Francisco Meirino                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Anthems For Unsuccessful Winners


Cd, Groundfault Recordings, Catalog #: GF034, Series: II

Total Time: 42'00 », Release Date: June 5, 2005

01 : attempt #4

02 : collapse

03 : attempt #2

04 : music for french writings

05 : attempt #1

06 : psychotest, last attempt

07 : attempt #3

08 : the litigation

09 : pulse and impulse

"Collapse" is the result of two years of work, based on electronic manipulations of contact microphones and field recordings made in Spain (1998), Japan (2001) and Switzerland (2000-2004). With this work, Francisco Meirino explores the tension between emptiness (the attempts #1 to #4) and fullness (the noise parts). This work constantly swings from silence to noise, from peace to chaos. It shows that music is an energy that can open the soul to the beauty that is beyond music at the edge of sound. The collapse of your expectations and reactions to music leads to noise .

The first 50 copies of "Collapse" came with a bonus 3" CDr containing a collaboration between Charles-Henri Huser and Francisco Meirino entitled "Play". It is an amazing work of musique concrete. Fully paid pre-order are being taken now. No copies will be reserved without payment.



Noise. How do you possibly make qualitative judgments about noises? How do you say,“This noise is lovely, this one boring. This one profound, this one shallow.” It seems to be a fool’s errand, certainly when you’re dealing with the actual, first-hand noise experience. Does it change when a given noise is“lifted” out of multi-dimensional reality and transferred to disc? Damn it, it appears to. Unlike your basic melody, which you might find banal whether encountered in a concert hall or on your stereo, there’s a discriminatory filter that manifests when you know you’re listening to something that, for better or worse, is being presented as an art form. It’s difficult to imagine, for myself anyway, bumping into any sort of naturally or artificially occurring noise in an everyday environment (leaving aside, for the sake of argument, the physically painful, though even there…) that I could possibly“dislike” or find boring any more than I could see a color that, apart from its context, could be deemed ugly. It’s a sound, no more, no less, with no value judgments attached. Chances are, if listened to closely, a“simple” sound is more complex and chaotic than initially perceived just as a white wall is never white. Delivered into a recorded medium, something is, one presumes, inevitably lost but not only that. The listener senses intent behind the action of inclusion and that, I think, is what tinges one’s reaction to the music, the“whys” of its having been introduced more than the sound itself. Unfortunate? Maybe. Inevitable? I’m afraid so.

The thing is, phroq’s (aka Francisco Meirino) album doesn’t really sit as well with these concerns as I initially thought. On first blush, “Collapse” seemed to be a selection of tracks that fluctuated between muted, rumbling pieces that sounded carefully considered and explosions of sheer, mono-dimensional noise of the type designed more for inner-brain laceration than contemplation. But closer listenings revealed not only a rich level of detail in the quieter works (one that I suspected was there from the first) but also more complexity and nuance in the shrieking, roaring ones. If the latter, ultimately, are still not found as rewarding, they’re also not nearly as brittle or willfully arch and self-conscious as originally heard (viz, some prior releases from Ground Fault that I’ve written up here)

There are four “attempts” among the pieces, numbered 4, 2, 1 and 3. They’re short, quieter works, closely examining narrow areas of sound: crinkly textures in the first, soft rumbles in the second, faint whistles with a bit of background clatter in the third and human breath sounds in the last. Each is thoughtful and considered, manifesting an individual and real presence and each is entirely satisfying. The title cut begins with a several second onslaught that will have you leaping for your volume control lest your speakers combust but quickly subsides into some enticing, static-laced subsonics that, if you’re listening on headphones, are like someone idly tapping their fingers on your eardrum. It gradually mutates back near the level of the first few moments and, though you can pick out a number of elements within the maelstrom, there’s something lacking to these ears, some thinness that I don’t pick up, for instance, in some of the more successful, high-volume work of Francisco Lopez. Maybe it’s the difference between feeling like you’re really inside a jet engine or merely in a computer simulation of same. “Music for French Writing” begins somewhat similarly, all squiggly squeals and corroded bleats, complete with some loopy sine work. But when, a minute or two in, it settles into its gravelly roar, there’s a naturalness, almost a groove (!) that’s very appealing. The “whys” of this one working more successfully, sounding more of a piece, are difficult to delineate, but it’s arc seems right, it’s length appropriate, nothing more being said than what’s necessary. But the standout track is “Psychotest, last attempt”. Beginning with ultra-delicate pings right out of Xenakis’ “Concret PH”, it unfolds into a soundscape evoking calving glaciers, enormous engines heard from the next valley, scattering fauna (I gather sourced from field recordings) before ebbing back into those tiny prickles. Beautiful piece, reminding me of some of the better Tsunoda work I’ve heard. The final two cuts veer somewhat between the profundity of that piece and more flamboyant, wildly thrown out aesthesia, a little more hit and miss, a bit more of a grab bag, the last humorously employing something that almost resembles a walking bass line buried somewhere beneath a mountain of noise.

