Federico Durand – A Traves Del Espejo (12k, 2016)


Durand’s latest output entitled Through The Mirror is more telling than meets the eye; caught in the faintness of his effortlessly organic instrumental tumblings and tape looped pleasantry is a younger man peering back through the glass, a reflection chronologically displaced and unreachable despite our yearnings. Through these Mediterranean twinklings we get a sense of a warm youth now since passed, and a faint whiff of guiltiness as we catch ourselves lost in these nostalgic passages that get further every day.

Some of these reminiscences find themselves satisfied in their perfect revisitation of memory, like the floaty and bobbing chimes of “El jardín encantado”, the enchanted garden, its airs and graces minimal and carefree, lost in the fresh and bright dew and crisp Winter light as it unwinds and folds over itself with impossible delicacy. Elsewhere it’s the sparkling minimalism of “Diorama” that develops in gauzy electronic bleeps and mechanistic twinkling tones as we peer back through time and see these fragile and faint gems of fact and memory come back to us unbidden and as clear and pristine as ever.

Much of the other pieces aren’t as fresh and unaffected by the turnings of time though, even if they remain beautiful and filled with longing. “Recuerdos en Super 8” (Memories on Super8) falls on the back of paternal responsibility and putting the kids to sleep in the kitschy guitar pickings and chatty conversations of “Hora de dormir”, and once they’re safely away we take ourselves back to our own childhood in the bleary and warbling passages of tinkling instrumentation on this dying medium, still warm with sentimentality even through its poor quality reproduction. But outside of the deliberate mulching there’s a distinct and jaded tape hiss in the remainder that gives them a tired and old character regardless of content; it’s especially notable in the soothing lullaby of “El grillo de nácar”, the melodies barely there as we fall into the welcome arms of sleep, the static rising up in our ears as a clock relentlessly ticks away more time.

But none are more valuable than my two favourite pieces: the deep tolls and chiming timpanies of “Teatro de sombras”, and the unbearably beautiful wist of “Linternas junto a la laguna”, lanterns beside the lake. The former dents the shimmering quaintness of the opener with darker and more sombre excitations, lost in the jangling of bells changing hands, whilst the latter, in its almost toy-box xylophonic loops, unfolds and jars and unsticks in the sweetest possible way, suspended in the hiss of memory as the shimmering reflections from the dark pool are relived once more but from inside the noise of our own head. It’s a reverie, a descent into the most worn part of our memory that loses us in perfect, reverbed oblivion mired in timelessness.

It’s quaint, it’s a bit kitsch, but it’s inarguable that Durand is a master at recreating the atmosphere of nostalgia in his organically analogue productions, these musical snippets that feel totally natural and spontaneously generated, almost as though we’re experiencing them ourselves off the top of our head. What will you find here when you look Through The Mirror?