We find ourselves increasingly in a swell of solastalgia. Day to day, a vision of what might come to pass builds; one dystopian impression at a time. Solastalgia is not a new phenomena however, rather it has haunted us over the cen- turies. Change has never been humanities’ strong suit, but it has been our shadow. The perpetual ruptures in what we know and how we live are an inevitability; time takes no prisoners, no matter how tightly we might grasp things from moment to moment.
It’s here, at this fractious nexus of unpredictability and an absence of control that Rafael Anton Irisarri has created his latest work. Building on the echoes of landscape that guided his previous Room40 editions, Solastalgia imagines that which is not yet known. It traces possible terminus points for futures that many of us will not live to see. Utilising a range of unexpected variables, automations and uncontrolled systems in the creation of the recordings, Irisarri has devel- oped a new approach to his work, seamlessly weaving together intense layers of texture and saturated harmony.
Within these works, distant melodies emerge and in their wake the listeners’ focus shifts again and again. A never ending loop of the unconscious feeding into the conscious is formed. Whilst the skeletal form of pieces such as 'Coastal Trapped Disturbance' might remain, the organic matter that is the body of the music is in a process of persis- tent transformation. These subconscious variations morph the pieces from within. This is a record of sublimation, and dwells in states of transition and becoming.
Recorded in two suites (one released on LP and the other on cassette) , each section is a distorted mirror reflection of the other. Solastalgia stands as a landmark undertaking for Irisarri, it encourages us to remain unsettled and attentive in the moment, and prompts us to listen deeper and imagine what lies beyond or in excess of our expectations.
Rafael Anton Irisarri is an American composer, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer living in New York. De- scribed by the press as “one of contemporary ambient music’s most celebrated practitioners,” Irisarri's music often has a mournful, elegiac quality where ostinato phrases tap into minimalist ideals while atmospheric layers of effects suggests a more cinematic approach. In all, his compositions are deeply emotive and epic, like a symphony record- ing that’s been rescued from attic entombment after half a century. Irisarri concerts at museums, churches, syna- gogues, and other non-traditional performance spaces explore the physicality of sound. Combining an array of heavy metal bass amplifiers, multiple loudspeaker configurations, synthesizers, bowed guitars, notebook computers, video images, and lighting, Irisarri decontextualize the audience’s relationship to the venue, creating an immersive, otherworldly environment. Irisarri’s recorded works are widely published internationally.