Fernando Corona, the Barcelona-based Mexican electronic composer, continues to impress with his third albm as Murcof, Cosmos. It’s an intermittently sparse, intermittently warm affair, using very low bass drones to sustain intervals between lusher orchestral motifs. Throughout, micro-electronic effects are used to alter and deepen the power of the thematic elements—a soft, high cicada sound, say, or the pinging noise of a modem. These swells of sound really do evoke wide vistas—mountains, skies, etc—but the deep drones also lend a hint of menace. It’s an odd, sometimes unnerving experience. Sophisticated, too—a section on “Oort” is a disembodied perversion of Beethoven’s Fifth, the massive orchestral hit followed by a flutter of string harmonics. During the softer sections, if you’re listening on headphones, the sounds of everyday life bleed in and become another part of the composition—we know that silence is as important as sound in Corona’s expansive compositions. At his best, as on “Cosmos II”, nine minutes is barely enough to sustain the plethora of ideas, from far-off thunder effects at the opening to an intense wall of organ dissonance and a zooming intimation of comets overhead. Corona has also done plenty of soundtrack work—and his long-form experiments as Murcof are expert at creating and sustaining these complex atmospheres.
// Notes from the Road
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