The Air Texture series of releases seeks to highlight relatively new artists in electronic music, with a predilection towards those in the ambient field. For each double-disc package, two producers are asked to curate a CD of “the best“ of the current crop of musicians. For the newly-released Air Texture Volume II, the curators are producers loscil and Rafael Anton Irisarri.
For the first disc of the collection, loscil has chosen 10 artists, while Irisarri’s CD features 12. My first inclination was to treat the set as sort of a “competition” between the two. But after listening to each of the 22 tracks which comprise Air Texture II, I realized that this was not the point. I would not be surprised if many of the musicians were approached by both producers. Since the nature of the set is to expose as many artists as possible though, there are no duplicates.
With 22 songs to choose from, I decided to check out the tracks included from the curators themselves first. “Else” is the title of the piece from loscil. As mentioned, there is a tendency towards music of an ambient nature that runs throughout the collection, and “Else” is no exception. But loscil seems to have an interest in the electroacoustic field as well. “Else” begins with a series of quiet tones, which slowly move into more abstract territories. The repetitive fades initially threw me, I thought my disc player was skipping at first. Then I noticed that the melody underneath was slowly shifting at the same time, and that the effects were an integral part of the composition. The piece brought to mind some of the music of the Audiobulb label, especially that of Autistici.
Rafael Anton Irisarri’s contribution is titled “Black Days Follow Me Around.” There is a pronounced difference in Irisarri’s music to that of loscil. His “Black Days Follow Me Around” is a beautifully melancholic tune, with the most traditional instrumentation of any of the 22 songs on the collection. I am assuming that Rafael is the pianist featured on the track, and the playing is very much in the “minimalism” vein of Terry Riley or Philip Glass. The cello accompaniment adds a brilliant touch of elegance as well.