Some real good stuff here on “Collapse” as well as some work that walks an interesting, risky line. If phroq strays and falls off into unnecessary excess on occasion, it might be unfortunate, but it’s tough to hold against him too long, given the several high points attained. (Brian Olewnick)

Vital Weekly

Following his two recent CDR releases on Solipsism and Carbon Records (see Vital Weekly 477), here is a new CD on Ground Fault Recordings. Phroq is Francisco Meirino, who lives in Switzerland. On 'Collapse' he plays around with electronic manipulations of contact microphones and field recordings made in Spain, Japan and Switzerland. Just like on his previous releases, 'Collapse' is a very dynamic affair, ranging from quite soft to intensely loud, as loud as some of the Merzbow material. But it's this balance between the loud and soft parts that makes this into a pretty varied CD, balancing well on both. Although the CD lists nine different tracks, I strongly would recommend listening to this in one go and not as nine separate tracks. It works much better when seen as one longer work. Intense when loud, lulling to sleep when soft, and Phroq can go either way. 



I purchased this CD as soon as it arrived on the Ground Fault catalog last year, but haven't listened to it nearly enough... This is a hard-to-categorize album, in that it is certainly not a harsh noise release in the tradition of anything Japanese. Francisco Meirino, the sound sculptor behind this calculatingly violent recording, composes meticulous layers of ear-piercing feedback at different levels of volume, with short bursts of rolling static, grinding sounds, and a cruel sense of harmonic dissonance. The buildup of fluctuating feedback tones is almost too much to take...even for me. I had trouble listening to the album much after its purchase last year, and I can't really say why other than it was just too painful. The title track has so many movements over the course of its 11 minutes that I'd consider this, in parts, an avant-garde composition rather than a popular noise release. But track 4, "Music for French Writings" marks a return to roiling harsh noise, albeit a complex digitally-recorded incarnation. "Psychotest, Last Attempt" is my favorite on the release, with its glitchy, minimal textures, rolling seafoam, and insect- and bird-like expressions. Overall, a solid, endlessly varying release. It's my first Phroq acquisition, and it has really grabbed my ear with its clear sense of vision. Those who believe harsh noise shouldn't interact with computers need to hear this thing. The most blistering tracks, "Pulse and Impulse," "Music for French Writings," and "The Litigation," are as chaotic and violent as you could ask for. And there's a lot of quiet time, too...

Le Temps

Des stridences miniatures, des orages saturés, des nappes soyeuses parasitées par de brusques accès de distortion. Difficile de décrire plus en avant le travail sonore de Francisco Meirino, alias Phroq. Depuis plus de dix ans, ce Lausannois explore les diverses déclinaisons du bruit électronique et de l'enregistrement de terrain, publiant ses disques à un rythme soutenu sur différents labels internationaux. Suite climatique et nuancée, Collapse agence d'envoûtants plans sonores tendus entre les deux extréminités de l'échelle des nuisances.

(Nicolas Julliard)

Asymmetry Music Magazine

The sudden change from soft sounds to loud noise is shocking, as is the sudden change from loud noise to soft sounds. You get some of each (some, not a lot) in Collapse, which may be more a description of what happens to the listener rather than of the album. In any event, each change encourages us to attend to detail, especially when going from loud to soft. Each little sound, each little nuance of layering, of harmony (simultaneous sounds), becomes, it seems, clearer, more sharply etched, when it follows a bit of loud, abrasive noise.“Collapse,”“Music for French Writing,” and“Litigation” are particularly tasty in this regard. (The clip is from Litigation.) Noise fans may think there’s not enough of it, but I assure you that what there is is scrumptious and satisfying (and loud). Having said that, I must say that I was most taken with the long, softer bits, and with the changes from one state to another. A most listenable disc, indeed.

This CD came out in 2005. Phroq ?.what the hell is a phroq, oh well what?s important is that Phroq makes some spaced out experimental bizarre as fuck noise. Collapse starts out with what sounds like a campfire but upon closer inspection, I don?t know what the hell is happening there. Keep in mind this is very quite , than about a minute in you get an extremely harsh blast of noise for a second maybe a second and a half.. Then back to a very low synth rumble, accompanied by random swells of feedback and static. Creepy yes?..a little, boring?FUCK NO!! keeps you on the edge of your seat. The rest of this disc follows this pattern of low volume feedback and harsh spazztic noise. Great noise!!!

(Ryan O?Neill)