The Sight Below: Glider (Deluxe Edition) (Ghostly International)
Rafael Anton Irisarri originally released this album as The Sight Below in 2008, and it’s now re-released by Ghostly bundled with the three tracks that appeared on the project’s debut EP “No Place For Us” and remixes by Eluvium and Simon Scott. This is my first impression of the album, having only previously heard his follow-up, It All Falls Apart. The most notable distinction is Glider’s persistent undertow, channeling the pulse of Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas project with a muted rhythm section (usually just a muffled kick and hihat combo). Much of Glider can be considered a variation on a theme, despite being discrete tracks. Irisarri plays these tracks in real-time as a single take, using guitar and ebow to create sweeping atmospheres, many times over a repetitive 4/4 bass kick. Over the span of the project’s life thus far you can hear Irisarri modifying and fine-tuning as he goes, with the bass kick being most prominent on the EP’s title track. (By the time he worked on It All Falls Apart, the drum tracks had nearly completely fallen away.) At times the sound is punchier, with the kick poking above the surface; “Life’s Fading Light” is probably the most obviously active track of the lot. But the submersion of that pulse deeper below the surface to varying degrees is what keeps it interesting, since Irisarri’s palette is fairly limited otherwise. This is not a criticism, though — it’s a very strong collection of tracks, serving the cross-section of minimal techno, guitar improvisations and drones well. Very nice stuff, perhaps best experienced as a double feature alongside It All Falls Apart.