Only two songs strong, the second release from Colombia’s Un Silencio Blanco is very much a study in contrasts; or, if you prefer, a record of two halves. Both are worthy of your time, although it is the Caretaker-esque ambient billows and slowed down speech of “Los Otros” that will probably garner more attention.
It’s a track that builds slowly, a bell clanging away in the distance as harsh waves of metallic sound gradually ebb and flow, increasing in volume and intensity until it feels like the listener is underneath a flightpath and the planes are flying in just a little too low. The twist in the tale that, having built all this sound up, Juan – for he is Un Silencio Blanco – allows the noise to collapse upon itself, pause, and then start again; not so intense this time but utilising vari-speeded samples from the Jonestown Death Tape. This is a suitably haunting inclusion, and, I think, the third time I’ve heard it used on a record in the past month or so; I hope this is just a unhappy coincidence and it doesn’t become as ubiquitous as The Conet Project samples that crop up all over the show.
“Espera” is lighter in tone, with more recognisable instrumentation; it gradually evolves, beginning with cello, piano and a busy acoustic guitar before giving way to percussion. It’s a less intense piece, although it grips right up to the last note, and works well as a flip-side to “Los Otros”, offering a sense of release after the darkness of the first track. It is probably for the best that this record clocks in at around the quarter-hour mark; any longer and its impact might have been diluted. It is positive progress from Sobre El Suelo, his debut album which is only a couple of months old; Juan seems to have got the tendency towards post-rock crescendo and loud drums out of his system – in fact he did by the closing track “Coma” which is the blueprint for this single. One hopes he continues along the path suggested by Las Cosas Cansadas, but whatever happens next, this is an impressive release. (Jeremy Bye)