ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE – Civilian Life

Pax Recordings

I was noticing that the family name of Ernesto Diaz-Infante’s partner is Sturm which, after opportune anagramming, becomes “strum”. The latter constitutes today the primary technique amidst the Californian’s methods applied to his instruments (a pair of 12-string bajo sextos and several acoustic guitars, complemented by singing bowl and electronic tanpura). Civilian Life, issued almost simultaneously with the excellent Emilio on Kendra Steiner, is a collection of recordings from various studio and live settings framed in the 2003-2011 time span. It’s beautifully resounding music, as good as anything produced by Diaz-Infante in the last decade, a period where his interest has gradually shifted to what the calls “mantra guitar strumming” and, basically, has stayed there. The sound quality varies a little according to the original tapes, but the result is the same: a mind-relieving gratification bathed in droning serenity, pulsating inexorability – the man’s rhythmic consistency is astounding, he never slows down or accelerates – and an implicit trance as a main consequence. It’s a unique type of minimalism, halfway through Tony Conrad and Faust’s Outside The Dream Syndicate and the thousands of colours projected in the sky during a gorgeous sunset. Do yourselves a favour by getting a copy of both the CDs mentioned here and spin them continuously. Then look at Ernesto’s face and start wondering why there aren’t more persons like him around.

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