MYSTERY SEA 41| TZESNE | [Cliffs under the mist]


click to enlarge front click to enlarge back


- "Quarry Cavila. Region of Salas de los Infantes. Burgos. (...) The excavation is an old marine bottom habited in the Lower Jurassic by Ichthyosaurs, Ammonoids and Belemnites … It's excessively hot, and it will be necessary to protect the microphones and the rest of the equipment with some providential shade. I definitively abandon them for hours to the fury of the sun and they record how the sea retires and leaves the Earth naked, (...) Second, third and fourth days crossing the precipices (...) In the walls and grounds of this sterile place the fossilized remains and sediments fight to continue being, they are everywhere. But sometimes, when the fog enters and it covers everything, you can feel the depth ___ just with the hindrance of the wind."

-Txesus Garate, June 2007


Tzesne is a veteran of the varied Basque experimental music "scene". Txesus Garate began to sign with this Tzesne pseudonym at the end of the 90s after stopping with his earlier rockier & dark electronics projects. At that moment, he became obsessed with the array of possibilities offered by the combinations of sound textures and field recordings... Along his experiences, emerged a consideration of the sound as a poetic form, coupled with the importance of its graphical representation...
Till now, he has already managed to gather together an impressive collection of dark, reflective, mesmeric soundscapes, collaborations and other contributions on various interesting labels such as DRONE, TIBPROD, ANTIFROST and most of all on his own imprint SERIESNEGRAS... Latest developments show him teaming up with partner PARALUX to experience the further blend of sounds and visuals...

For his MS excursion, Tzesne permeated himself with the surroundings of an old marine bottom located in the region of Salas de los Infantes (Burgos), next to the Basque country... A panorama of eroded cliffs standing there in a belt in a rather wild nature, a sort of paleontological museum in the open air, gave the impulse to the project...

On "Cliffs under the mist", you can feel the fallen night veil on the stone crests
reshaped by the wind...
An hidden land lying behind the dew,
a long opaque flow...
rain has laminated the fields
and tones of earth come to the surface
through past fissures...
A language of veins,
& exhaled fossilized memories
petrified by time...
"Cliffs under the mist" is another invitation to see through
and caress that interior sea which is our true spine...


01. The path
02. Sunburnt skin
03. By the dry the falling leaves




VITAL WEEKLY 595|Frans De Waard
From the Basque territory hails Tzesne, who has been a regular feature in Vital Weekly for he has had releases on Drone Records, Tibprod, Antifrost and his own Series Negras label. It was perhaps only a matter of time before his name would pop in the Mystery Sea catalogue, as Tzesne plays unearthly and under-worldly drone music. If I understood correctly he uses field recordings here from an old marine bottom located in the region of Salas De Los Infantes' in Burgos, which he then in the studio processed to this three piece suite. It's I think for Tzesne quite a relaxing and calm work and doesn't quite has the the louder undercurrents that some of his previous work had. Maybe he was trying to make a work that fitted the label, but in any case these three flowing (pun intended) pieces are drone like in the highest degree, spacious and moving, soft and not outspoken. Music that goes well with nocturnal walks along cliffs, although it might also be too spooky. Nothing new under the ambient sun of Mystery Sea (or should that be moon?), but one of the better works in their catalogue.
vital weekly

Rated : 3 stars out of 5
Cliffs under the mist offers up three near -on twenty minute tracks of slow unfolding and textural ambient sound worlds - mixing together drone textures, field recordings with haunting and eerier harmonic traces.
The mist in the tile is very fitting as one often feels among these tracks like your slowly drifting through banks and clouds of mist on dew damped mourning or on creepy night exploration of mist enshrouded moor or deserted harbor side.  Drone textures build, unfold drift and throb as you seemly become one with their hypnotic and  organic unfold.  Elements and sounds drift nearly into focus before once more disappearing off into the drone folds before you can full identify their origin properly. The air is often marked by a tangible feeling of unease as is something or someone is watching you just out of your vision as the languidly tread your way  though the mist - your feet barely touching the ground.
Another enjoyable and involving slice of slow moving ambient and field recording dwell and unfold by the Mystery Sea Label which as always is ltd to 100 copies.

musique machine

TOKAFI |Tobias Fischer  
A haunting ghostzone: The past replacing the present with a wordless gesture.

