FRANCISCO LÓPEZ – Sonic Fields Vlieland


A being endowed with psychoacoustic responsiveness is going to retain one or more sounds related to a trip in his/her mind, most probably prior to any other memory (scents, visuals). In all likelihood, the same human typology symbolizes the archetypal addressee for Francisco López’s work. Across several decades of researching, the ever-traveling Spaniard has exercised his creative wits time and again, turning audiences on site and at home into a somehow privileged minority. Discerning both the therapeutic qualities and the technical subtleties of a López piece is also a stimulating challenge for the uninitiated. One thing is listening to a mere aggregation of field recordings; another is understanding the interconnections, superimpositions and profundities of raw substances that, at the end of the process, translate into genuine fine art.

On the long distance, the aforementioned “challenge” becomes a purifying ritual of sorts. In the case of Sonic Fields Vlieland, the actual participants were invited to visit different locations of the Dutch island, and asked to follow – more or less freely – a set of instructions. Their experience will remain totally individual, of course; however, we – as “remote sharers” – have now the chance of enjoying three hours of crucial “local-to-cosmic” impressions, thanks to a USB card comprising the results of López’s assembling and manipulation of the sources.

A strong asset in the composer’s “style” – if you pardon the expression – is the juxtaposition of unadulterated environmental voices with frequencies deriving from that very material, reshaped to become practically unidentifiable. This places López’s output straight in the realm of acousmatic gravity, distancing him from the mass of Zoom-handling dilettantes while placing his best productions side to side with the veritable greats. Still, as I was studying the principles of selection for these six soundscapes, any involuntary association was entirely removed from my appreciation of their brain-enhancing configurations. No characterless accumulation, no holiday postcard superficiality. López picks specific components – from the explicit repetition of a natural pattern to the innermost tremor of a subsonic undertone – and attributes a fundamental role to them all in the final mix.

The core meaning always lies in the event itself, which is self-explanatory. Therefore, just bath in this splendid cohabitation of biological vibrations and concrete puissance. Start from scratch, after a thorough removal of the cerebral rubble caused by a vacuous verbosity.

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