The end of the World is a theme we have always and often seen represented in all manner of artistic endeavours, from The Bible, through Albrecht Dürer’s 1498 engravings (Albrecht clearly didn’t get out much), to Genesis’s Supper’s Ready or 666 by Aphrodite’s Child. If you were to pick one piece of music that symbolised Apocalypse, you have a lot to choose from. Whether this is referring to any kind of fantastical and mythical conclusive battle between the forces of good and evil or it is purely grounded in the sheer fuckwittery of Mankind and our talent for corrupting everything we touch, that really is indicative of great ambition in any artistic endeavour, not least for a solo Stickist. And in one take. Colour me impressed.
I think perhaps we’re looking at music inspired by a more tangible End of the World, one grounded in the events of today – where at any time in early 2022 there are around twenty countries in a state of armed conflict. But it is hard to ignore the use of the word “revelation”, even if this really isn’t a direct reference to the biblical allegory of the ongoing struggle between good and evil.
The Spirit of the End of Things is the muse that channelled itself through Bizirik. Let’s not forget what you can achieve with a Stick – if you can master hand separation you can simultaneously bring both bass and melody parts to the music. This, coupled with the tuning options, brings a uniqueness to musical composition, or indeed, improvisation. With the addition of the right pedal board, some loopage, sequenced percussion, and an occasional sample, the possibilities are endless – even conjuring up images of the end of things! And I stress – this is all improvised! Bizirik has truly committed his talent and his tools to this methodology.
Track one, La hora psicotrópica (psychotropic hour) seems to be an exercise in musical impressionism with atmospheric beginnings. It paints a picture, for me, of jungle rain and bamboo structures, rather than the battleground of Good Versus Evil or corporate versus ecologist or… anyway, it has a loose, jazzy, laid-back droning riff that builds. Heavily dependent on the bass line, this is one for candle-lit chillouts. When the riff changes, the new direction comes out of the blue like the unexpected fork in the country road on a dark night. It made me wonder fleetingly – how far can you push a drone if listeners are not… er… helped along… er… you know? At what point will listeners start losing interest in the riff and wander off? But then, I am reminded of times when I would happily sit down and chill out to Steve Hillage’s meandering virtuosity, never needing to ask, “where is this going?” And I hadn’t yet been introduced to Mary Jane, which is particularly ironic given that I come from Newport, South Wales – The Drug Gateway to The Land of My Fathers. Then, nearly eight minutes in, another fork in the road – this time with a less insistent bass line. Nice.
It’s not all chill, though. A little over 15 minutes into the album, despite using techniques that I would ascribe to more ambient music, Fiebre fatal de una pesadilla (Fatal fever from a nightmare) is replete with frenetic and violent contrast in rhythm and tone and will put you on edge. Which it should, given the theme! The repetitive bass line, overlayed with a variety of vocal samples, including excerpts from the final speech by/from Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, this track should put you on edge.
The looped bass line of Naziste Natre, if you let it, will get under your skin, and is layered with Frippertronic-esque shimmering soundscapes and some expressive and eerie improvised soloing on the melody-side that felt as if it would live on after it had faded away.
Overall, it’s perhaps not an overly ambitious title for such a pleasant, if occasionally mildly disturbing collection of musical improvisations. There may well be music out there that more closely represents the chaos and horror of the end of things. But then, perhaps the end of the World as we know it is actually a slow insidious battle of attrition between us and Nature, not all Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture or Gates of Delirium. And so, I take the music on its own merits and perhaps choose not to view it as a musical representation of some cataclysmic event, rather a disarmingly pleasant distraction from the backdrop against which it is set and that we all seem to be living through. In the end, it’ll be the end of us, as in Humans, not the World. Nature will win, as will her music.
01. La hora psicotrópica (10:55)
02. Canción de protesta (4:23)
03. Fiebre fatal de una pesadilla (6:43)
04. Naziste natre (6:15)
05. Kraut boy (4:22)
06. Nene no te vayas de Chile, no te vayas mañana, ándate hoy (4:30)
07. La página negra del feudo (1:48)
08. Diálogos paganos (4:54)
09. Resiliente del fin del mundo (4:22)
10. Distopía sureña (6:19)
11. Filtraciones y revelaciones (8:44)
Total Time – 63:15
Cristián Larrondo – Chapman Stick, Loops
Jesús Parada – Drums (tracks 1,3,6,9 & 11)
Felipe Moreno – Transposed Electric Guitar (tracks 1,3,6 & 11)
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: Chile
Date of Release: 7th January 2022