The misty landscapes of Raul Refree

Records 09.05.2023

Refree is tentacular, polyhedral. Whether he is a producer or a composer (Niño de Elche, Rosálía, Lee Ranaldo, Sílvia Pérez Cruz) or a musician, he persists in materializing the sound universe that bubbles up in his head. As he says himself: "I only try to make the music that I imagine". To illustrate this will, as if he wanted to get rid of the producer for a moment, he presents in his last album, El espacio entre, a set of experimental and minimalist songs, where the sound is chewed up until exhaustion.

To enter in El espacio entre it is interesting to know where such an experience comes from. The album was born from two previous soundtracks: the first, in 2022, with Nuria Andorra, for the classic La aldea malditaby Florián Rey (a Spanish silent film made in 1930 ), and the second, for the film Un año, una noche by Isaki Lacuesta.
In fact, the whole membrane that envelops the fourteen songs of Refree's album, from beginning to end, exudes this dreamy atmosphere, this state of enchantment that remains under the eyelids when leaving a movie theater in a state of shock. There is, at the source of the album, a bit of that typical material of the most suggestive soundtracks where piano notes suspended in the void evoke the perfect prelude to the crime.

Refree does not seek to describe, nor to expand narratively. On the contrary. The musician from Barcelona is more interested in the fleetingness, the gap and the fragrance to become more expressive, richer and more vigorous.
We could say that Refree is more convinced by the perfume than by the flower, more by the kiss and the carmine trace than by the lips. In this work, it is a question of curling up in landscapes of mist and mud, of humidity and shadow, to find in a fragment of song, the sting of a fulgurating emotion.

There is in this album, in addition to the complexity, the vibration and the promiscuity, a whole wealth of textures, layers and fabrics. And yet, nowhere do we perceive arbitrariness or fantasy. Everything fits together, as if the sound matter were linked to the same coherence as the forests, always harmonious in their multiplicity.
For example, the record opens with "Lamentos de un rescate", a deconstruction inspired by Monteverdi's madrigals, a polyphony of voices, strings and distortion controlled with the precision of an artificer...

... to conclude with the fourteenth piece "Una nueva religión" and its expansive development, as if Refree were searching for a new horizon. From a lament to a hope, the cycle ends.

There are, however, other laments throughout this sonic journey. The fourth song "Lamentos de un día cualquiera" and the tenth "Lamentos de otro día cualquiera" insist on the decomposition and play of the madrigals of the famous Italian composer. Only in the third song, "Montañas vacías", do the stone of the forest, the metallic percussion, and the dry and sharp reverberation break through.

And so, crossing all the clearings of this humid nature, we will go from an exquisite minimalism to a federative experimentation, from a pagan mysticism to a very urban daily life; as urban as Refree's goatee and hairstyle.

After listening to El espacio entre you get the feeling that there is beauty in any corner of the world.

Txema Seglers


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