When I see that I have something new from Black Note Music, I get ready for an interesting sonic ride. This is the realm of Mr. JC Mendizabal, sometimes known as Kyron, sometimes wearing his Radio Free Clear Light outfit, and always packing a full-on arsenal of micro-sounds to juggle, customize and alchemize into a fresh set of stunning tunes. The backstory on Other Things That Happened involves three immortal beings creating life from their heartbeats and breath electronic pulses; the songs here, the story goes, are “12 vessels carrying the seeds of alien life into your nervous system.” And, let me point out, taking it over. I’ve used the term “infectious” before, but Other Things That Happened genuinely takes relentless hold from the first beat. Hit the smoky groove, trippy soundbite and four-note bass foundation of “Pipio” and see if you stand even a chance of resisting. What Mendizabal is offering up this time through is a pack of clear dub influences wrapped around and jammed through constructs made of pieces of sound and rendered moments. The bass that runs along the low end is thick and rumbly, the way I like it. His percussion of choice is dub’s best friend, the single sharp rap on the snare, sweetened with that light touch of echo. It’s everywhere, but I particularly like the way it cuts through the haze on “Flaminis.” Unidentifiable snippets of speech are a favorite tool of Mendizabal’s, and they’re here, too. The opening track, “Anhelavi,” is built around a clip like an uncertain utterance cut short; “Aurae” blends a quiet mumble and another utterance and grinds them against a snappy, grab-hold-of-youir-brain beat. On “Circumvolo,” he takes the tempo down, lays in some quiet atmospheric sounds/field recordings, gives it a bouncing beat and a very cool vibraphone-sounding melodic line. Track upon track Mendizabal finds new ways to use his sounds, but never relents on the deep grooves that absolutely energize the flow. To listen to Other Things That Happened is to come away feeling a little uplifted, but with your mind still trying to come to terms with the flood of simple sounds that make up this very good release. Mendizabal continues his streak of pleasing his listeners with intriguing and unique soundcrafting.
Available from Black Note Music.