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Francisco Lopez - Presque Tout [Quiet Pieces: 1993-2013] (2014)

Electronic, Ambient | Author: artmuss | 11-03-2014, 15:28
Francisco Lopez - Presque Tout [Quiet Pieces: 1993-2013] (2014)
Artist: Francisco Lopez
Title Of Album: Presque Tout
Year Of Release: 2014
Label: Line US / LINE065
Genre: Ambient, Drone, Noise, Industrial
Total Time: 7:00:15
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Quality: Lossless
Total Size: 615 mb

In his 29 year career, Francisco López’s work could never be described as accessible. His treatment and processes of both organic and synthetic sound sources have ranged from pensive to painful, and everything in between those extremes. This, however, may be his most daunting work to date: a data DVD of uncompressed wave files and a total of seven hours. The 17 "quiet" pieces are challenging, yet captivate when experienced in the right context.

As with many prolific artists such as López, I have largely dabbled in and out of his expansive discography a couple of times a year. Before, I had considered the 10 disc Nowherebox from 2008 to be quite a difficult collection, but the fact that those were both shorter pieces, as well as ones of significantly varying dynamics made it a bit easier to digest such a wealth of material.

Presque Tout compiles his most minimalist works imaginable, and thus requires an extreme dedication and attention to detail in order to fully appreciate, because many times it is extremely difficult to even discern that something is playing. The sleeve warning that it should only be listened to via headphones or a set of high quality speakers is not to be taken lightly, as smaller speakers simply cannot reproduce this material adequately.

Sequenced in chronological order, the earlier pieces are perhaps the most sparse and also the least engaging. Opener "El Dia Anterior a la Emergencia de los Adultos de Magicicada" (I am still somewhat surprised to see a titled López piece) is mostly 15 minutes of low frequency humming. Even via headphones at a relatively loud volume level, it is almost imperceptible that anything is happening. "Untitled #78" is similarly barren, with only the subtlest of ambience, like a field recording of an empty room. "Untitled #87" presents a similar sense of stillness and silence, barely crossing the threshold of nothingness.

Pieces such as "Untitled #86" and "Untitled #118" feature some audible elements, and seem to be in league with López's nature based works. The former has an organic life to it, more emphasis on high end and what sounds like possibly birds chirping far away. The latter resembles a swarm of insects from miles away, with the muted dynamic serving to amplify the ambiguity. The more recent works here are also the ones that not only seem the most inorganic, but also the most commanding ones, relatively speaking. "Untitled #129" and "Untitled #216" both focus mostly on ultra low frequencies that are more easily felt than heard. The former also has the unexpected addition of a rhythmic rattling that is perhaps the most conventional and boisterous sound to be heard anywhere on this compilation. The latter sticks mostly to its low end, and listening with in-ear headphones results in an uncomfortable feeling of pressure. "Untitled #309," mostly made of a creeping industrial din has an oppressive, slowly moving menace about it that almost feels like a non-quiet specific López work, and quite a strong one at that.

The closing piece, "Untitled #313," is the album’s centerpiece, and clocking in at three hours exactly also comprises nearly half of this collection. Featuring many of the elements of what preceded it, the first third is mostly low volume bass swells that slowly creep along, cresting after the first hour as a passage of chirpy synthetic sounds that make for a rather strong contrast. Beyond that, things become more distorted and textural, with bits of digital noises cutting in and out. It does quite a bit of evolution throughout, but I cannot help but feel that its extreme duration may partially be to take advantage of the medium more than to convey a specific sound

I quite enjoyed this collection, but it is admittedly a hard release to recommend to anyone who is not already a López fan. My go-to artist for this type of work is the rather unprolific Bernhard Günter, and while the dynamics are the same, the actual content is not. Presque Tout does not make for a good jumping in point to López's massive discography by any means. For someone who not only is familiar with his works, but also the more minimalist styles he works in, there is a lot of greatness here to be heard. Finding the time to fully devote to experiencing, however, may be the biggest stumbling block, because this requires full attention to truly appreciate, as cliché as that may sound.


01 El día anterior a la emergencia de los adultos de magicicada (1993) 15:23
02 untitled#78 (1997) 13:33
03 untitled#79 (1998) 12:01
04 untitled#85 (1998) 10:01
05 untitled#86 (1998) 12:33
06 untitled#87 (1999) 06:28
07 untitled#91 (1999) 58:03
08 untitled#93 (1999) 04:33
09 untitled#97 (1999) 05:08
10 untitled#100 (2000) 05:32
11 untitled#118 (2001) 05:31
12 untitled#120 (2001) 14:49
13 untitled#121 (2001) 19:34
14 untitled#129 (2002) 30:02
15 untitled#216 (2008) 08:50
16 untitled#309 (2013) 18:16
17 untitled#313 (2013) 3:00:00



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