Boomkat Product Review:
It doesn't get any easier writing about dark-ambient music, and certainly there are only so many adjectives you can usefully throw around the place to describe the music at hand. Often in this genre, what separates the good from the mediocre, and in turn the great from the good, tends to be something intangible that resides within the atmosphere a piece conjures, and (speaking from first-hand experience) trying to verbalise just what that is can often make you sound like a bit of a divvy. Having said all that, Rafael Anton Irisarri's music is rich in imagery, and like Wolfgang Voigt's corpus as Gas it seems to paint a synthesized portrait of a particular place and time without getting too directly involved in it, in the more documentary style of Chris Watson and the like. During The North Bend you'll hear sounds that draw you into natural landscapes, but also muffled micro-melodies and huge, immersive sonic vistas fashioned from gusty electronic plumage. The standard and scope of production places Irisarri within the upper crust of artists in his field, and as with his work as The Sight Below the well-rounded depth of his sound will keep you returning time and time again. From the anthemic, looped fanfare of 'Traces' to the intoxicating, balmy orchestrations of 'Blue Tomorrows', every corner of this album brims not only with artistry and accomplishment but also a stealthy emotive grandeur that holds your attention for long after the record has finished. So yes, it's a struggle to convey the sense of what this music is without getting a little bit wishy-washy or sentimental, but The North Bend is without doubt one of the more worthy albums of its kind and deserving of your full and immediate attention. Highly Recommended.