A Fragile Geography
Rafael Anton Irisarri's A Fragile Geography is a record cast in a climate of unsteadiness and transition, reflecting upon the current state of everyday living. Recorded over 2014 and '15, the record bears the marks of difficult terrain -- personal, political, social, and cultural. It tips its hat to the complex and unpredictable dynamics of the contemporary world, correlating concerns both macro and micro. Compositionally, the music mirrors the tensions of contemporary America, contrasting passages of great beauty and calm with harrowing waves of density and pressure. A Fragile Geography also charts Rafael Anton Irisarri's personal journey of transience and tumult. His entire studio, audio archives, and possessions were stolen while moving from Seattle to New York, forcing him to rebuild from ground zero. But such a tabula rasa moment also brought with it a chance for renewal, and for reductive experimentation. This experience birthed a range of fresh approaches and ideas, many of which became central to the aesthetic pillars of this record. "Empire Systems," the album's centerpiece, perfectly encapsulates this mood of flux; a rich and harmonically saturated monolith of sound, restless, and constantly reaching outward. Like much of the album, it is considered, but not excessively labored; open, but never unruly. A Fragile Geography is an exercise in the art of maximal minimalism.