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PopMatters, April 2018

Every Scene Fades: An Interview with Ambient Producer Rafael Anton Irisarri


Cyclic defrost, April 2018 (review by Paranoid)

It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to the creators of ‘La Equidistancia’, the album by Rafael Anton Irisarri (based in New York) and Leandro Fresco (based in San Martin De Los Andes) released last year on A Strangely Isolated Place, one of our favourite labels. Rafael Anton Irisarri is a composer known for his highly immersive minimal experimental works that he has released on Room40, Ghostly International, Touch and Miasmah.


Inverted Audio, March 2018,(review by Baptiste Girou)

The opening track, ‘Downfall‘, kicks things off on a particularly bleak and austere note, submerging its listener in a sort of faded high-altitude euphoria. Minimal drones cloud the skyline as Irisarri deftly orchestrates his wonderful ballet of understated modulations and darkened timbres. Smoothly fading in, the album’s highlight ‘Sonder‘ expands the radius to further high-level elegiac spheres, astoundingly poignant and overwhelming, each bar weightlessly elevating upon fantasized mountain scapes, rife with craggy peaks and steep hogbacks, as it fully absorbs you in its restful tide of slow-scudding pads and guitar riffs.


Noise Not Music, March 2018 (review by jckmd)

Not many artists can maintain such a frequent release schedule and consistent quality at the same time, but Sirimiri will silence the skeptics. Where Midnight Colours was bright and chromatic, Sirimiri is cool and nocturnal, with Irisarri’s masterful drone sculpting taking on an icy edge.


The Alcohol Seed, March 2018

From the commencement of Sirimiri, the Irisarri fan might be surprised to find he’s pivoted slightly from recent efforts. The urgency of Irisarri’s music is something we’ve come to rely on from the artist, and though we might be scratching our heads at first to find that quality significantly dialled back here, it is not done, thankfully, at the expense of everything else that makes his music so captivating.


Bandcamp daily, March 2018

Most drone music can get pretty dark. But the heavy, dense drones on Midnight Colours,Rafael Anton Irisarri’s new tape for Atlanta label Geographic North, sound particularly ominous. When the New York-based composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist made this music, he was pondering the Doomsday Clock, a theoretical measure of how long we have until humanity eradicates itself. When he began recording, the clock had moved closer to midnight than any time since the 1950s portion of the Cold War era.


Headphone commute, March 2018

Can you talk a bit about Midnight Colours? Was this indeed your first cassette release? Yeah, actually! Dunno why I hadn’t done one before. Wayyyyyy simpler than cutting a vinyl record. It was a pretty seamless process. Hoping to do more in the future.


The Alcohol Seed, March 2018

Wasting no time after his successful 2017, Mr. Irisarri brings us new work for a new year [...]. Geographic North [...] presents Midnight Colours, another emotionally charged set of time-distorting experimentation from Irisarri. While last year’s The Shameless Years acted as warning to an increasingly harmful socio-political climate and cultural/social disconnect,Midnight Colours’ message is even more bleak. The album’s title is a reference to the global catastrophe meter known as the doomsday clock. Those familiar with the concept might also know that it is currently set at a mere 2-minutes-to-midnight, where midnight represents the catastrophe point, or point of no return for nuclear war and/or climate change.


HearFeel, March 2018 (review by Chris)

Indeed, since Rafael released his record, the clock has moved forwards by 30 seconds, a sign of the quickly changing nature of the political landscape at the moment. It’s an elegant symbol of the world’s precarious fractiousness, and Midnight Colours manifests this in sound, though piece “Two and a Half Minutes” has a strange floaty feeling about it, the ticking synths and machinations of the clock itself oddly disconnected from reality.


Headphone Commute, March 2018

On Midnight Colours, Irisarri works his textured guitar-driven lo-fi drone-ways into a layered expansive fabric of sonics. Although the overdriven distortion is still slightly present throughout the process, Irisarri manages to turn its crude murmur into a quiet, ambient, and tranquil expanse.


A Closer Listen, March 2018

Rafael Anton Irisarri made a strong statement about the condition of the world in 2017 with "The Shameless Years". This year he continues to push boundaries and buttons on "Midnight Colours". The shamelessness of global politics has continued to settle in, producing a thick malaise, captured here via sluggish tempos and lugubrious drone. When this was written last fall, the Doomsday Clock (predicting the likelihood of a human-caused global catastrophe) was set at two and a half minutes to midnight; as the cassette is released, the clock has moved forward another half-minute, already making one of the track titles out-of-date. ...


