(A Question Of Re_entry)
Taping environmental sounds and releasing them is one thing; using those recordings in the context of a proper composition – or, as it happens here, in a live performance (Berlin, 2007) – is another matter altogether. This usually distinguishes the ones who jumped on the field recording bandwagon only to see their name on a publication from serious men like Jeff Gburek. The composer closes his insightful presentation of the work with this sentence: “There is God in Godless. But there is also more in less”. He proceeds to demonstrate the axiom with an intriguing bastard piece that uses both electronics – at times pretty evil-tempered, check the piercing tones and the vicious distortions taking command from around minute 17 – and sources captured by Gburek in a large variety of places (Berlin, Paris, San Francisco, New York, Java, Morocco, Kenya, Egypt and Iraq). Halfway through the fascination of Francisco Lopez’s absorbing solitudes amidst the natural elements and the semi-desperation deriving from the view of a desolate suburban landscape, “Virtuous circles” subtracts rather than adding, revealing human presence (mostly Middle-Eastern voices, with a few beautiful faraway calls to prayer) in a finely textured laminate where events succeed without prior notice in fluid consecutiveness. We have heard similar things before, no question about it; still, Gburek applies the right lights and the perfect doses of noise to bring out details otherwise invisible and pollute silence just that tiny bit necessary to synthesize a state of precarious suspension which is all the more welcome, inviting me to an immediate replay when the record ends.