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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), Oct 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, Aug 2015

Rafael Anton Irisarri maps out A Fragile Geography on new LP

Resident Advisor Review, Jan 2015

Rafael Anton Irisarri - Will Her Heart Burn Anymore

"Fifteen Questions" with Rafael Anton Irisarri

HHV Mag, Jan 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, Jan 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, Dec 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, Nov 2013

Rafael Anton Irisarri sails The Unintentional Sea

Earmilk, Oct 2013

I'm not exaggerating when I say I've fallen asleep to The Sight Below's 2008 album Glider about 300 times. When you say someone's music puts you to sleep, it seems almost insulting. But in fact, I find that that hour or so I spend before bed some nights lounging in my sheets is the most intimate listening time that I have, devoid of interruptions and dedicated to taking in that album in full…

A Strangely Isolated Place, Oct 2013

After a brief break and a well-deserved Decibel thank-you procession, The Sight Below took centre stage, laden with his laptop, numerous loop pedals and his infamous hoodie. I was lucky to see Rafael perform as himself at Substrata a few months back but i’ve never seen him perform as The Sight Below – the guise which induced my entry into Rafael’s productions. His performance can be summed up pretty simply – #dronelife. Rafael shook The Triple Door to the ground, teetering on the edge of the maximum output, as subtle guitar loops grew into an atmospheric monster. My friend had to leave as he said he was getting heart palpitations – no joke – I wasn’t surprised. This gentle dinner setting was being assaulted by a wonderful, rich ambient performance from Seattle’s finest…

KEXP, Oct 2013

… Seattle’s ambient shoegaze project The Sight Below was there to make sure we were not getting out without total absorption. Starting slowly his layering picked up speed, a guitar here, a new slow beat there, building into a nightmarish storm. Ominous tribal drums surged beneath the surface. If his music is meditative, you must first survive the uneasy sleep he induces, where the sounds of sleeping animals growling breath is just around the corner. It is a beautiful storm that breaks with choirs of benevolent ghosts singing - before slowly setting the audience back on the ground, surprisingly better rested, more contemplative, and satisfied than before. His alien like figure take a small bow - a white face surrounded by a black hood and long skinny legs and arms leaving the silence he induced, in absolute applause…

The Stranger, Sept 2013

The Sight Below (Seattle’s Rafael Anton Irisarri) was feeling ill and had his hoodie pulled up and wore a jacket onstage, but he delivered what was at times his most abrasive ambient set to date. There was an orchestral grandeur to the Sight Below’s swarming drones that ranged from beatific to anguished. The performance was marked by one amazing anomaly: a massive ambient-dub bruiser that sounded like a combination of Seefeel and Scorn. More like this, please…

A Strangely Isolated Place, 08.04.2013:

After moving to the USA, one of the very first things I did was ask Rafael Anton Irisarri if he was planning to host another Substrata Festival, in what would potentially be it’s 3rd edition. For two years ive sat and envied this festivals attendees, its ethos, its intimateness and of course its amazing lineup, wishing I could fly across the pond to Seattle to attend. So as soon as the dates for this year were announced I was pretty quick to jump on board and…


… delayed guitars and a more relaxed take on ambient music, all done before a constant visual backdrop of mundane scenes from Seattle life. Videos of Interstate 5 traffic, occasional glimpses of the Space Needle, and people walking in neighborhoods as if the camera wasn’t there populated the screen while Irisarri filled the soundtrack for our lives. The tone was non-descript and the performance borderline underwhelming — but then again, that is sometimes the name of the game with an ambient showcase. The Sight Below’s set seemed like a collective page out of everyone’s…


An introspective narrative from the Pacific Northwest.
The Sight Below is the main recording alias of Seattle-based artist Rafael Anton Irisarri. Wanting to distance himself from the inevitable limelight cast by a release on a larger independent label, Irisarri cut a shadowy figure around the time of his debut full-length under the name, 2008's Glider on Ghostly International. The record introduced his Gas-influenced works to an audience well beyond the confines of the US ambient/experimental scene (Thom Yorke was apparently a fan), its live guitar-fuelled drones making their heavily processed mark upon the wider electronic music world…

FACT MAG, Dec 2009

… For any instrumental music, and particularly ambient electronica, track titles and visuals are almost as important in expressing intention as the sounds themselves. By that token, The Sight Below reveals himself to be a man with a clear musical vision: these tracks do indeed murmur and the accompanying black and white image (of what looks like lichen massively magnified) captures the sense of something natural yet unfamiliar…

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