Alex Alarcón has been quite active over the last few years and 2010 has seen three new releases for Sustainer: Vértice (escala), Distancia (Audotalaia), and Cromosoma (Miga) — over 90 minutes of ambient experimental goodness. The Barcelona native originally got started with techno music, Monocromo (Bio-Mechanics) is a good example of this. In 2009 with the release of the ambient Puerto (++sensor), Alarcón began to shake loose of the beat and, in 2010, he shook all preconceived notions of music with these three releases.
I guess we should go in chronological order, though every bone in my body says not to as I know there is sometimes a disparity between when an artist completes a work and when it is released — a discography is not always a valid time line. Back in February, escala released Alarcón’s Vértice which begins with a drone and about a minute into the work, you realize that this isn’t the Alarcón you may have once knew. The liner notes talk about how the work is a “study of random-self generated sounds with modular systems, acoustic instruments, and field recordings.” The effort Alarcón goes through in masking his loops adds to a subtlety and wonderfulness to the work.
Distancia (Audiotalaia) was release in April and is a truly beautiful work. With its basis in drones, one hears sustained piano notes and the obscured loops drifting in an out. Distancia is a nice slow work that enchantingly ropes in the listener. The liner notes, which can be found on archive.org, talk about the construction of Distancia:
A few years ago Alarcón recorded a wall piano. He asked a friend to play sustained notes allowing the sound to disappear slowly. After those sessions recording the piano, Alarcón had been using that material in some live sessions and concert. Finally after many years he has recovered that material and used to produce a diptych that shows the strength and the vision of true experimenter in ambient music.
Cromosoma (Miga) continues the Alacórn’s work that with “random self-genrated music” with great effect. Released in July, is a little more glitchy than the other two netplays. “cromosoma_A” (mp3) is a good example of what Cromosoma is all about. The track begins begins with a tone, the glitches come in and then other loops swell from the background to the foreground. As with the other two releases, you hear samples wander in and out throughout the track that are always intriguing.