Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Sight Below - It All Falls Apart

This is the first, in a series of posts, where i will talk about some of the inspiring music and performances i've come across, working music festivals in the northwest this summer.

The Sight Below is the techno-ambient-shoegaze manifestation of Seattle-based musickian Rafael Anton Dirisarri. As The Sight Below, he incorporates elements of minimal house, a la Wolfgang Voigt, with warm ambient washes, strongly reminiscent of Christian Fennesz or Jefre Cantu-Ledesma's Love is a Stream that i wrote about recently. Where Fennesz and Ledesma give the sensation of being sun-dazed, heat-stroke, and loveworn, Irisarri has more of a late night quality; quiet, pensive, heartful. The steady propulsive beats prevent this from being an amniotic, dark-ambient affair. More like driving to the beach, in the middle of the night, to stare at the moon on the water. The music on It All Falls Apart has a similar enormity to Final and Deaf Center, that i have already posted about, but this is like the human reaction to such grandeur. Maybe its his home, in the Northwest, or maybe its just where i'm at, recently, but i get a real sense of people native to this place, of having immense respect for the elements, for the world around them. There is a sense of kneeling down to things larger than one's self, of humility and intense appreciation.

Seeing The Sight Below inaugurate the Ghostly International label showcase was probably the highlight of the weekend for me. I was working for the Decibel Festival, handing out flyers for the after-hours party with Claude Von Stroke, DJ Z Trip, and Four Tet, as a way to earn my ticket to Decibel, later this month. It was a lot of work, 2 8 hour days, and i was not really attending the festival as a festival-goer. I was there to work, to help this music happen, with whatever skills i have at my disposal. During this summer, i've done everything from building stages to tossing bales of hay to washing dishes, all for the sake of helping this music go off, helping other people have the transformative experiences i've had, finally finding out what it feels like to have meaningful work, to apply my energies to things that i believe in, similar to what i do here at this blogspot. Its all for the love, its all for the respect, its all about giving back.

As such, i was going to be working during the whole Ghostly International showcase, and i had resigned myself to not seeing any music, but it worked out that i got to just hang out and dance to the whole Sight Below set. I brought out the new Sufi vibes, spinning and whirling and moving like a tai chi wizard, throwing handfuls of glitter to the ether, to all the others attending. Blessingsblessingsblessings, to all those attending, blessingsblessingsblessings, on all those reading. Irisarri's live set was not really what i was expecting, didn't really know what to expect, to be honest with you, but was thinking it'd be more of a guitar drone set, and it turned out to be a minimal throw-down; taut, pillowy beats overlaid with oceanic washes of ambience, all against the enormous backdrop of swirling technicolor visuals, that he makes himself. The showcase took place in the Sky Church, at the Experience Music Project, a stunning venue, with killer sound. The room was not too packed, and those that cared to could dance to their hearts content. There were also plenty of families passing through, checking shit out, toddlers with industrial ear protection, riding on their parents shoulders, and i couldn't help but wonder what those memories would be like, for them, and how these children, growing up in this culture, are going to turn out. Irisarri started out the set with a bowed guitar, going into a laptop, to be processed and munged, and smoothly segued into a clean, crisp house set. It was like getting to see Gas or Fennesz, or perhaps both, at 3 o' clock in the afternoon on a Saturday. This dude is definitely up-and-coming, he's only got two full lengths out, so far, both on Ghostly International, as far as i'm aware, and a handful of singles and remixes, to his credit. Relatively new, relatively obscure, he possesses an immense talent, that is still accessible enough to be seen at intimate venues, for reasonable prices.

I am excited to listen to Rafael Anton Irisarri's work more, to bring it down into my life, to let it work its soothing magick. He also does sweet work under his own name, as well, which is more organic, less processed, seemingly more hands-on. Gonna be checking that shit out, as well. Going to all these festivals, this summer, was like a taste test, where i got a sense of the music that i'd be listening to, for this coming year, and i hope to use this space to spread the word, to spread some recollections, the pros and cons of these various events, and events to come. Been thinking about taking this 'journalism' thing up a notch, and i'm finding a happy middle ground between straight journalism and diatribe, learning how to write, learning how to listen to music. Learning how to live as a human on this planet, and these soundtracks have been my guides and mentors all along the way.

Lots more to come...

The Sight Below

It All Falls Apart
Band Camp

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