Martinez constructs sparse yet rich compositions out of varied
textures, drawing upon field recordings, acoustic instrumentation,
and electronic sounds. Nareah is his first release on the
Aagoo imprint, as well as the first album of his that I've
encountered, and it certainly leaves an impression.
The record starts
off auspiciously enough with two textural compositions -
industrial noise-drone on opener "Niza," and pretty, Fennesz-esque
digital crackle on "Lirbha." But it's the fifteen minute "Mitah"
that really kicks things off assuredly. Commencing with a brooding
piano melody, it gradually builds a tense, cinematic infrastructure
around horns, crashing percussion, and noise, only to slowly
transform and build into a dense, electric drone. The composition is
gradual, but it evokes intense imagery - I envisaged a sort of
menacing, Metropolis-esque cityscape.
Perhaps the most
powerful composition here is the droning "Dunhia," which layers post-rock
influenced electric guitar and bass over an electronic hum.
As on "Mitah," this musical orderliness eventually gives way to a
overwhelmingly growing wall of noise. Martinez seems especially
interested in destructing or at least dismantling those elements of
music that make it accessible - paradoxically leading the listener
to discover the beauty in noise. Nowhere is this more evident than on
"Riaiah," which gradually transforms an elegant, naturalistic drone
into mechanical abrasion. The message is that both realms of sound
can be musical, and that our inherent aversion to noise may prevent us from perceiving the beauty in certain avenues of
sound. In driving home this revelation, Nareah achieves what few experimental albums manage to.