Noise Not Music, Feburary 2018 (review by jckmd)

From the first seconds of leading track “The Clock” it is breathtakingly beautiful, as ethereal drones and warm vinyl-esque crackles pervade the lush soundscapes. Despite the consistent prettiness, Midnight Colours does not suffer from the mindless simplicity of “laptop ambient.”


post ambient lux, Dec 2017 : 100 Best Ambient Albums of 2017

2 / Rafael Anton Irisarri : The Shameless Years
8 / Leandro Fresco & Rafael Anton Irisarri : La Equidistancia


PopMatters, Nov 2017

The Best Ambient/Instrumental Music of 2017
...It's exactly what you expect an ambient album to sound like but also the standard by which other modern ambient LPs should be judged against. It's not just a once-in-a-lifetime meeting of minds, no: it's the best Ambient/Instrumental album of the year. ...


Date Wave, Oct 2017

Leandro Fresco and Rafael Anton Irisarri. Anyone who’s keen on Ambient music doesn’t need to be told about those musicians. The former has his music released on the label Kompakt, where his records often bring joy to his audience, and the latter is released on Room40 (founded by Lawrence English) second year in a row.


Onda Rock, Sept 2017

Dopo le tristi storie di tragedie figlie della cupidigia umana di "The Unintentional Sea" (2013) e gli imponenti muri sonori di "A Fragile Geography" (2015), Irisarri continua a volgere sguardo e pensieri verso la contemporaneità, descrivendola in modo tanto potente da essere riuscito a creare - nell'arco di questi anni - una nuova grammatica ambient malinconica ma non deprimente, allo stesso tempo imponente e minimale, quasi fotografica nella sua capacità di ritrarre scenari e luoghi. Queste sue caratteristiche, che lo differenziano dalla gran parte dei protagonisti dell'elettronica di ricerca contemporanea, lo candidano conseguentemente a essere uno dei più sinceri testimoni dei nostri anni.


The Alcohol Seed, Sept 2017

Has there ever been an era in recent history that so perfectly warrants the title of The Shameless Years then the one we are currently living? Is it not usually only in retrospect that we are able to make such a claim, in that we must first crawl out of the shit before we can walk away from it, then slowly turn around and acknowledge that we were once back there, in the shit? ...
Strip away the title and one would be hard-pressed to find anything political about Rafael Anton Irisarri’s new album. There is, however, an underlying urgency that’s hard to ignore. Few albums that bubble up from the bottomless spring of contemporary ambient take the bold steps that The Shameless Years does. So rarely do they go as big and burn as bright without suffocating their audience first.


igloo magazine, Sept 2017

Presumably due to the nature of the collaboration, Fresco’s name comes first here as Irisarri provided directives to Fresco, who then returned his melodic compositions for sculpting and sound design. The results are a mixture of maximal ambient tracks all too familiar to those well versed in Irisarri’s previous work, and others that bear such strong similarities to Biosphere’s glacial middle period that those seeking more and not getting it from the man himself need look no further than La Equidistancia.


This Is Darkness, Sept 2017

Ambient music falls under a distinct spectrum of effect. Some artists evoke alternate mental spaces, others provide a space for listeners to reconcile themselves to the present world, and many accomplish a bit of both. New York’s post-minimalist composer Rafael Anton Irisarri has traversed several ends of this spectrum, but his latest effort comes as an austere acknowledgement of the human experience in all of its dismal magnitude. The Shameless Years stands as one of Irisarri’s most honest and passionate releases to date.


A Closer Listen, Aug 2017

One can rail about the state of society, or one can do something about it. On The Shameless Years, Rafael Anton Irisarri leads by example. During a period of stifled expression, he creates; during a time of anti-Muslim sentiment, he invites an Iranian artist to co-compose. The presence of Siavash Amini, whose album TAR speaks to similar themes, adds deep resonance to the closing diptych.


Iinverted audio, April 2017

....It was as part of this original blog community that Leandro Fresco and Rafael Anton Irisarri were introduced and then maintained a long distance musical romance (living in Argentina and New York respectively) into which blossomed La Equidistancia. Here we find deep ambient of the most epic kind – with layer upon layer of undulating sound. A delicately unfurling liminal hinterworld at times as cold as the cover art, at others warm and embracing – as indicated by the track titles “Under a Sunset Faded“, “Between the Fog” and “A Horizon in Flames“. ...


