Francisco Meirino                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Anthems For Unsuccessful Winners

FOCUS ON NOTHING ON FOCUS  with Kiko C. Esseiva 

LP, 180g. Ltd 300 copies, Aussenraum records, Switzerland, september 2013

THE FIRST 20 copies cames with a bonus cdr with 2 exclusive tracks by FM & KCE (sold out)

A unique work stemming from a studio collaboration between me and Kiko C. Esseiva. Using the same source material, we have each composed one side of the LP. Assembled in 2012 and 2013 from hours of multitrack recordings using reel-to-reel tape recorders, emf detecotrs, piezo transducers, analog synths and various homemade sound objects and electronics.

Mastered at Shiver Mobile by FM and KCE, cut by Flo Kaufmann, artwork by Francisco Meirino. 

R E V I E W S 

The Field Reporter

Whether it's relevant or not I don't know, but immediately before listening to Focus on Nothing on Focus by Francisco Meirino and Kiko C. Esseiva in order to make notes for the final review, I watched a documentary about Joy Division. The record is a 12″ vinyl black void with a black label which you might think is a precursor to the abyssal darkness contained within. In fact after Joy Division's bleak visions born of greyscale Manchester streets steeped in rain and the bedroom's so cold, you turn away on your side, it was a relief to enjoy some movement, vibration and a surprising selection of fleeting semi-colours.

four men on a bridge

Assembled in 2012 and 2013 from hours of multitrack recordings as a duo, each artist was given one side of the record to present his individual composition using the original material as the building blocks. As the first release on Andreas Unterkircher's Ausenraum label, the black and white cover picture of electrical equipment cut up and interrupted, repeated and sliced, slid out of place and readjusted, then partially contained within a perfect circle seems an apt metaphor for the processes etched into the grooves here.

she filled her time pushing the pram round Salford

There is an interesting YouTube video of Meirino and Esseiva playing together as a duo in an art gallery or something similar. They are set up against a side wall on a long table next to each other. Various people are seated in the white space, others walk in and out informally. Being able to see all this taking place, the physical approach of each artist is interesting and illuminating and offers some understanding into why each side of this LP sounds as it does.

tear us apart

Meirino stands bent over his black boxes of plugs and wires activating switches and summoning up raw electrical bleed and grime from the insides of these dark objects. He turns a torch on and off at intervals, and the completion and termination of the circuit is heard as a visceral thud. Essevia remains seated at his desk and, amongst other things, manipulates a tape recorder thoughtfully and subtly, reacting and operating within and against the bodily groundedness of the sputtering sound shrapnel exhibiting a concentrated intelligence and sense of purpose. Whether this performance formed part of the substrata from which this LP was carved I don't know, but it is certainly an informative document.

it's a picture of a tomb

For me all Meirino's music seems to exist in a landscape with enhanced perspective and a very remote vanishing point: In other words the sounds are stretched out from incredibly distant thuds occurring below the horizon to crackles and clicks right up against the eardrum, as if generated inside the speakers themselves independently of anything else.

growling like a dog

Meirino places us on a ship negotiating a sea of fluctuating plasma. Creaks and groans from the rigging and the swell of undulating static gives way to scuttling creature in the hold. Early on a filament of light, a laser emission like a bowed violin note repeats a few times as a vestige of the sun's benediction. Later, work of some secret nature takes place. Something rattles back and forth along rails as machines hum. Excited wings vibrate against the microphone and objects drop and roll across the hard floor. People talk, but the men's voices are rudely cut off and are no more. A crescendo of metal and tooled desolation builds from nothing to form a rattling, prison riot cacophony then… suddenly we are in some dead pond where the water (or some other analogous fluid) carries sounds from afar. Unknown denizens of this inky pool signal to each other ever more frantically, again a crescendo… Nothing… Nothing… Nothing… Run-off groove…

Ian's dead

Esseiva is an artist I have never heard before. Seemingly his compositional hand is more controlled than Meirino's and the work focuses more closely on fewer competing strands. This approach yields a completely different experience, yet obviously both sides of the disc are united by their common provenance. Differences aside each promise is fulfilled in its singular entirety.

