Opening the Senses with ‘One Look’
There’s a true love of music pulling this album together with gravity. This is ‘One Look’ from the classically trained and very talented Gonzalo Esteybar at River Flow Records. An ambient album of guitars; classical, electric, pressed, and manipulated, in abstract movements and inventions. A musician, producer, and one-time member of Robert Fripp & The Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists, Estaybar is bringing his love of the strings to his solo project and follow-up to his 2013 EP “About.”As a soloist artist he released the “Sin Palabras” in 2011. 13 instrumental compositions of modern ambient jazz. And in 2012 and 2013 while touring with Robert Fripp and The OCG, he presented this material in the cities of Chicago and New York together with a few new solo pieces. Like a living echo chamber of the worlds corners, this album is a dreamscape with stones from Italy and Spain, to Argentina and The USA.
Starting strong, with a little more speed and volume than the rest of the album, ‘Before’ is hypnotic until the minor tinge, which adds a sinister and scary backstory. Great movie music, though I’m not sure which genre. The beginning and end is reflective and a bit pensive, but there’s a dark centre that intrigues me enough to keep listening. The song is structured much like any classical piece, which speaks to Etaybar’s training.
Fun and flirting, ‘Home’ is a dance, mellow and soft, but fast, with a scratchy little percussive guitar manipulation that reminds me of feet scraping the dance floor in Spain. Because voiceless music in the traditional style is go-to for cinematics, it’s hard not to classify each song by what kind of media they might accompany… ‘Home’ sounds like the opening credits for a detective show set in Barcelona. And I would 100% watch that show!
While still ambient, the lead guitar has it’s own voice on ‘Abandoned Sea.’ A voice that no doubt is annoyed about being abandoned, at times calling out into a higher range saying: here me! Unfortunately the ending, is rushed and lacking in closure. It ends, and that’s how you know it’s over.
In ‘One Look’ and ‘100 Days’ the sound climbs up and down the waves. Riding the tide, and colouring in the sky beyond. Maybe a bit ironic to call a short song ‘1000 Days.’ Luckily I’m a big fan of irony. And maybe a bit shrill at times in ‘One Look.’
Only time this issue returns is near the end of the album in ‘Show and Tell.’ It has a creepy vibe that might work better in a minor key. And the lazy Western twang is well suited here, except for one moment about two and a half minutes in, where the high note sounds like microphone feedback. Other than the one blemish, the song is solid, making me want to sit and watch the vista wearing big headphones.
Very ambient, as the classical guitar sets a subtle tempo beneath the wavering high notes, a pattern I’m noticing, ‘How Do We Know’ and ‘Lion’ are melancholy and restless, the ‘Lion’ wandering with broken chords. The light but shrill electric strings strumming extended notes that fill out the song. Probably my favourite song on the album. Right after the funky beating ‘Future Plans.’ A little more contemporary here, with a classical heart. This is a song that distinguishes itself like the opening track, the warbled electric notes sustaining long stretches over the broken down classical. When the song breaks out near the end the broken bits come together, in a full strum, chugging to the end of an emotional thunder.
If I would edit any song, potentially off this album, it would be ’11 Years,’ irony again, eleven being my favourite number. The timing is slightly off, and the dynamics of the song were working again themselves and each other. Rather than being intentional or improvisational, it felt like practice. And when the heavier electric chords come, they’re another element that isn’t syncopating.
Born in Rosario Argentina, Estaybar studied Music Production at Berklee College of Music, where he became a Professional. He’s been around the world, accompanied and alone, and while recording this new album also recorded original music for short films and audiovisual projects for several Argentinean companies. With some work needed in production and perhaps fewer tracks, his classically informed new release is somber and reflective. Beautiful at times, opening the senses with guitars in orchestra. Estaybar is a teacher, and true musician. With dramatic melodies and at times a pensive and eerie source of emotion, ‘One Look’ is available now.
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