those so-called gothic dark electronics projects, but without the beats.
Although pretty hard and unsettling sometimes (as in the rather weird 'Hiatus'), the album quite gently flows by. It works on different volume levels, being a soothing piece of music on low volume and an immersive musical journey when played loud. By the end, the extremely dreaming 'Secretly Wishing For Rain' beautifully ends the dream, making me wish for more and go through the whole thing again. So yes, this is a great drone-ambient album, highly recommended...