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Midnight Colours

by Rafael Anton Irisarri

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about

Rafael Anton Irisarri is an American multi-instrumentalist composer, record producer, mastering engineer, and curator living in the state of New York. Irisarri embodies a new kind of composer: one who “exists in an undifferentiated welter of pop, techno, and classical,” according to Pitchfork.

His recorded output heavily utilize bowed guitars, piano, strings, synths, field recordings, voices, and electronic instruments, creating dense clouds of blurry, hypnotic sound. Described by Drowned In Sound (UK) as “one of contemporary ambient music’s most celebrated practitioners,” Irisarri’s music often has a mournful, elegiac quality where ostinato phrases tap into minimalist ideals while atmospheric layers of effects suggests a more cinematic approach. In all, his compositions are deeply emotive and epic, like a symphony recording that’s been rescued from attic entombment after half a century.

Irisarri’s latest work 'Midnight Colours' comes after a starkly stunning run of releases on Ghostly, Morr, Room40, and Umor Rex, among others. The eight new songs were conceived as a sort of soundtrack to the “Midnight Clock or Doomsday Clock” – a symbol which represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe. Recorded in 2017, when the Clock was at 2½ minutes-to-midnight (the second-closest to midnight since the Clock’s start in 1947), 'Midnight Colours' permeates with the melancholy of memories resurfacing as you get close to the end of life: the regret, the closure, the uncertainty, the anxiety, and so on.

The result is perhaps Irisarri’s most moving and introspective work to date, unfurling a sort of epiphany symphony and sounding like a sunrise in slow motion. Irisarri experimented with the use of heavily “degraded” tape, played through a mis-aligned Otari 8-track tape machine that was constantly on the fritz. “I felt using tape gave the music a particular texture & character, like when you watch old news reels from the 1950’s, you know those that talk about the H-bomb, and how we are all doomed,” he explains.

Opening suite “The Clock” and “Falling Curtain” offer an elegiac dirge into the unknown, soldering on with humanity but pessimistic reality. “Oh Paris, We Are Fucked” retreats into a blur of mournful curiosity, while “Circuits” brings a glimmer of tragic hope. “Every Scene Fades” is brimming with eerie beauty and a distant, heaving rhythm that perfectly contrasts the morbid optimism of “Two and a Half Minutes.” “Drifting” and “A Ruptured Tranquility” bring a soberingly sense of reality, closing out 'Midnight Colours' harrowing narrative.

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released February 27, 2018

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Rafael Anton Irisarri New York, New York

For mastering inquiries, please visit: www.blackknollstudio.com

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