Cecilia Lopez & Joe Moffett “Caprichos”

Caprichos is the debut from the duo of Cecilia Lopez and Joe Moffett, though the two have worked together in various forms since 2018. Recorded in late summer 2020, Caprichos is a strange and inviting world torn down to a granular level. Lopez on synthesizer and electronics with Moffett playing acoustic and amplified trumpet create wild tonal shapes that stretch into angular landscapes.

Lopez has a unique approach to electronics. Her expressions come off as simultaneously spacious and microscopic, as if she’s honing in on these tiny details and blowing them up to exploit the space between molecules. This crackles through on pieces like “luz verde” and “falso glamour” where the sonic shards hum and chirp in succession, amorphous visions moving like blips on a radar screen. Moffett’s trumpet bleats under pressure, chipping away at the crevices and shoving bright, metallic tones into the dull concrete. 

There’s so much interesting overlap in the tonal palette of Caprichos and the ways that Lopez and Moffett complement each other. “hyperaccumulator” whirrs into view with a blather, the sharp drones from the synth and trumpet intertwining, difficult to separate at times. Jockeying for position as the piece barrels ahead, the intensity rises. I’m continually in awe of the sounds Moffett extracts from his trumpet, like the guttural squelch of the title track or the windswept blasts on “luz verde,” and especially struck with how he lines it up with Lopez’s electronic mayhem.

Caprichos is interesting and engaging for so many reasons. It’s unpredictable as the duo scour every last corner and every bit of detritus for interesting forms to contort. Tonally, the dissonance that emerges heightens the listening experience, opening channels to surprising destinations. Lopez and Moffett know this grind and know how to get the most out of it. Caprichos is one of hell of a trip.

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