I deliberately waited months before writing about Crónica De Un Secuestro. Too many artists utilized the protracted lockdown periods to provide more documentation than we needed; part self-therapy, part economic necessity. Quite often the results weren’t overly enthralling, but most everything was somehow accepted under the “stay productive despite adversity” umbrella. Eventually, Covid-related creativity became the justification of out-and-out trends, and the favorite topic of innumerable critics; so much for delivering us from the bad vibes. However, Murcia’s Susana López has been tampering with loops and drones for years now – not for nothing her moniker is Susan Drone – so she is free from suspicion. These compositions, although heavily impacted by the terrible events of 2020, have their own reason to exist outside of that context.
What, then, does this music convey? An insistently recurring thought, the oppressive intensity of something inevitable that must happen, the anguish connected to the inescapability of that obligation. The need to fill the head with any sound – even noise – in order not to think. The search for anaesthetizing frequencies, the juxtaposition of materials whose cycle of reiteration can be compatible with the state of mind. The management of inherent pulse as a means of maintaining the right balance between residual rationality and migration through states of non-being, albeit still rooted in concreteness. Beneath the organic and electronic substances exploited by López, the sporadic mirage of a “chorus of souls” yearning for less harsh realities. Then, masses of virtual insects feasting on the corpse of that illusion. Imagination attempting a desperate recovery, hypothesizing spaces where oxygen is not so rarefied. The ever-depressing return to a routine of “communication” as a pathetic exercise of the ego, physical acts indispensable for improving our health turning into mere mechanical repetition.
To be particularly admired is López’s skill in morphing the substantiality of field recordings into a vibrant core contracting and expanding according to the scene presented. The struggle for breathing “inside” the seclusion is at times genuinely heartrending; just listen to “Huldra” to see what we mean. One pictures a small universe of withered hopes to which the artist bravely tries to give back sufficient water, at least until the next chimera. The oneirically distressing “The Last Wave” presupposes a process of slow transformation in view of the “after”. Body and spirit get prepared for the absorption of what’s required for an evolutionary transition, regardless of what the stupid cruelty of certain human beings determines for those unable to defend themselves. López is aware of the ugliness, which she fights armed with a shield of resonances. And she also allows others to use it.