Since his startling 2002 debut, Martes, Murcof (aka Fernando Corona) has built up a reputation for mastering the fusion of minimalistic electronica with classical stylings, to create unique, post-modern soundscapes.
Oceano, the follow-up to 2007’s monumental Cosmos, is pencilled in for next year, but until then, fans of the Mexican composer are being treated to this unusual recording; a specially commissioned collection of six experimental sequences for Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes, an annual festival of sound, light and water held at Chateau de Versailles in France.
The opulence and decadence of the location plays a suitably large part in Corona’s music, which embraces a real sense of scale and drama. He takes recordings of 17th century baroque instruments as his starting point (viola de gamba, violin, harpsichord and flute) and combines them with vocal performances by a mezzo soprano, field recordings and his own electronic interventions.
The final product is often as chilling as it is calming – with Corona juxtaposing tense and foreboding sequences such as -Death Of A Forest’ with the dreamy, new dawn of -Spring In The Artificial Gardens’. Even the most inaccessible and at times grating passages retain an otherworldly beauty. The main melody line in -Louis XVI’s Dreams’ is provided by a scratching violin, yet it never becomes irritating. Corona is a master at letting intricate layers of instruments resonate against walls of silence to create an eerie dimension. It’s this gift that elevates The Versailles Sessions from an esoteric classical recording to an essential purchase for anyone intrigued by the possibilities of sound.