The Sight Below: Murmur
Ghostly International

Rafael Anton Irisarri returns with a follow-up EP to Glider, his 2008 debut full-length under the moniker The Sight Below. In the two new tracks, the Seattle-based producer doesn't depart radically from the approach heard on the album, though he does up the ante somewhat with respect to texture and pitch (epic, that is), while remixers Eluvium and Simon Scott prove to be kindred spirits—not that one would have expected otherwise, given their respective output.

Running E-bowed, slide, and picked guitars through an assortment of gear (looping devices, 12-bit reverb boxes, delay units), Irisarri records all of The Sight Below's songs live, and the two originals certainly sound like it, with each exuding the kind of raw immediacy and impact one associates with live performance. Powered by a steamrolling pulse and smothered in crackling washes, “Murmur” is quintessential The Sight Below. For nearly seven minutes, a heavenly mass of gaseous guitar-generated textures fills every available crevice while a thudding dance groove of kick drums and hi-hats boldly asserts itself underneath. Immense waves splash against a less frenetic rhythm attack in the second original, “Wishing Me Asleep,” where a jauntier swing allows a more restful and reflective ambiance to seep into the wide-screen mix. In a remix treatment of “No Place for Us” that stays true to the towering spirit of The Sight Below, Eluvium (Matthew Cooper) buries a faint central theme and a flickering rhythm track under a vaporous storm that grows ever more consuming with each passing minute, while Simon Scott (the ex-Slowdive member and Irisarri have been collaborating extensively in recent months) banishes the beat components altogether from his makeover of Glider's opening track “At First Touch,” leaving in its wake a frozen tundra of creaking noises, spectral whispers, and rumble.

December 2009