Phroq
Half-Asleep Music
CD (E59)

“This music was recorded late at night while I was half-asleep. The idea
for this unusual method came from an article on unihemispheric slow-wave
sleep, in which one half of the brain rests while the other remains alert.
By working only when it was a considerable effort to stay awake, I hoped
to capture that moment when music is guided by the subconscious –
when, stripped of all the usual critical faculties, I had to rely instead on
raw intuition.”

Francisco Meirino began recording as Phroq in 1994. His music, a complex
and constantly evolving electronic soundscape, explores the tension between
programmed and accidental results. His work has been released, performed
and exhibited worldwide. He lives and works in Lausanne, Switzerland.


See also





Reviews

Mystifying snippets of pragmatism and bewitching sonic pictures
of seductive stimulation form a somewhat disjointed narration,
where both condensed fragmentariness and surrounding spheres
of nerve-tickling frequencies have the same right of citizenship.
The high quality derives from Meirino’s capability of shaping the
fruits of his research into something that sounds like a consistent
totality which, at times, becomes consuming to the level of near-
debilitation. Yet the juxtaposition of opposite kinds of source,
such as superimposed and manipulated electric hum and human
mumbling, penetrates the ears without damage, any aesthetic
judgement banished in favour of the pure enjoyment of a now
alarming, now hospitable chain of events. Inconveniences in the
compositional building are entirely absent and even the most
radical episodes do possess a sturdy logic, which is what renders
the overall process almost faultless. As far as the timbral relation-
ships are concerned, let’s just say that Phroq is a noncompliant
musician and leave it at that.

Definitely ineligible for the soundtrack to nocturnal quietness –
indeed one wonders how Meirino managed to avoid trouble
with neighbours whilst working on these pieces - Half-Asleep
Music is a gutsy exploration of the semi-unknown aspects
of transfixion bordering with illuminated edginess. A highly
recommended, rewarding listen from every angle.

Massimo Ricci at Touching Extremes

The 24 untitled pieces gathered here were all recorded on
the brink of sleep and, in terms of timespan at least, they’re
incredibly various, ranging from the vanishingly brief to the
positively sprawling. But there’s a unity of mood throughout
the disc.

The sensation is not unlike being a child in a strange house
at night — every rustle and creak is amplified in the
imagination, and every pause is pregnant with the unknown.
Track three ratchets up the tension, a scratchy, fluttering
drone which remorselessly rises in pitch even as it diminishes
in volume. Track five gestures towards primal, ultra-entropic
Techno, with the faintest whisper of structure exerting gravi-
tational pressure on a cold cloud of dancing fragments.
The final piece stretches out over 16 minutes — sussurations
writhe like bacteria from some abandoned experiment, and
distant metallic impacts swim in and out of focus. It could be
the death throes of a Cold War power station — or could it
be just the central heating playing up again?

Half-Asleep Music plays sinister tricks on the mind through-
out. Muted and monochrome it may be, but it achieves,
nevertheless, an unlikely potency.

Chris Sharp in The Wire