Boomkat Product Review:
12th Isle are back with another blissed and ferric episode, this time from Madrid's Pablo Mirón and Juan Vacas aka Miradasvacas, who re-imagine "broken music" using turntables, old radios, pedals and reel to reel machines to disturb their dreamlike swirl of field recordings, piano, violin, harmonica loops and found sounds. RIYL William Basinski, Akira Rabelais, Leyland Kirby, Chase Bliss pedals.
Although 'Of No Fixed Abode' is their debut, Mirón and Vacas have been performing as Miradasvacas for a few years now, presenting radio shows on Madrid's Radio Relativa and releasing mixtapes and sound art. They're inspired by the concept of decay, and what the term "broken music" might mean post-Fluxus, approaching their output like collagists or turntablists, using abandoned technology to manipulate their archive of evocative instrumental samples.
The opening triptych 'I, II, III' is the duo's best proof-of-concept, and fully situates us in their languid sonic landscape; muted blues riffs echo under ferric pressure and ornate, plucked strings are reversed and resampled until they provide a nauseous backing track for Mirón and Vacas' fluttered fumbles. Strain yer ears, and there's more going on than you might notice at first: operatic voices, crowd sounds and strangulated instruments are hazed into traces. Then, in the third act, we're shown a crack of sunlight, when Miradasvacas crumble placid piano loops over swimmy birdsong.
The piano remains on 'IV', looped into a familiar baroque lilt alongside detuned strings and echoey, rusted scuffs. It's at this point the music most resembles Basinski's 'Disintegration Loops', but Mirón and Vacas seem more magnetised by cinematic whimsy, never leaving the loop to crumble away, tweaking it relentlessly instead. They dispense with the thematic grandeur entirely on 'VI', working with clock chimes and ticking mechanisms that pulse and click as confused, resonant drones threaten to swallow the rest of the sounds entirely. Before you realise it, the clicks have been replaced by guttural mouth sounds, and twanging strings have been contorted around the rings. These acts of musical subterfuge feel central to the Miradasvacas experience.
They dissolve synths to dust on 'VII', leaving peaky, insectoid drones that are, in time, carved up by occasional harmonica interventions and mangled voices. Quiet to the point of being illusory, the track morphs into a near-kosmische devotional, letting the ferric lead cough and sputter alongside toy organ improvisations and what sounds like meditational vocals. Good stuff.