I came off the phone and went back to the table

Kiko C. Esseiva pledges breath and motors and grinding gears. A ribbon of steady sound unfolds and fades just once. This is a workshop in which the instruments that make this music are being built, and the very building of them is the music itself, and after they have finished playing, the dismantling of them is also the music itself. Sheets of steel and other substances are beaten in frantic rapidity. Tiny hammers pound. Insectoid nano-mosquitoes plague the workspace. Cut. Fibrillating electricity. Cut. A buffeted wire fence with mechanical animoids squeaking and chirruping in iron filing nests. Steel wool ruffles and frazzles. Cut. Dead air. A ball bearing rolls around an uneven plane causing other objects to become infectiously agitated and inexplicably animated. An organ plays itself, just once. Vibrating glass planes, jars, flasks and light bulbs. Cut… Near silence… Readjust to the tiny flecks of vinyl crackle not being part of the whole… And yet in a way they are… It all is… Run-off groove… Click… Click… Raise the needle.

unknown pleasures.

Chris Whitehead

Vital Weekly

A new label from Switzerland, a daring move in these difficult times.

Its inaugural release is a split Lp by two of Switzerland's finest composers moving on the fringes of musique concrete, noise and ambient. The one that is, perhaps, least known is Kiko C. Esseiva, who had a few releases reviewed here (see Vital Weekly 839 for the most recent one). He also had a collaborative concert recording with Francisco Meirino (see Vital Weekly 682).

In their split recording they use the same source material, culled from many hours working together. They use reel to reel tape recorders, EMF detectors, piezo transducers, analog synths, various homemade sound objects and electronics. On the Esseiva side the interest lies in creating a heavily layered piece with a strong focus on the acoustic sources. Less inspired than his previous work by Nurse With Wound, Esseiva finds more a voice of his own here. The ringing and singing of objects on surfaces that move along soundwaves - say speakers - give this a strong vibrating side. Meirino on the other side finds more a balance between the acoustic sources and the electronic sounds. Less than in some of his other work he uses abrupt changes to move from one piece to the next. Here it seems as if all is floating more naturally into each other and only once an abrupt change takes place. The electronic sources make up for the drone and atmospheres, both soft and loud, which is another of Meirino's trademarks. His side is more balanced, Esseiva's side is more fixed on single minded sources. A different result from the same origin. Great record, fine start for a label. 


Focus on Nothing on Focus est un split qui regroupe deux artistes sonores ayant chacun travaillé sur les mêmes sources audio. Un matériau initial très riche, enregistré et échangé durant plusieurs mois, composé d'enregistrements au magnétophone, de prises de son au micro-contact, de synthétiseurs, d'objets, etc.

La première face, intitulée "Focus on Nothing", est une composition de Francisco Meirino. Le matériau initial est ici assemblé en une longue pièce qui joue sur la juxtaposition, le montage et la superposition des éléments sonores. Cette composition de Meirino possède quelque chose de cinématographique, ou de narratif en tout cas. Une sorte de post-musique concrète où les éléments sonores sont souvent d'origine acoustique, on reconnaît le frottement d'objets en métal, une sorte d'accordéon ou d'harmonium, et quelques autres sources acoustiques. Mais rien n'est figuratif, la musique de Meirino est construite de manière assez abstraite, les sons perdent leur contenu premier pour ne devenir plus qu'une forme au service de la composition. Meirino construit alors une pièce de manière cohérente et logique, où tout s'enchaine et s'assemble avec clarté, intelligence, avec beaucoup d'attention et de précision aussi. Un très beau collage et assemblage de sources très diverses, qui ne sont pas forcément personnelles en plus.

Quant à "Nothing on Focus", la face composée par Kiko C. Esseiva, elle est déjà plus proche d'une musique électroacoustique. On reconnaît les mêmes sources, assemblées d'une manière plus éclatée et moins narrative, mais ici, tout se joue dans l'instant plus que dans la globalité, dans la modification plus que dans la construction. Esseiva cherche moins à assembler les éléments qu'à les travailler. Il y a bien un montage, mais ce n'est qu'un prétexte au travail sur les sources mêmes, à la recherche abstraite sur le matériau sonore même, sur sa réalité physique et acoustique. De nombreux effets et filtres, changements de vitesse, distorsion, saturation, contribuent à extraire des sonorités nouvelles des sources initiales. Un très beau travail sur l'acoustique des sources, sur leurs textures et leurs grains au-delà des seuils de perception humaine.

Deux très belles pièces d'art sonore électroacoustique, qui proposent deux directions et deux formes de travail possible du son.

C'est riche, très inventif, soigné, travaillé, et beau.

