A most attractive phenomenon for this reviewer is the metamorphosis of a lonesome noise-monger (of the acoustically enlightened variety) into a rigorous composer. In the case of Francisco Meirino, the latter stage confirms what should always be evident for a vigilant recipient: there’s noise and noise. One thing is ferocity for the sake of it, typically dictated by musical nescience; another is the consciousness of a tumultuous sphere of causes, effects and interrelations whose density incorporates a wealth of aural information, for the large part missed by the average audiences. Bitter truths, but still truths.
As per the title’s indication we have a triplet of compositions based on graphic scores, coherently and enthusiastically rendered by Ensemble Vortex (the shorter “Nabla” and “Ghetto – Phase IV”), and Ensemble Phoenix Basel (the 25-plus minutes of “Epidemics”). Meirino furnished the players with a few visual clues and/or a set of concise instructions, as to have them completely focused on chains of events that might or might not produce disastrous repercussions on a brittle psyche. In a nutshell, if you’re inescapably addicted to an impression of “tonality”, better apply for a different job. The keyword here is “shifting”, not necessarily in the tectonic acceptation of the term.
In between analeptic blends of gliding counterpoints, off-balance patterns, not-exactly-elliptical orbits and resonances of merely speculative descent, the mind gets radically shut down as the receptive organs start a process of alignment with the new constituents of uncustomary strategies. The gestures are firm, the pitches mostly tending to explicit a congenital stability rather than trigger incertitude. Among other qualities Meirino is gifted with a unique capacity, that of generating ominous crescendos retaining a degree of encouraging luminosity inside a quasi-explosive potential. To further simplify the concept, think of a massive ship sailing troubled seas without a hint of swaying: all members of the crew entirely conscious of their role, sure about what to do at any moment, unfaltering even in conditions of genuine danger. This sturdiness is reflected in every minute of this addictive record, comparable in spirit to Reinhold Friedl’s Xenakis [A]live! yet informed by a totally distinctive compositional identity.