The Unintentional Sea

by Rafael Anton Irisarri

supported by
Lost Tribe Sound
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Lost Tribe Sound I saw this documentary about the Salton Sea as part of a series called, "Abandoned." Well done show, and this place should be the poster child for man trying to meddle with nature when it should not. Desolate, dying landscape, toxic dust, and the last cancer-riddled dregs of humanity clutching on to their cracked earth. Rafael's homage definitely serves this place well. Should be the OST to the documentary.
Tuukka Junnikkala
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Tuukka Junnikkala This record provides you with a sea of sound. Slowly moving tides, faster, smaller ripples, splashes and whirls. There are both micro and macro level things going on in this ambient release, and it certainly requires both patience and observation from the listener, but can be quite rewarding once you learn to both give into it and embrace it at the same time. Favorite track: Her Rituals.
Transport Connection
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Transport Connection Very happy to have caught up with this album and artist only this year. Where would I begin? The Unintentional Sea buzzes and crackles away with an exotic and ghostly charisma that's impossible for me to resist. Absolutely essential in my book. Favorite track: Daybreak Comes Soon.
Dotflac thumbnail
Dotflac The Unintentional Sea tells quite well the story of the Salton Sea : a violent and cataclysmic birth, a turbulent life, and now a painful survival and still uncertain future.

Thanks to a mix of aerial layers of ambient synthesizers, crackling noises and mystical-sounding strings/piano/voices through the album, Rafael Anton Irisarri gives here birth to a deeply moving and highly cinematic LP, picturing the precarious balance and the fragile side of unintentional nature's gifts.

Recommended. Favorite track: Her Rituals.
roel funcken
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roel funcken The music is neither dark ambient nor drone, instead it’s a heavily textured soundscape influenced by a portrait of a place. Shuffling clicks, humming machines, moaning organics – each make up a complex organism which slowly evolves, moving through the landscape like a thick morning haze. Favorite track: Lesser Than The Sum Of Its Parts.
A Strangely Isolated Place
A Strangely Isolated Place thumbnail
A Strangely Isolated Place Immersive sound construction by one of the most technically gifted musicians out there. Favorite track: Lesser Than The Sum Of Its Parts.
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Her Rituals 07:01
The Witness 06:20


Partly inspired by the true story of the Salton Sea, a failed river redirection to assist Californian agricultural development at the turn of the 20th century, Rafael Anton Irisarri’s “The Unintentional Sea” mimics the ideas of transformation of place.

During the 1950s, this ecological disaster was seized and rebranded by corporate land developers, flipping it into a dream getaway destination for West Coast elites. Before long, record temperatures and a rising level of water mineralization led to the mass death of fish and other wildlife, and in turn so too did the resort town's population, leaving behind a vast post-human deserted wasteland. This unintentional sea had given life and now has taken it away.

The follow-up to the much acclaimed “The North Bend,” this album continues Irisarri’s development of landscape inspired musical renderings. Like the Salton Sea of today his latest edition is a gently churning portrait of fluidity. It’s a record that sounds like staring at a vast ocean in light breeze. Layer upon layer of currents swirl below the surface, while gentle surges and waves coalesce creating fleeting patterns and moments of intermeshed sonics. As these elements meet and break away again, a sense of motion - both micro and macro - is created, a rendering of the ocean calm before the inevitable storm. Coated in a thick blanket of bass tonality, flickers of light catch on the crests of these waves, uneasy jewels of sonic light that appear as quickly as they disappear.


released November 30, 2013

Composed, performed and produced by R. A. Irisarri in Seattle, WA (Winter 2012 - 2013) at
Photographs & Artwork by Joshua Zucker-Pluda
Mastered by Lawrence English at 158 Brisbane
Published by Outer Worlds Publishing
2013 All Rights Reserved


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