Federico Durand – La Nina Junco (12k, 2017)

La Nina Junco

6 years ago I would have found myself revising in the garden for some of my last school exams at this very table, perhaps beneath this same umbrella. 2 years before that, and I was revising for my GCSEs when I was 16. The scenery’s different now; the family home moved and now I sit by the canalside, the furniture is certainly a little worse for wear, but there’s a certain sweet nostalgia to being here. I sit here like an echo, a fair-weather ghost returning to familiar spots to work and write.

Bittersweetness is a running theme with Durand, a consistent trend in his minimal, organic constructions; in equal measure the reductive nature of his music creates environments both lovingly reverberant and simple, as well as crooning and wistful, yearning for places and people since passed. Take “Navidad en el bosque”, Christmas in the Forest: a brilliant reflection of time and space, soft static fuzz gently dampening the slow synth movements as the trees and snow close in, the world muted in its┬áblanket of snow and foliage. The faded, distal glimmerings of “Una plaza a las vias del tren” (The Square Beside The Train Tracks) are similarly wanting, trickling out in crooning and tired cyclings, nothing more than a dream of place.

There’s a pastoral, even perhaps parochial vibe to certain moments here; “Melodia de felpa” and its later continuation shine in thinned strands of electronica, slow and simple abstractions suspended in rarified drones that brush the senses like blossoms in the air, or adrift dandelion seeds. Later, “El cascabel de plata” unrolls in soothing passages of tumbling synth lines, like distant and unseen church bells that ring and echo about the landscape, a barely detectable breeze wafting each note towards us.

Everything is dreamlike, each piece sounding as though it’s being slowly washed up on the shores of our mind, every tide a slice of time returned, every sloshing wave a moment of memory. More than happy to let it continue, closer Rain of Stars, “Iluvia de estrellas”, hardly touches the senses as it allows precious few floaty, twinkling chords to penetrate the cool void. The select flurries that do make it out of the darkness are faded, ancient in sound and sight; their place in the heavens is secure and enduring, without concern for ephemerality or transience. How many humans have lost themselves beneath them, dreaming themselves back through time under their fixed, continual gaze? Sometimes I ask the same question of Durand’s music.

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