Boomkat Product Review:
Inspired by the work of theorist Augusto Novaro, a Mexican composer and instrument designer who was fascinated by xenharmonic scales, José Orozco Mora uses the 53 EDO tuning temperament with stark sine wave tones to make levitational sounds that remind us of Björk's 'Vespertine' or Shuttle358's 'Frame'. Utterly gorgeous material.
Sound designer and composer Mora focuses on alternate tunings and temperaments, drawn to the pioneering work of Novaro, one of the first artists, along with Harry Partch and Max Friedrich Meyer to fully explore the limits of non-standard equal temperament. Mora used Novaro's 53 EDO scale for 'Sucesiones', splitting the octave into 53 equal divisions, allowing more expressive notation than can be reached with the 12-tone Western standard. The four long tracks on the album are Mora's "introduction and familiarisation" to the tuning, keeping things relatively uncomplicated, using simple textures like sine waves to broadcast odd pitches without distraction.
Opening track 'Sucesión I' is the most straightforward of the bunch, slowly moving from soft, synthesised sounds into queerer pitches that wail, whine and fluctuate gently. If you're not paying attention, it can sound standard; Mora is careful to introduce his scale slowly enough for the brain to acclimate by the time the most dramatic compositional elements take shape. 'Sucesión III' is so gloriously blunted, all lullaby-like dry electronics without reverb, it's not immediately obvious what you're hearing. The notes resonate off each other so beautifully they almost sound like gamelan instruments or electronic gongs - it sounds familiar and alien at once, with a tranquillising quality that's not easy to absorb in a single sitting.
'Sucesión II' is easier to unravel; Mora layers organ-like tones on top of each other, playing an unusual sequence that makes the intervals more perceptible. Like its predecessor, it's absurdly soothing, a blend of unusual harmonics that calms you into near hypnosis. Each track is a statement of intent from Mora, and his material feels less stuffy than many of the xenharmonic releases from Stockholm. It'ss unashamedly pretty gear that pokes at the importance of different scaling outside of academic experimental work; the sounds have more in common with sublime devotional music. Listen and fade away into the aether.