Gaston Arevalo, Habitat

Listening to Gaston Arevalo’s work is like wandering through someone else’s hazy recollections. You see the sights, you feel like you recognize what’s going on around you, but it’s all coming at you filtered through a gauzy wall of fog, the stuff that makes up the space between worlds. Arevalo’s propensity for soft focus in his music results in work that can have lively aspects tucked into it, yet always feels patiently laid-back. Habitat offers up eight such guided tours through the composer’s thoughts; they make for a superb wind-down listening experience that amps up exponentially when given close attention. Arevalo’s landscapes run deep and thick with detail. Floating backdrops of microsound and manipulated nature sounds are punctuated with the touch of acoustic instruments–guitar and piano–that stand out all the more for their comparatively concrete nature. (This is at its best on the mind-melting quiet of “Estuario.”) Rhythmic elements slide into place in spots without disturbing the flow. Even when Arevalo gets a little more aggressive with his sound, as he does in the sandpapery textures of “Agreste” or the glitch-strewn, chopped pulse of “Velero,” it’s balanced off with that overarching mistiness of sound and everything stays calm. Habitat is a relase you need to just dive into and let yourself coast downstream. It’s a short ride, gliding past in under 40 minutes but offering stunning musical vistas the whole way.

Available from FuseLab/Passage.

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