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Francisco Lopez - Untitled #244

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Artist: Francisco Lopez

Album: Untitled #244

Label: Sub Rosa

Review date: Jun. 22, 2011

That guy who drove the bus in the Spice Girls movie once crooned that a 66.7 percent success rate isn’t shabby. Baseball players are lauded for succeeding at the plate three times out of ten. Weather forecasters spend their careers making predictions that often don’t come to pass. No one gets it right every time, but there are those whose consistency can make it seem like they do. Francisco López is one of those people.

López has released more than 70 albums since the late 1980s, including six in 2010 alone. With that level of prolificacy, it’d be no great shame to have produced a few duds, or at least a couple of snoozers. And while these ears can’t claim to have heard even close to everything that López has churned out in recent years, the quality of his recordings is one of the safer bets in modern music.

López isn’t always entirely forthcoming about his sound sources, but knowing where he got his ingredients usually doesn’t dull the effect of his creations. Untitled #244 was recorded both on and in the Paraná and Paraguay rivers, two South American waterways, in 2010. One can hear some boats and birds, and telltale aquatic evidence of the music’s watery beginnings, but such trainspotting is largely beside the point. Like any of López’s recordings, Untitled #244 is a more rewarding experience with the volume turned up and the mind turned off (there’s a reason he passes out blindfolds at live performances). The familiar reverberation of underwater listening tinges much of the album’s ambient sound. López sometimes uses sections of silence as a precursor to dramatic dynamic shifts, but even at its most abrasive, Untitled #244 is a pretty peaceful affair, and there’s nothing to dissuade the listener from simply drifting along in its current.

Save for the Francisco López completists, whose collections must be nearing a level that Imelda Marcos would find impressive, no one needs to rush out to snag a copy of Untitled #244. It’s good, of course, but unremarkably so, like a 150-point season from Wayne Gretzky in the 1980s. Slap someone else’s name on this disc, and it’d likely feel like a bigger deal; instead, it’s one more solid effort from López, just what we’ve come to expect.

Lest it seem like I’m punishing a guy for being damn good at what he does and how often he’s able to do it: Untitled #244 may not be among the most essential of Francisco López’s albums, but it’s still a Francisco López album. Many readers know just what that means. As for the rest of you, what are you waiting for? Now’s as good a time as any to jump on in.

By Adam Strohm

Other Reviews of Francisco Lopez

addy en el pais de las frutas y los chunches

Live in San Francisco

Untitled 2004

Untitled #180

Untitled (2009)

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View all articles by Adam Strohm

Find out more about Sub Rosa

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