Monday, September 10, 2007

Murcof "Cosmos" (2007)

Fernando Corona’s long-awaited third album as Murcof marks a dramatic departure from previous works. Truly monumental in scale, Cosmos is composed almost entirely of recordings of classical instruments, a process which Corona describes as “expanding the possibilities of acoustic instruments through electronics.” It’s a move away from the micro-programmed sound he helped to pioneer, and his seamless integration of these apparently opposed forms is almost unprecedented.

These new recordings were inspired by a very simple motion, the act of tilting the head towards the skies, or as Corona puts it: “Cosmos basically comes from that state of wonder and mystery and joy and humbling that you get when you let your mind wander freely on a starry night, away from the contamination of city lights. From the realization that there's an infinite universe outside the man-made world and how silly this latter one seems in comparison.”

Originally intended as an EP, the early Cosmos tracks were so mesmerizing that those around Corona encouraged him to make it a full-length. His past approach involved mixing disembodied orchestral passages amidst microbeats, letting a song shift and mutate in a minimal environment. With Cosmos, he has progressed towards a more sophisticated compositional mode. The immensity of tracks like the monolithic twins ‘Cosmos I’ and ‘Cosmos II’ draw to mind the work of the German electronic pioneers of the ‘70s or the Hungarian composer György Ligeti as much as the visceral, low-end rumblings of SunnO))) or Coil. Murcof’s compositions have always been as much about the absence of sound as what you actually hear, and these techniques are further refined here.

Corona’s previous record, Remembranza, was a tremendously personal work, dedicated to his mother, who tragically passed away in 2005. The pieces were requiems, mournful and evocative, and carried the solemn strains of deeply valued memories.

In the period since the release of that album, Corona has collaborated with pianist Francesco Tristano (at this year’s Sónar festival, and on Tristano’s latest album), Erik Truffaz and Talvin Singh (at the 2006 Montreux Jazz Festival), and video artist Saul Saguatti at the Geode IMAX in Paris. Corona has now scored three feature films, including the forthcoming La Sangre Iluminada (Enlightened Blood), with further soundtrack work in the pipeline. Murcof’s music has been used in countless film, TV and even dance productions worldwide (some of the short films that have used his music can be found at his YouTube page), and he scooped a Qwartz Music Award in 2006.

Now resident in Barcelona having relocated from his native Tijuana, Mexico, Corona is set to appear live in Europe more frequently around the release of Cosmos, with a European tour of planetariums currently being scheduled.

“This album took me one and a half years to finish,” the quietly-spoken Corona says. “I like to leave the tracks there to stand the test of time before I put them out, and I generally don't like rushed jobs.” Corona’s care and precision is very evident on Cosmos, a brilliant, powerful recording that charts his musical destinations completely off the map.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home