Leonardo Rosado – Opaque Glitter (2011, FeedbackLoop Label)

I’ve never really revealed this, except for maybe on a few reviews, but if you have seen how much I love ambient music or just music that has an atmospheric quality in general, then here’s an album that you might as well see me, the hardcore ambient fan, freaking out over. Leonardo Rosado is an experimental artist specializing in abstract, electro-acoustic ambient soundscapes, as well as some dreamy photography and beautiful poems. He also curates the Feedback Loop netlabel, which is releasing his newest album, “Opaque Glitter”. Well, really, there’s not a whole lot more I can say in general before getting into the nitty-gritty of this album. Instead, let’s just take a look at this beautiful album cover, shall we? [insert long pause here] Maybe it is a bit minimal, but this is also going to be released as a physical CD, and the packaging is very beautiful and sleek. Furthermore, there are even more images that go along with this album, along with a couple of beautiful poems written by Rosado himself.

The album begins with the reverberating, seeming random taps of “Leaving and staying”, with some very beautiful ambient chords ringing throughout, as well as some sound effects throughout, such as the opening of locks, keys, doors, and chains. It is minimalism at its best, but the arrangement and structure of the sounds here work beautifully, and create an intriguing opening that allows the listener to enter the sound world that Rosado creates here. “Scratching the surface” begins with strange filtered lo-fi synth pads that vibrate lively throughout the piece, and soon, the beautiful ambient chords from the first piece begin to sound yet again, along with more sound effects such as what sounds like rain or a waterfall, as well as some of the random tapping noises again. Beautifully surreal piano or harp melodies fill in the cracks, and more glimmering pads shine throughout, which remind me some of Tim Hecker’s pieces, though here, they don’t directly show the electronic glitches that Hecker is known for, but rather, a very smooth and non-intrusive texture that is great for relaxation. “Amidst the crowd a love story” begins with fuzzy and faded pads, distant field recordings, and the occasional humming of a bass drone. More of the harp-like melodies can be heard in this composition, and overall, the piece shines with a calm, relaxing, and peaceful feeling, as though it is morning somewhere in a forest or in the mountains, perhaps in an Eastern country such as China or India.”For a moment there” begins right where the last piece left off, with more humming bass frequencies, distant glimmering chords, and the strange electro-acoustic sound effects that have already been introduced throughout the album, though here, it is a bit more strange and bizarre, but in a good way. The light plucks of a guitar and some Indian-sounding percussion can be heard in the middle of the piece, adding a gorgeous counterpoint to the strange sound design that has already been ongoing throughout the piece. “Dancing and falling” contains a strange, bowed-like drone, which builds in complexity with other humming sounds to create an otherworldly mantra that continues throughout the entire track. Some other clicks, pops, and hisses make their way into the mix at times, but mostly, the piece focuses only on this cold, slowly moving, and utterly bizarre mantra that sounds close to the hums of an alien spacecraft of some sort, to say the least. “It ends here” contains what sounds close to either distant waves, an avalanche, or traffic, as some more glimmering pads are shown prominently throughout the track. It slowly evolves into more bizarre samples and synths throughout, as well as at the end, a creepy kick drum that calls to mind some of the pieces off of Lull’s “Dreamt About Dreaming”. “The wind blowing in my face” yet again picks up where “It ends here” left off, minus the creepy drum kick, in favor of slow melancholic chords and what appears to sound indeed like the wind. Later on, a soft experimental beat created out of many different obscure samples enters the ambience, weaving in and out until the end of the piece, creating a nice contrast to the previous pieces on the album. The last piece, “Soft like leaves falling”, starts out slow with evolving and glimmering pads, moving at a glacial speed from one note or chord to the next. Soft samples of raking leaves and distant cars can be heard in the foreground later on in the piece, and towards the end, a strange exploded hiss can be heard, repeating like it is the beat of the piece, in which the piece later ends.

Overall, Leonardo Rosado’s “Opaque Glitter” is a different but exciting take on ambient and electro-acoustic music. It shines and glimmers throughout, moves along from one sound to the next, and as electronic-heavy as the album is, it always sound strangely but beautifully organic, as though it was recorded on an old saturating tape machine dated from the 1970s. The production here is great, and though at times, it seems that sounds seem to bleed into one another, or one frequency seems to overtake another, still, I feel that it is important to the sound of the album, because as much as I love to hear a perfect album, I love to hear imperfections in the sound as well. This is one of the rare moments where electronic music actually sounds human, as though it was taken with care, carefully and painfully pieced together one by one in order to reach perfection, but yet, it never quite reaches it because at times, something awry in the sound has screwed something possibly significant up, but in the end, it is a happy accident, because it only makes the album more memorable and enjoyable. Leonardo’ Rosado’s “Opaque Glitter” is one of the more interesting ambient releases of the year so far, ranking with Kyle Bobby Dunn and Tim Hecker. Rosado is someone to watch out for in the coming months, as his unusually organic and imperfect sound in a delightful thing to hear in the midst of a society where we are forced to believe that music is supposed to be ultra-polished. Take note.Album: Opaque Glitter

Album: Opaque Glitter

Artist: Leonardo Rosado

Genre: Ambient/electro-acoustic/glitch/tape music

To be released on June 15th by FeedbackLoop Label

The physical copy of the album (limited to 100 copies) is available for pre-order as of the time of this review at http://feedbacklooplabel.blogspot.com! A digital copy should be available to download as well on the site at the time of release.

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