Rafael Anton Irisarri – Peripeteia

Peripeteia’s submerged, undulating music leans into the melancholic, with every developing tone signalling a new hue in a shifting landscape. Rafael Anton Irisarri’s music has always been awash with peaks and valleys, elongations and subsidence, and his rich use of texture is in full, dramatic force on his debut for Dais Records.

The sound rises and its empire eventually falls, a victim of a coup, eaten by its own abrasive scattering of distortion, like cells in an organism as it succumbs to cancer. Peripeteia takes DNA from metal and classical music, and it gradually engulfs the listener; the first spray of water in an approaching flood.

The sounds are eagerly anticipated and even benevolent, with the music transforming the area into new sculptures and shapes. They’re a part of the natural landscape, higher than the treetops without ever feeling imposing or intimidating. Some rise up to become monolithic pillars; others are statues of strengthened tones with sleek and powerful musculature, but also able to flex and bend when required.

Irisarri is captain and designer, but the movements feel like a natural growth, not a manipulation or an attempt at control. His sonic-diving takes the music into uncharted waters. Glimmering melodies, such as the gorgeous ‘Arduous Clarity’, touch harmonic euphoria, and there’s always a threat of jagged distortion, which cuts into its smooth, sandy surface, subtly rearranging and reshaping the sides of any given note.

Some melodies are smooth enough to walk barefoot, while other harmonies are shrouded in the murk of hiss and buried in their own loop, although at no point does the music feel restricted. Wherever a loop occurs, it feels like an expansive, living thing, inflating into the atmosphere and standing up high.

The loops are a form of breathing, a cycle with an origin and an end, an inhale and an exhale, and Irisarri is able to masterfully work this rhythm into the sound. The penultimate ‘Fright And Control’ sounds nihilistic, but even so, the melodies of Peripeteia are as bright as the stars, even when staring into the depths. ‘Fright And Control’ is at the point of nothingness, looking into a blank void. It still has a harmony to play, and it doesn’t feel depressing or oppressive. It is what it is, being swallowed whole, accepting its fate.


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