Rafael Anton Irisarri: Solastalgia (LP, Room 40, June 2019)

It came as a surprise to me when I realized I actually only own two records by Rafael Anton Irisarri. It Falls Apart, the 2010 release from The Sight Below, was a pretty cracking record, and it caught me at a formative moment in my listening journey, and I guess he’s felt like a part of my musical makeup because of that. But the only one of his solo releases I have is 2016’s A Fragile Geography. Quite remiss of me.

Anyway, here we are again, and it’s another cracker. This is more of his big swooshy fuzzy ambient. There are bits that remind me of classic Fennesz, bits that hark back to the shoegazier sound of The Sight Below, and some little touches like a echoey distant clattering and the gentle plinking at the start of Kiss All The Pretty Skies Goodbye which I can’t place but which I find strangely bewitching. And Irisarri is an absolute master of this stuff — check out album closer Black Pitch and the way the soaring melody’s pitch wobbles just fractionally like a record that’s been warped in the heat: it’s subtly done and somehow only emphasizes the track’s epic intensity — and who cares about cataloguing influences when it sounds so damned good?

(Strange thing: The digital streaming version of this album appears to have the six tracks individually, and then a single 38-minute track called Solastalgia (Suite One) which contains the same music all over again, including the track breaks and everything. Not sure why.)

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Dark Ambient / Drone / Metal.

Your turn! What do you think?