Pepo Galán – For Victoria

The moment my daughter Grace was born, I was filled with a sense of my mother. It wasn’t that she was named for her, or that I’ve ever been a believer in reincarnation. Staring into her bright blue eyes and at her orange-brown hair for the first time, I felt as though a figure I’d been missing in my life had finally returned. A celtic girl, for lack of a more specific phrase. It was an instant bond that all parents know, except it felt like something more. The circle broken by my mother’s passing eighteen years earlier was repaired.

This new recording from Spanish DJ, composer and multi-instrumentalist Pepo Galán is “woven from the soul, for my daughter Victoria” according to its notes. It is a heartfelt tribute that is as beautifully scored as that sentence is written.

“Victoria” opens the album with white noise and a distant-sounding, intermittent drumbeat. Galán has always produced remarkably textured music that feels old and new simultaneously. The piece is an invitation to what follows. It is an introduction to Galán’s feelings for his daughter, in terms only he can express.

Victoria is given a voice via Sita Ostheimer’s contribution to “Autumn Youth,” the album’s second track. Her Julee Cruise-styled delivery is a perfect complement to Galán’s gently dense soundscape. Later, she reappears on “Abstract Dream With Haines.” It would be a shame if the two don’t produce more music together. Ostheimer raises Galán’s work to an entirely new emotional level. No small thing given how consistently beautiful his recordings have been.

Galán’s other partner on this project is Rafael Anton Irisarri, who mastered the album and who receives a credit on an instrumental called “February.”

The dedication to his daughter and the album’s thematic focus on x-rays lend the finished product a specificity not always present in Galán’s work. For that matter, it wouldn’t be a terrible thing if more electronic music came with more detailed backstories.

More from the album notes: “For Victoria is an X-ray in musical form – black notes are imprinted upon a white stave in the same way that white bones are pressed against a black background – checking out things on a deeper level, highlighting and revealing what was once invisible. On this record, the unseen turns visible, although it isn’t in an entirely obvious way.”

CD purchasers will find vintage x-ray slides, experimental radiography prints and, in what appears to be an emerging trend, a scent that accompanies the recording. Credit Daniel Crossley with the packaging design.

Kevin Press

The Moderns, vols. 1 and 2, by Kevin Press are available exclusively from Amazon.

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