AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Francisco López – Dynamo (2023; Unexplained Sounds Group)

Despite his massive discography, this is my first exposure to the sound art of Francisco López. Composed for a multi-channel installation in the Spanish Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020, Dynamo is a dense and noisy work that manages to also be subtle and detailed.

Across its five tracks, all around 15 minutes, López deconstructs and reconstructs sound at the quantum level. Each piece begins with a quiet, electrostatic passage that builds into thick walls and patterns that have both repeating and non-repeating structures. These chaotic moments dominate the length of the album, with roiling loops and rhythmic elements that eventually (and suddenly) return to quietude.

But where Dynamo departs and sets itself apart from your standard harsh noise is in the components that make up these walls. Each seems like a curated sound from a field recording that has been processed to the point that its origin is completely obscured. The result is very roughly textured, full of static, drone, and incidental percussion.

Somehow, López’s work falls short of oppressive despite its overwhelming amount of detail. Instead, there are emergent patterns upon patterns, fractal-like in nature, that ebb and flow throughout. It is not an exaggeration to say that you can listen to Dynamo 100 times and still hear something new on the next playthrough. This is a truly awe-inspiring recording.