Review: Rafael Anton Irisarri – Midnight Colours (Geographic North, Feb 27)

Yes, this album literally just came out today, but I’m so excited about it that I’m already writing a review. Midnight Colours is the newest tape by ambient/drone musician and composer Rafael Anton Irisarri, one of two officially announced for 2018 so far (Sirimiri will be released by Umor Rex on March 16). It elicited one of the most positive initial reactions of anything I’ve listened to so far this year, which was surprising considering I was not a fan of last year’s The Shameless Years. From the first seconds of leading track “The Clock” it is breathtakingly beautiful, as ethereal drones and warm vinyl-esque crackles pervade the lush soundscapes. Despite the consistent prettiness, Midnight Colours does not suffer from the mindless simplicity of “laptop ambient.” Instead, it is well constructed, detailed, and possesses a unique identity among music that is so often plagued by homogeneity; the same music, coincidentally, that is making 2018 a great year so far.