Review: Guillermo Pizarro - "Glasswerks"

Guillermo Pizarro - Glasswerks
(Self-Released 2013)
"Pizarro knows how to make a lasting first impression."

West Virginian noise artist Guillermo Pizarro knows how to make a lasting first impression. Upon opening the parcel he sent me earlier this week, its contents immediately piqued my curiosity. Inside was a cardboard CD sleeve painted black with white zebra stripes (or is it white with black stripes?) and covered in twine. You can't just set an album like that down on the table and leave it for later. I slid the white disc from its unusual packaging and brought it over to the computer for a listen. Glasswerks made as much of an immediate impression as its sleeve, opening with the sound your trashcan makes as it rolls down the driveway to the curb.

The first three minutes of the EP's initial track, "By the Time I Get To Green Lane, You'll Be Mine", deliver a devastating blow of rusty, mechanical sound. In what may be the album's most dramatic moment, the gravelly sounds dissipate, giving way to a meditative synth drone, a light at the end of a harsh noise tunnel. In his novel A Box of Matches, Nicholson Baker writes that "you have to get cold to get warm". Similarly, Pizarro shows us the effect beauty can have after facing the cold, stoic crawl of pure noise. Synth and sampled, crunchy sound do battle over the 15-minute track, and in the end, cacophony prevails. "Glasswerk", which I presume pays tribute to both Philip Glass' 1982 masterpiece and Kraftwerk, is a much more atonal affair than its predecessor, sculpted from rattling chains and other various common objects. It's interesting to try to pick out what sort of things are being employed as instruments while you listen. Slowly, the elements blend together into one steady, monolithic tone, bringing a peaceful conclusion to the chaos that open "Green Lane". This is some well-constructed experimental music, and you'd do well to check it out if you're a fan of Lost Trail or Aaron Dilloway.