francisco lopez & various artists Birmingham Sound Matter (CD, £10.25)label: Audiobulb
Francisco Lopez has long been considered a great master of abstract electronic music. His studies of noise, silence and the fabric of recorded sound have been a major presence in the realm of electroacoustic music since the late 1990s. In this instance Lopez collaborated with a host of regional sound artists, collecting field recordings from around Birmingham’s urban landscape, shaping them into streams of decontextualised noise that are typical of Lopez's more challenging brand of microsound. Several of the participants come from an academic background, while others are self-taught, but in all cases the compositional approach eschews the more casual and pastoral tendencies of the genre. There's some great (if confrontational) material on offer: Annie Mahtani's cinematic 'Shadows', Mark Harris' droning 'Last Days' and Lopez's own deep and heavy 'Untitled 225' all prove to be especially rewarding. Typically, recorded sound is considered as a representation of reality. ‘Birmingham Sound Matter’ demonstrates that a sound recording can also be considered as an entity in its own right.
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