Federico Durand ~ A Través del Espejo

A traves del espejoLoops and lullabies cover the mattress of Federico Durand‘s A Través del Espejo (Through the Mirror).  The title refers to mirrors that face one another, creating endless reflections; the music provides an aural version of this effect.  If one were unaware of their genesis, one might mistake these loops for wind chimes, which repeat without seeming repetitive.  In fact, they include toys, bells, tape loops and found objects, which offer the soothing predictability of a baby’s plastic mobile while weaving a tapestry that is far more complex.

The early tracks follow this template, and for a while it seems as if Durand is content to let the loops turn and interact, creating unexpected harmonies.  The most memorable include the start-and-stop of “Linternas junto a la laguna (Lanterns beside the lake)” and the twinkling “Diorama”.  Warm and soothing, these tracks operate as sonic nightlights, offering safety and reassurance.  But just as one is getting used to the album’s tone, it changes.

The irony of the track listing is that the album works as a sleep aid until it reaches the track titled “Hora de dormir (Time to sleep)”.  But that’s okay, as this is also the set’s most endearing piece.  A mother says goodnight to her happy child, while someone in the background imitates a wolf.  When they start to sing, chamingly off-key, Daddy joins along (if only for a note).  The intimacy of this track is its strength; it’s a window into the artist’s home, an invitation to share a private joy.  If this doesn’t win one over, nothing will.  From this point on, the loops and lullabies return, carrying the listener down the river of Lethe and through the cave of Hypnos.  Goodnight, sleep tight, everything will be all right.  (Richard Allen)

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