REVIEW: Sebastián Pastén – Invierno

For all of its talk of wind and fire, Invierno is an album of cold, wintry, lo-fi soundscapes. Chile-based lofi musician Sebastián Pastén employs techniques of ambience and dissonance to create a sound that is both hallow and cold.

The opener sets the tone for the album: “My body was made of shit…I knew that a gust of wind was coming”
What follows is the story of that wind. The albums sound is dictated by compressed guitars, low crashing drums, vocodor filters.

In a way, it reminds me of a cross between the Texas Jerusalem Crossroads and the folk-sensible ambient music of another little known bandcamp name – Epiglottis. Its distorted, crashing, brooded backing covered by spoken word poetry – simple phrases of longing and loss (“Te necesité esta noche.”)

There are points on the album where the sound becomes repetitive, the bitcrushed guitars and whispery vocals begin to blend into each other, softer acoustic melodies are nearly always drowned out by a drone of white-noise distortion, for an album full of vulnerability, its sonic output is distinctively covered and blanketed.

One particular standout out moment on the album comes in the form of song no. 6, Resignación pt. II, who’s rolling guitar and drone interchange with each other in a way that would not be dissimilar to opening track “I. The Sun” on The Microphone’s seminal 2003 LP “Mount Eerie.”

Part of the album’s emotional appeal stems from the brevity of its tracks. In short, 2 to 3 minute bursts, you can expect to be bombarded by musical gusts of wind, tornadoes tear through these tracks and before you have time to take in the damage, the next devastation is here.

The unfortunate thing about this album is that its own length hurts it. Its final track, a 10 minute long epic, feels less like a resounding resolution of character and more like a boring retread of the themes presented in the rest of the album, it works as a thematic closer, tying in all of the previous sounds of the album is a sprawling post-rock piece but not so much as a sonic one, which re-uses many of the same tropes as the previous songs.

Despite its shortcomings, Invierno is an album of raw emotional anguish, sounding as if what would happen if Steve Albini produced for Phil Elverum. Its an album full of wind, and one that deserves to blow into the ears of many listeners.

8/10

Listen here: https://nakamura.bandcamp.com/album/invierno

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