A mix of ominous electronics and darkly ethereal voices open the curtain on Susan López’s latest, The Edge of the Circle. Her arrangements move with precision, laser-focused. The sound design is captivating, and these pieces are produced in a way where every detail is honed to a point and can be heard or dissected. The Edge of the Circle is a sledgehammer with enough gravity to create its own black hole. Inhabited by fading ghosts, voices that once boomed through great halls and across distant seas are being forgotten in the annals of history. This music is massive.
Expansive tones singe the backs of reincarnated phoenixes on “Swarm of Drones,” capturing fire and leavening its destructive power. Buzzing electronics recollect how the cycle of self-obliteration persists and how that shapes the world. A howling warning rings within these confines, protecting this inner core from the outside hellfire. Trapped, the spirits search for new ways to be heard.
“Valhalla” answers that call, reverberating through charred cosmic excavations with an illuminating salve. López sculpts her voice into distant, radiant forms. Decay turns into effervescence; new forms rise from the blackened soil. No longer quiet and restrained, high-frequency drones burst into the dawn, covering the sonic divide with celestial timbres and fractal resonance. Carried by an emotional tether, the piece longs to be set free.
López packs so much density in her compositions, giving them a suffocating draw. In the closing moments of the aqueous “Concentric,” the insular backbone of The Edge of the Circle finally draws us close to its heart. Emotive, textural passages evolve into a blinding cocoon where everything outside is obscured, forgotten. Limits disappear. Time’s constructs evaporate because this music stretches past forever in this hypnotic space. Synths and field recordings collide in warm plumes of aural bliss. Filling the inner walls of an acoustic sphere, sounds and memories bleed into one another, a reverberating infinity past the point of consciousness.