A Strangely Isolated Place, Feb 2017

Gailes - Seventeen Words
Rafael Anton Irsarri and Benoît Pioulard previously combined as Orcas, in somewhat unexpected fashion with an accessible, gentle ambient post-rock sound - Benoît's soft voice floating on top of dreamy piano pieces and the distant plucks of distorted guitar strings. Rafael and Benoît's newest collaboration moves them deeper into more recognizable textured ambient territory as Gailes. ...


Tiny Mix Tapes, Jan 2017

Far be it for a Washington island/type of whale to accurately represent the breadth of music that Benoît Pioulard and Rafael Anton Irisarri are capable of collaboratively creating, the duo has just announced a new album under their brand new Gailes moniker, which as far as I can tell isn’t a reference to a species of majestic fowl.


Koridor, Feb 2016

Rafael Anton Irisarri – A Fragile Geography
Irisarrijev album je posoda za večno potujoče ideje, a z določenim osebnim pečatom.


Frequencies, Feb 2016

Nella foresta i limiti diventano possibilità. Incontro con Rafael Anton Irisarri


Headphone Commute, Nov 2015

In the studio with Rafael Anton Irisarri (THE RETURN)
...I used to think you needed things to be creative, and as it turned out, I’ve managed to make work with whatever resources I had at hand. This has always been a key part of my creative process (turning a limitation into a possibility), and this only served as a reminder to put it to use again, return to the basics and remove any unnecessary clutter. ...


A Strangely Isolated Place, Nov 2015

Interview: Expressive drones from the other side, with Rafael Anton Irisarri
A cross-country move can be unsettling, let alone a move that follows the unfortunate theft of an entire studio. It's enough to make anyone pack-up again, give-up even. But then there are some who use it to channel energy to be even more creative; who use it as an opportunity for deeper expression.


Tiny Mix Tapes, Oct 2015

..When compared with previous works, A Fragile Geography shows a much deeper and more profound grasp on both the balance of noise to melodic construction and the sequencing in the larger process of developing an engaging work, generating a mad energy that it sustains over its entire course. It’s a fierce and confrontational work that melds excellent compositions with powerful sonics, creating a malleable emotional core that seethes and burns brightly...


Hartzine (FR), 19.10.2015

Véritable épreuve de force pour son auteur qui aura mis plus de deux ans à l’achever, A Fragile Geography s’intime tel le nœud gordien qu’Irisarri, et par métaphore l’Amérique, refusera toujours de trancher, entre tumulte quotidien et aspiration à la plénitude.


BBC Radio, Sept 2015

6 Music Recommends With Mary Ann Hobbs - Including Rafael Anton Irisarri "Reprisal"


Resident Advisor, 26.08.2015

Rafael Anton Irisarri maps out A Fragile Geography on new LP


Resident Advisor Review, January 2015

Rafael Anton Irisarri - Will Her Heart Burn Anymore


"Fifteen Questions" with Rafael Anton Irisarri


HHV Mag, 16.01.2014

Es könnte doch ganz einfach sein. Der Maler nimmt Farbe, der Schriftsteller Worte, der Musiker nimmt Töne. Es entstehen immer Bilder: auf der Leinwand, vor dem inneren Auge, im Kopf. Die Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts hat uns spätestens gelehrt, ganz so simpel ist es dann doch nicht. Und doch: Bei Rafael Anton Irisarri bin ich versucht, es auf diese Formel herunterzubrechen. Der in Seattle, Washington, wohnhafte Komponist lässt…


Electronique IT, 13.01.2014

Sono flussi sonori sempre più ispirati quelli che Rafael Anton Irisarri continua a produrre e che possiamo definire come veri e propri racconti sonori. Non è nuovo a questo genere di cose, conosciamo bene la sua musica. Un percorso partito dalla Miasmah recordings ed evolutosi in una serie di album sempre intenti a raccontare storie e ad accompagnarci in viaggi senza dubbio intensi e passionali…


A Closer Listen, 06.12.2013

The Salton Sea was never meant to exist. It developed by accident in 1905 as waters were diverted from the California River, submerging the town of Salton. In the ensuing decades it became a resort area, until fertilizer runoff and increased salinity began to kill the fish, and consequently, the tourist appeal. Today the sea stands as a symbol of hubris to some and of opportunity to others, who continue to call…


Resident Advisor, 06.11.2013

Rafael Anton Irisarri sails The Unintentional Sea


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