Sagar / Hadid / Isaza

Miguel Isaza - Mayopama, closeup of unidentifiable light brown surfaces, one smooth and one rough.

The latest batch of releases from Farmacia901 each continue the label’s minimal, low-key aesthetic, but do so in different ways. Jared Sagar’s “Night Thoughts” is the most dynamic of the three, ranging from silence to intense rumbling and harrowing gleam; in between lie all sorts of faint buzzings, rattlings, whistlings, clunkings, and flutterings. The pathos of the opening section gives the album title a grim slant, but this soon dissipates in favour of calmer and more subdued moods. Towards the end of the first track, a quite beautiful interaction of different whirrings, a counterpoint of shimmers, makes its presence quietly felt.

Joaquín Gutiérrez Hadid takes quite a different approach for his album “Rumor”, which is based on a sound installation in which a ventilation shaft was used to link three contrasting spaces: an art gallery, a public corridor, and an underground car park. I wouldn’t necessarily have guessed this simply from listening to the release, but of the three albums here this is the one that would seem to present a more industrial/architectural impression. Quiet echoing clangs and metallic ringing locate the music in a built environment, while gusts of air, muffled shuffling, footsteps, and the murmur of what might be distant voices all convey a sense of transit from one space to another, a movement and exchange of energy and vibrations.

Miguel Isaza’s “Māyopama” pushes deeper into the reductionist aesthetic, its incredibly faint, intermittent sounds frequently inaudible above the everyday background provided by central heating, Diwali fireworks, and housemates’ pottering around the house. I enjoyed the album most when I stopped straining to hear, and simply relaxed and let the music become part of the general sonic environment. Slight hisses, quiet ringing and clunking, tiny knocking and chinking, and the occasional vaporous chord or thrumming tone: these sounds emerge quietly from the ambient hum before descending back into it again. They often sound quite natural and organic, without sounding like anything in particular.

Each of these three albums presents a distinctive take on the mix of electronic and field recording-inspired minimalism that Fabio Perletta’s label is known for. Although contrasting in technique, each extends an invitation to listen differently, to take a step beyond the immediate and the obvious. They’re well worth making the effort to do so.

Jared Sagar

Joaquín Gutiérrez Hadid

Miguel Isaza

Farmacia901

Image: photo from cover of Miguel Isaza’s “Māyopama”, by Agnese Gambini

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