Cielo is a rapturous upward journey. In its treatment of death and ascension it takes notes from Eliane Radigue's seminal Trilogie De La Mort. Both works tug in movements so slow as to be near imperceptible. Both produce an illusory perennial tone; a note which feels singular but is in constant flux. When change is present it is gradual, even glacial. It serves the purpose of feigning changelessness.
Cielo may be passive and unshowy. But it offers much to be unpacked. Like a canvas painted one solid colour, it grants more the longer it is considered. Gómez Oviedo's rumbles, scrapes and drones both fill and offer space at the same time.
Drone can in its minimalism engender a wandering mind. Cielo, no exception, invites technical consideration in its quietest moments. Listeners may try to identify the sounds from which Cielo was manipulated into being. They may venture to guess the processes those sounds underwent. This springs not from disengagement but an attempt to apprehend the album's striking production. And it never swamps the emotive force of the album. Cielo balances between a contemplative mode and experiential, Dionysian bliss with ease.
Violin work from Valentina Spina dances over the surface of Gómez Oviedo's drones like notonecta glauca, a trill which fades airily in and out of the mix. Like so much of what works in Cielo, it's a tiny but vital element elevating the whole.
Drone is so often about balancing these elements — light but not bare, empty but not hollow. Removal or addition of the smallest element crumbles the tower. Cielo strikes a superb balance, looming high amongst its peers.
Cielo is available for purchase and streaming here.
Words by Andrew O’Keefe