Listening to Root Drone, the opening track on Rocio Zavala’s debut album, it’s immediately apparent the music exists at the threshold between motion and stillness. Sounds are like tiny fluctuations in the ebb and flow of electricity burning through a light bulb element. The music moves in a warm and organic way, full of physical approximations rather than digital precision.
With some background information, this presence in the music appears to be a significant element. Zavala makes her own equipment includes zithers, synthesizers and tools that pick up on movement, light, and electricity picked up from her body. The music is the sonic layer tracing her activity in a host of setting and states of consciousness.
Clearly this powerful way of cultivating and transmitting sound grows out a rich seam of creativity. Alvin Lucier and David Rosenboom’s amplified brainwave experiments, the video feedbacking wormholes of Steina and Woody Vasulka and Rafael Toral’s Aeriola Frequency all feel like overlaps here. But Invisible Miracles feels like more than a simple retrace, it’s a fresh take on the interface between flesh and technology, and a frankly engrossing palette of oscillations, patterns and drones.
Blue Violet could well be the sound of the albums sleeve, energy radiating outward in oily ripples slowly regulated into strobing grids. Warp Space is a brief echo chamber before the almost 7 minutes of Light Body. The music here forms into cloudlike orbs that dip and wobble like some odd Shephard tone sound illusion. Foreground and background absorbing into each other as almost vocalised smudges reach out into space.
Want Without One splits words into broken pixelated fragments before the album slowly grows more ominously with the menacing Looming Over Azra. Interparalis is pecked at with gloomy transmissions but somehow turns an odd ceremony of heatstroke and dragging tape, into almost shoe gazing hallucinations.
The closer How Much Matter feels like the gloriously warped final destination, an odd calm that only makes sense given the preceding 7 tracks. Everything by now is haze and heart beats, the cavernous abstraction that gives the sense of human touch buried deep in those sonic folds.
Any musician creates a space around themselves via whatever way they decide to make sounds. Under normal circumstances that’s what comes out of a guitar or what the microphone picks up. But Zavala’s music gives this sense everything here is pure aura – Kirlian photography in sound, where the artist appears like a neon outline living and breathing in a field of sensors.
These are indeed Invisible Miracles.
Invisible Miracles is released on May 6 by Monastral, both digitally and on cassette. Pre-order here.