Please do not go into Radio Free Clear Light’s Joyful Noise Vol 1: Tamoanchan planning to listen to it. That’s not what you do. Rather, you let it pull you in and surround you with random washes and snippets of sound from countless sources that you’re meant to just be near, to be within and to look, aurally speaking, at what you’re being presented with. What you do with the influx of impressions is up to you, and mileage will vary greatly. RFCL head Juan Carlos Mendizabal calls the piece an updated sacrifice of sorts, taking the old–the cast-off bits and pieces captured in the found sounds and scavenged loops–and pairing them with the “living blood” of the improvisational moment in this sonic mass. What comes of it is something less modern primitive than urban primitive, a citified pulse jammed in synch with old belief and the timeless simplicity of the acoustic. Guitar melodies carved out in the almost ungraceful cadence of one lonely note at a time, a trumpet played with ragged, amateurish zeal, a wailing sax trying to find its key, all pushed across your scope of mental vision by a wayward tide of understated sound. Tamoanchan happens around you as you listen, with moments prodding you to a more vivid awareness. There are few tactile points of reference for you to latch onto, which all but forces you into a sort of floaty acceptance. So just put on the headphones, open your mind and join in the sacrifice. It’s wonderfully off-kilter, ripe with the energy of improv and very, oddly, deep. I’m not always sure what I’m listening to on Tamoanchan, but I know it’s doing a hell of a job keeping me interested.
Available from Black Note Music.