(Julien Héraud)

Discogs user

Meirino here reconstitutes live recordings of his duos alongside Esseiva. For an excellent review by Chris Whitehead, head over to The Field Reporter.

Suffice to say here that I am as smitten with this album as with much of Meirino's work. It's heavy manipulation and overt editing plays in particularly good balance alongside 2012′s Undetected, which consists of unedited and unmastered field recordings from Francisco's no doubt sizable collection. The contrast of the critical autocannibalism of the former with the unapologetic narcissism of the latter is precisely what fascinates in his work.

Esseiva's piece on the B-side runs at a frenetic pace, mining much of the same harmonically tense passages as Meirino's (they were, after all, both playing live together and rehashing the same recordings). While 'Nothing On Focus' is, well, unfocused, his contribution to the somewhat more limited CDr included with early copies shows him in more cohesive and effective form. His track on The Gift focuses on disorienting the listener with timbral and panning experiments instead of editing tricks, and works beautifully.

Both the LP and CDr are worth seeking out.

Just Outside

A split LP. Meirino's piece, "Focus on Nothing" is a solid, dystopic, industrial soundscape, referencing noise but widely varied in dynamics and pacing. The sounds employed tend toward the harsh, replete with hollow, metallic scrapes, shudders and bangs, sometimes pulsed, casting a rich though gray pall, always sharply etched; no haze here. Near the beginning, there's much flutter of activity, like an old, creaking factory starting to churn its gears after a long period of inactivity. That burst seems to carry the remainder, taking the energy then dissipating it, the sputters growing gradually less frequent until the whole affair simply ceases. A fine work, bleak and fascinating.

I'm less fond of Esseiva's "Nothing on Focus", where the sounds, essentially not that different from those used by Meirino, are assembled in a more random, less cohesive manner, seeming to owe more to early tape collage music, that of the kitchen sink approach. Sounds often seem to have been chosen for stereo effect or spaciness. Not bad, just less convincing to these ears, less immersive, more technical. I would have liked to have heard a narrower sound range, investigated more deeply.

Bad Alchemy

FRANCISCO MEIRINO, ein Spanier in Lausanne, hat seine Klangkunst schon mit vielen geteilt, etwa Tim Olive, Jason Kahn oder dem Geisterjäger Michael Esposito, aber am häufigsten mit seinem Landsmann KIKO C. ESSEIVA, den es ebenfalls nach Lausanne verschlagen hat. Für die perfekt gepresste Split-LP Focus On Nothing On Focus (AR-LP-001) teilten sie sich sogar das gleiche Quellmaterial, um daran ihre jeweilige Handschrift zu entfalten.

Die Überschrift verrät schon einen Kopf, der Paradoxien reizvoll findet, zumal sie die Perspek­tive frühere Titel wie Known Testimonies On The Unknown (2011) oder An Ex­tended Meaning for Something Meaningless (2013) verlängert. Die elektro­akustische Lautmalerei macht es nicht immer leicht, zu unterscheiden zwi­schen den automatischen Mustern von Analogsynthie und Electronics, den Vi­brationen und Signalen von EMF-Sonden und piezoelektrischen Sensoren und händischer Krimskramserei. Hightech hat jedenfalls keinen hohen Stellenwert. Schleifend, bohrend, sirrend und perkussiv, aber arhythmisch hantierend wird aus kleinen Gesten und feinen Impulsen, aus tickernden und glissandierenden Spuren ein Geräuschfenster geöffnet ins Stockdunkle, in dem etwas Unbe­stimmtes nichts Bestimmtes werkelt.

Ein sonorer Drone quillt auf, flickernd umrappelt. In einem wort- und bildlosen Hör-Spiel lässt sich ein narrativer Nicht-Faden nicht einmal an einem Odradek festmachen, weil der, der da die Fäden zieht, nichts als ein Spielzeugmacher sein will. Esseiva bringt kaum mehr Licht ins ominöse Dunkel, nur etwas mehr Druck und einmal ein sirenen­haftes Gedröhn. Die Klänge sind plastischer, präsenter, gröber, prickelnder und aktiver. Esseiva scheint wohl ein wenig eifriger zu pfeifen, zu rubbeln, zu bürsten, zu knarren und dabei komische Laute gern in Kauf zu nehmen. Aber nichts Genaues weiß man nicht. [BA 83 rbd]..