This new solo album by Francisco Meirino might at first look like a fairly short 9 tracks ride but it immediately attracts attention and the need for concentration by alternating, with various degrees, intensity, dynamics and volume.
This assemblage of endless changes with the obvious hissing sound of reel-to-reel motors, the brutal voltage discharges of dying equipments, brings warmth and focus on the other important aspect of this detailed audio work ... the threat of an unknown sonic language.
Assembled and mastered at Shiver Mobile in 2011-2012,
with audio & visual data gathered in Switzerland & China.
Using : computer, reel-to-reel tape recorders, analog synth, field recorder, various home-made electronics,
piezo transducers, radio scanner and electro-magnetic sensors.
Born in 1975, Francisco Meirino is active since 1994 (as phroq until 2009) in sound and live performance, he explores the tension between programmable material and the potential for its failure.
More than 100 live performances in various venues and festivals in Europe, Japan and North America.
Over the years, Francisco Meirino had the honor to collaborate on studio and live with great artists such as :
Dave Phillips / Scott Arford / Michael Gendreau / Michael Esposito / Astro / ILIOS / Randy H.Y. Yau / Lasse Marhaug /
Mike Shiflet / Jason Kahn / Kiko C. Esseiva among others..
He lives and works in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Like I said last week, I do like noise; when served decently. One of the noise makers I really like is Francisco Meirino. He worked as Phroq until 2009, and since then under his own name. For his 'A While And Awhile) he uses his computer, reel-to-reel recorders, analog synth, field recorder, various home-made electronics, piezo transducers, radio scanner and electro-magnetic sensors. 'With audio and visual data gathered in Switzerland and China', it says on the cover. Noise is perhaps not really present on this release. Or perhaps: not as such. Things buzz, crackle and hiss, and put together in an interesting fashion through collage techniques. There are nine pieces on this release, but they can also be heard as one piece. I wasn't paying attention to my CD player so its hard to say when a track started and ended. Its not really important either - the tracks have no titles anyway. Sometimes there is a strong buzz and a new piece starts or perhaps in the middle of piece. Fault
and machinery are important ingredients in this music. Sometimes the buzzes are layered together and form a heavy drone like machine sound. This is all excellent modern musique concrete music put together in a highly intelligent way from elements from noise music. See, boys from the HNW scene, now that's what I call noise. Use this as your text book example.
Frans de Waard
I have seen a photograph of an open case which is absolutely stuffed full of black cables and wires. Next to these is a metal box with eleven knobs on, each one turned to a different setting. At the side of this case, hanging from a drumstick projecting from the top of a reel-to-reel tape recorder, are several magnetic tape loops. These items belong to Francisco Meirino, and if ever anyone needed an illustration of what ‘A while and awhile’ might sound like, they need look no further.
Meirino seems to be using two categories of sound here: The physical ( flicking switches, starting fans, clanking metal and generally shuffling around ), and the electrical ( low hums, sparky crackles, overloaded circuits and the sound of fingers on jack plugs ). From this palette he blends pinpoint clicks and sub-bass rumbles with everything in between and comes out with a constantly changing and evolving music of chance encounters.
The first of the nine tracks for example, unnamed except for its length of duration ( 4.51 ), begins with sounds that might be generated in one’s mouth. Spittle snaps and pops in a salivary display of crepitation. Beneath this a deep, ominous hum takes shape and begins rising from nothing. Before long other mysterious activity, as if from far off rooms carried down ventilation shafts and bounced off walls, becomes apparent.
We’re located in a no-man’s land where it is hard to get a grasp of the location. This is certainly a physical world, but power surges and badly soldered electrical components are rendering the infrastructure dangerous. I see from his website that Meirino has a preference for performing live in absolute darkness. I can visualise the air around him igniting and glowing in iridescent flashes as charged particles collide and decay.
The term ‘glitch’ is an ugly word, and it seems to have been taken on board by a generation of electronic artists wanting to disrupt the metallic sheen of computer music with carefully placed flecks and meticulously honed cuts. Mereino’s work should not be confused with self-conscious confections of this nature. His art paints a raw and unpolished landscape with surprises and danger at every turn.
His music explores the tension between programmable material and the potential for its failure. Track 8 puts me inside a computer, but not in a digital way. Not in the sense of being incorporated into the programme as data like Tron. Instead I’m among the fans that cool the processor. I can hear the data transfers occurring via the wires and I can sense the power coming in from the mains, but it’s all so poorly insulated that energy is leaking out at random points. Instability is increasing. Help!
‘A while and awhile’ is awash with forces and potentials pulling in all directions. Meirino has developed a purely personal way of articulating his chosen material, and in doing so has created a compelling and completely enthralling piece of work. If this becomes your introduction to this artist, as it was mine, you will want to explore more and search out further examples. Believe me, naked electricity is positively addictive.
I would like to end this review with a piece of advice: Never let Francisco Meirino rewire your house!
Chris Whitehead, The Field Reporter.