There’s a pull between darkness and light on Transfigurations. Beneath the deft picking of the Spanish multi-instrumentalist, there’s tension that’s flooded with elements of noise and psychedelia expanding upon the traditions of raga and folk that inform the album. From the buzzing fluorescent crackle of the opener to the diseased air that surrounds the last strains of “‘Oumuamua,” this offering from Xisco Rojo quivers with moments that are both gorgeous and gruesome. It’s a stark reflection on the uncertainty of modern life — an embrace of joy where it persists and a rumination on the darkness when it threatens to consume.
Moments when the light wins out, Transfigurations can warm the soul. “11 Out of 10” ripples with ease, a spare but sunny number that embraces the charms of guitar at its purest. Elsewhere, “Maia” presents a more complex and clattering dance, an explosion of strings and percussive pounds that include recordings of the artists’ own daughter’s heartbeat. The song is joyous and overwhelming in its celebration — a festival with so much to focus on its best to just back up and try to soak in the small sentiments. But, like all things, the celebrations come pinned between some pain. Even a track with the handle “A Different Kind of Peace” is soaked in solemnity, lamenting the titular sentiment’s compromises. The record begs repeated listens, taking proper measure in parsing the the divisions of calm and corrosion and the tenuous connections between.
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