Lights dim, limbs relax, and abdomens begin to move as if on their own as new material from Ricardo Donoso breaches the blood-brain barrier. If last year’s masterful Assimilating the Shadow swayed with the listener through the last stages of the night’s festivities — eyelids drooping, all drums absent, tendrils of light stretching out over the horizon — the forthcoming As Iron Sharpens Iron splinters the timeline off into an anxious stroll home, with long hours and miles ahead before dawn. Donoso’s utilization of more percussive synth patches this time around punctuates his wide mixes with the onset of each new voice: squelches spasmodically pan between speakers; rushes of noise static segue between passages; bass phrases hammer through the bottom of the stereophonic spread. The attention to tonal detail aligns his lengthy pieces as much with the drone/noise underground he explored with other projects (Perispirit and Ehnahre) as the psytrance antecedents on the “club”-“friendly” side of the electronic spectrum.
As Donoso stacks syncopated rhythms across his grid, “The Old Straight Track,” premiering below, gathers the momentum to break your nocturnal reverie for a moment and beckon you down the right alley to the fire escape stairs behind your apartment. You catch a glimpse through a window on the way up of an LED strobe spot pulsing quick R → G → B → R &c. across the wall in a candlelit second floor back room historically still alive this time of morning with a bass drum and moving humans, left oscillating on accident. No one in sight, no music. Guess they all already crashed. Maybe they went out to find food still open. You expect them to get back home five minutes after you slide into bed — kick open the door, turn on the PA, resume with volume lowered to maybe like 6/10 (from 8) but still enough to keep you up, which is fine, actually — but it never happens. It looks like you might have to try to close your eyes and go to sleep, or something, like as if right now it’s even p os sibl e — “…” (You’re already out.)
“The Old Straight Track” appears on the first of two 45 RPM 12-inch releases from Donoso, which together constitute a proper full-length: As Iron Sharpens Iron / One Verse Sharpens Another. Both volumes arrive via the ever-mind-altering Digitalis before the end of 2013 — As Iron on October 28, and One Verse on November 18. Keep your eyes on the Digitalis webstore and all your favorite distros for the moment to grip.