Spanish Keys

Got a split C30 cassette from Héctor Rey’s Nueni Recs label in Bilbao, whose catalogue has gradually been arriving here to mixed receptions from various writers. On Nueni #004 he maintains the staunch Anti-Copyright approach to present snippets by two musicians. On Spec Phtisica Endtítulo Al, Agnès Pe offers five short cuts of charmingly strange electronic music which she tags as, among other things, “Happy Techno”. That’s as good as any a term to apply to these bouncy lo-fi tunes whose melodies appear to be picked out by hand on a toy organ rather than sequenced by computer, although there’s also healthy doses of analogue malarkey, fizzy noise, and uncanny booperlings to occupy and entertain the mental enquirer. There is something slightly dark lurking behind the apparently happy tunes…and her approach to using beats betokens an alienated attitude to the dancefloor, rather than an enthusiastic participant. One suspects Agnès Pe would be happier taking a nocturnal turn of a deserted shopping mall than wasting time having fun at the disco with her so-called friends.


Niebla Fascista is a new name to me, but he has collaborated with Xedh (i.e. Miguel A. García) on two recent releases, and any friend of Xedh is welcome in these quarters, as indeed is any adherent to the Spanish school of stern and grisly noise. On Cheddar Brother, Niebla Fascista turns in eight short experiments involving feedback, crazed synths, an equally crazed drum machine, and snarly vocals. Where Agnès Pe is prepared to project a brave front and pretend that all is well with the world, Niebla makes no secret of his anger and disaffection, railing against the world with his furious growls. Quite often his outbursts are delivered in short, disjunctive stabs, as if he was growing more inarticulate with rage and exasperation as each second passes. However, this is far from “pure noise”, as is evident from his sputtering attempts at creating tunes (again using the one-finger melodies not unlike Agnès above) and his bizarre foray into crooning, where he comes across like a member of Whitehouse filtered through the larynx of Bing Crosby.


Oier Iruretagoiena is another lesser-known creator from the Spanish quarter devoted to delivering a particularly cruel strain of noise; I often feel that many of them are in thrall to Miguel A. García who seems to have set a template for the entire Basque region with his stern, brooding abstractions. Oier Iruretagoiena, also known as Oier I.A. and Tüsüri and a member of the group Larraskito Audio Dissection Unit, has recorded with García and Oscar Martin, and is clearly has what it takes to wring strange wheezing and grunting forms from the innards of his computer. On Kulakantu (Nueni #005). he seems to be controlling feedback and white noise in a carefully-wrought and highly twisted fashion, producing a complex intermittent stream of exquisite ugliness. Unlike our two friends above, he doesn’t seem especially angry, but is playing the role of an isolated loner, breeding unusual types of insect hybrids which he keeps in perspex cages in his basement. The cover art is from the pipe organ at St Martin of Tours in Ataun, described elsewhere as a “masterpiece of Iberian Baroque organ-making”. I’d like to think Oier made a special pilgrimage to see this historically significant instrument; what self-respecting keyboard player wouldn’t? The above items from 29 September 2015.