Review: Daniel Iván Bruno – Brazo (TVL, Mar 5)

A harmonica. That is where all of the sound used to create the punishing, artificial majesty of Brazo was originally sourced; yes, those little hollow, rectangular blocks of metal and imitation wood you used to get for Christmas as a kid and forget about weeks later or that some prop up with those ingenious neck-holder devices. The actual music that Daniel Iván Bruno summons via a gauntlet of adaptive digital processing bears negligible resemblance to the familiar warm, metallic rasp of that classic instrument; instead, it’s loud, abrasive, mechanical, antiseptic. Profoundly detached and dissected bits of broken notes become bullets in an endless, rapid-feed machine gun belt, sending microscopic bits of eviscerating noise into the fluid space of Bruno’s own sculpting and manipulations. Opener “MDA” rattles all the little screws securing your eardrums right out of their holes with its relentless, piercing, stuttering onslaught, while “Marzo” plays with the kind of awe-inspiring electronic spatiality that make expert system-spanners like Hecker and Ikue Mori so compelling. But even though Brazo is computer music through and through, much of its enthralling roil engages the ears with the same slipshod agility and restless twiddling as the best tabletop harsh noise, which gives these crystal-clear eruptions of causticity an irresistible scruffiness.