Murcof - Cosmos
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I remembered listening to tracks from Cosmos as far back as last year on Fernando Corona's website. That work seemed a bit different than his other music to date, and at the time it was going to be released as an EP of some sort. Time passed, though, and Corona (aka Murcof) expanded upon the pieces he had created, eventually coming up with enough work for a new full-length album. Those newer pieces continued in this more expansive vein, and although there are still hints of his earlier micro-sound movements in this massive six-song release, Cosmos truly finds him moving someplace new entirely.

There are a lot of comparisons that one could draw when listening to this newest release from Murcof. Everything from the massive orchestral and electronic compositions of Johann Johannsson to the classical stylings of György Ligeti and even the deep slabs of ambience by Stars Of The Lid. The micro-programmed beats are still there in places, but they've been toned back and refined to fit within the slightly different sound. "Cuerpo Celeste" opens the release, and makes it pretty apparent that things aren't going to be the same. Unfolding over nine minutes, it sets some quiet string pulses over deep-space drones and a couple dots of chimes. As it progresses, the string flourishes build over the expansive space, eventually expanding with melodic swells that incorporate organ, low-bass rumbles, timpani crashes and ghostly choruses.

Tracks like "Cielo" and "Cometa" are a lot closer to work on Remembraza and Utopia, but both of them grown with a sort of slow-burning intensity that wasn't quite as apparent on past efforts. The latter is particularly effective, with crackling waves of feedback that slither through the string and piano touched track, always keeping it on edge as it unfurls with gorgeous melodic swells. The two-part album-titled tracks are where the album really separates itself, though. "Cosmos I" opens with just a flickering of deep space radio wave chatter, but by halfway through has turned into a monolith of a song, blending filtered strings, organ, vocals, and other elements into something almost doom-worthy. "Cosmos II" uses many of the same building blocks, and without being a complete reprise manages to keep the crushing mood going.

It should come as a relief, then, that album closer "Oort" is probably the more sparse pieces on the album, running almost thirteen minutes while shifting through several mini-suites, with a couple dying string moans that give the sound of a last-gasp attempt at contact with human life. Among his best work to date, Cosmos finds Corona expanding his boundaries even more and in the process creating something more timeless. As with all his releases, it's absolutely immaculately produced, and with upcoming colder temperatures, I imagine it will be in even more heavy rotation.

rating: 810
Aaron Coleman 2007-09-27 21:12:04