MURCOF with MARC WEISER , MARTIN SCHUTZ , TOM KUO , ADAM MARSHALL and others at the Church at Berkeley (315 Queen East), Friday (September 15). $25 advance, more at the door. www.petermettler.com/elsewhere Rating: NNNNN
Read the reviews of Murcof (aka Fernando Corona) and you'll notice how often writers resort to describing him by what he's not.
If they say he makes minimal electronic music, that's often followed by "but not that kind of minimal."
If they talk about the mixture of classical and experimental, then it has to be stated that it's not at all like the academic music suggested by that description.
Most common, however, is the mention of his Mexican background (he moved to Barcelona last year), followed by the disclaimer that his material sounds nothing like what we'd expect from Mexican techno.
"It's not something you can pinpoint," Corona admits sleepily, still recovering from a busy weekend of gigs. "When I first came out with Murcof, people thought I was from Eastern Europe, or anywhere other than Tijuana. We live in a very connected world, though, and music can't always be tied to a specific place. The work has to be able to stand out on its own, before nationality."
Stand out is exactly what Murcof did. Over the past four years, he's found himself cited as one of the most unique and progressive electronic artists around.
Sampling and reworking ideas from 20th-century composers using sound design ideas borrowed from minimal techno, Corona came out with something that sounded completely outside the greater trends in electronic music. Perhaps it's the associations listeners have with the combination of discordant strings and glitchy computer rhythms, but many have taken to describing it as dark and occasionally creepy, a vibe that doesn't completely gel with the laid-back and relaxed attitude Corona projects, even before his morning coffee.
"When I'm alone in the studio it makes perfect sense to me. It might seem dark, but to me it's just intense. I don't feel depressed when I'm making it; I'm just trying to build and release tension.
"You can't have control over how people will hear it, though. It's like the weather -- it's out of our hands."