The contrast between the gentle ambient sounds Pepo Galán is well known for and Carlos Suero’s penchant for thick, dense electronics is central to the appeal of this new collaborative effort. The duo has produced a layered, ominously visual album.
Galán’s work on the cover captures the feel of these five new works perfectly. Dark and grainy, the black and white photo features three stone crosses side by side. The imagery is less religious than it is foreboding.
We start with “Eternity weakness.” Right from the start, the electronics feature enough of a warble to disabuse us of any expectations we may have had about an easy listen. The track maintains an even keel throughout, albeit it a muddy, distorted one.
Next is the more menacing “A sign of tolerance.” If the first piece was a kind of field recording to match the disc’s cover, we’re now clearly inside a frightening place. The piece groans and rumbles over top of a throbbing beat.
The pure synth beginning of track three, “The trouble of sweetness,” comes as a relief. It is one of the album’s most musical moments. This is Galán’s influence, surely. A little more than a minute in though, Suero dials up the dark again. His ability to create tension at such low volumes is remarkable.
And so it continues, through “A trust” and then the finale “Comformity declaration.” The disc’s title track is the preverbal calm after the storm. Not exactly sunny, but gently hopeful and optimistic. We’ve made it through whatever it was those three giant crosses are meant to signify.
Who wants another go?