REVIEW: Federico Balducci and Francisco Javier Sanfuentes — El Velo de Lo Irrepresentable (LP)

With impossible strength contained only by the speakers through which its pulsations penetrate, “Muro I (The Goal Feels Impossible)” infects our airspace with a lurid mass of sound soon to find its anti-melodic shape in the five minutes that follow. There is no prerequisite introduction to the perfectly toned noise we’re to encounter in this composition and the nine it’s accompanied by in El Velo de Lo Irrepresentable; only two artists in Federico Balducci and Francisco Javier Sanfuentes who will silently forge a volcanic but non-virtuosic show of masculine musicality in this piece, their first album together. “Muro II (I Don’t Deserve It or I’m Not Worthy)” will introduce stark melodic contrasts by comparison to its tracklist predecessor, but as it presses onward, its eccentricities are no different in severity from any other on this record.


“Muro III (I’m Not Good Enough)” welcomes the first bit of percussive consistency beneath the string componentry Balducci and Sanfuentes are utilizing in their performance here, but despite its straightforward construction, the song acts as our ladder to the depths below conscious reality in “Muro IV (I Don’t Want to Embarrass Myself).” This is one of the most moving and noise-laden works on the LP, bringing to mind the brighter parts of retro experimental wax like Sodomize Karl Marx and Boris at Last -Feedbacker-, but it stops short of implementing anything beyond the typically hypnotic overdrive most drone outfits would use as a jumping-off point exclusively. I’m hesitant to call it stripped-down, but unlike similarly ambitious content from other artists, this track is just a touch more efficient and cleaner cut.

You can’t have a pretentious attitude and produce something as surgically precise in tone and tempo as the haunting “2+1” is, nor is it likely that the same approach would render something as black and white as “2+2” into a genuine behemoth of a song inside of ninety seconds flat. There’s something so freeing and simplistic about the way Balducci and Sanfuentes move from these jarring compositions into more psychedelic content like “Muro VI (People Will Judge Me)” and the paranoid “Muro VII (I’m Not Organized)” without skipping a beat, and although it’s undebatable that they each bring some fresh talents to the table as solo players, what they do for each other here is something unforgettable indeed.


Fourteen and a half minutes of scattered eclecticisms draining into bone-crushing noise courtesy of “Muro VIII (I’m Not Qualified)” and “Detras Del Muro” conclude El Velo de Lo Irrepresentable like nothing else possibly could have, and although there is little harmony nor rhythmic evidence of what more conventional songs here have to offer in the last sixty seconds of the album, the mood they’ve imparted to us remains unbroken as the music fades away entirely. With the help of Francisco Javier Sanfuentes, Federico Balducci elevates himself to a new level of experimental wit in El Velo de Lo Irrepresentable that cannot go without recognition this summer, and quite frankly I think it stands as one of the more complete works of the ambient genre to arrive in the post-pandemic era so far. Simply put, if you’re keen on experimentalism, these artists have something you really shouldn’t miss in this fantastically thought-provoking affair.

Colin Jordan