RMSonce: Reflections

Under the stage name RMSonce, Francesc Marti brings a background in classical music, computer music, and programming to Reflections, the Barcelona-born pianist and electroacoustic composer's third album of industrial-electronic mood-pieces. The opening tracks, “Schrödinger's Cat” and “Nocturne at Rothko Room,” hum and buzz with the rhythms of grinding machinery, while “Nádenka” offers a controlled noise blast of shuddering strings and glitchy noise. But though the three are decent enough examples of their genre type, they don't do too much to distinguish RMSonce's music from that of his fellow practitioners. Some of the material that follows, however, does do so: the modulating melody that stutters through the noise clouds of “Sky, Stars and a Woman with a Battery” lends the track a melancholy spirit that's eventually buried by a distorted, knife-edged slab of drum clatter, and “Lullaby in a Night of Radioactive Fallout” presents a gentle noise exercise that finds Marti cloaking serenading chords in layers of hiss and noise. It's the final (and longest) pieces, however, that stand out most of all: the title track (co-composed by Marti and Juanjo Alba), which uses string samples to generate epic slabs that Marti assembles like granite blocks into a towering structure, and “Jazz, Drugs and Some Distortions,” a sonic grenade of entirely different character whose spine-crippling breakbeats, shredded female singing, and blustery sax playing would make Amon Tobin envious. As should be clear by now, Reflections is that rare recording that gets progressively better as it moves from beginning to end. Not a landmark recording by any stretch, it's still a memorable outing with a number of distinctive tracks to argue strongly on its behalf.

August 2009