Taken to its extreme, the texture of a sound can be so discreet that it turns tangible again, like a ghost slipping in and out of a physical body for a fragment of a second. That is the kind of fragility Txesus Garate is aspiring to. His music is all whisper, nuance and resonance, yet its subtlety is so intense that it can be overwhelming at times. His search for truth somehow always leads him to structures below the surface and to the threshold of concreteness. “huffduff”, a short breath on Drone Records, saw him weave the brittle threads of submarine communication into humming quilts of echo. On “Cliffs under the mist”, the water has withdrawn and left a land of fossils – the past replacing the present with a wordless gesture. And that, in all its shining vagueness, is probably the most exact description one can give with regards to an album which eschews sharp outlines and strict contours. As often with releases on Mystery Sea, there is more information to be had on the “how” of the composition process than on the “when”. This makes perfect sense, as “Cliffs under the mist” actually draws a lot of inspiration from the notion of dissolving time into a moist mist and of slowing all movement down to absolute zero. For the preparatory sessions to the album, Tzesne visited Quarry Cavila, an old naval bottom close to the Basque country, covering up his microphones to protect them from the burning heat. For hours in a row, his equipment was then left alone to note down every detail of the sea arriving and retreating, leaving nothing but scourged earth and the last remains of prehistoric animals. Garate spends days in this place, allowing the elements to release their secrets in their own time. The mist alluded to in the title is a fog occasionally dragged in by the wind, obscuring all sight. In those moments, all perceptive action is reduced to a single sensation: A feeling of depth, of falling into stillness, of succumbing to a sort of horizontal vortex that draws one in and spews one out again as the whiteness disperses. 
Consequently, the album needs to be listened to with adapted organs. If “huffduff” wanted you to become a wave, then “Cliffs under the mist” asks to be heard with your inner sonar. “The Path” is nineteen minutes of expansive bass bulges, growing in volume and sonority, then dying down again. Flimsy streaks of high-pitch tones are sprinkled on top in patterns of opaquely indicated melody. Towards the middle of the piece, the atmosphere evaporates and leads into a majestic cave, all hight and width and greenly shimmering darkness, which closes things out in a metallic glow, like sharp-edged cymbals being caressed to sleep by a cool breeze. “Sunburnt Skin” starts off even more demurely, but its loose lines gradually develop into two slightly offset, drilling frequencies battling for supremacy and creating an almost homophonous soundscape in the process. In the final installment of the record, “By the dry seas... by the falling leaves”, Txesus Garate manages to keep the listener’s attention for the first minutes of his haunting ghostzone and then, in a miniature big bang, peals a hypnotic closing sequence off a musical vacuum. It doesn’t happen all that often, but in this case, I was truly astounded about how he pulled that off. My suspicion is that Garate, despite all of the mystery surrounding his creations, has a precise map of the aural places he builds. And if you know where to go, it is never far from the intangible to the tangible.

This is the first time that I listen to a solo album by Basque Txesus Garate (aka Tzesne), who uses "combinations of sound textures and field recordings" to produce his body of work under this nom d'art. To get influenced in the best possible way, Tzesne surrounded himself with the natural beauties in the region of Salas De Los Infantes (Burgos), for sure a place where solitude is exalted and whose description brought to my mind heartbreakingly resounding memories. That's another story, though. It must be immediately told that the record - in its fairly linear concept - is very beautiful, at times really sumptuous in its perennial offering of distant murmurs, amplified shadows, gurgling currents, subterranean crawls. The music, which could be vaguely described as a hybrid of Michael Northam's environment-based installations and Lull's static rumbles, unfolds with gradual changes of frequencies and gradations, mostly from dusky drones and dampened loops. Someone would call this "isolationism", but we're not quite there despite the compositional circumstances; as a matter of fact, Garate furnishes the listeners with several access areas, maintaining the control on the consecutiveness of the events yet allowing the extraneous presences (that means us) to keep watching the developments. Trying to locate the derivations of the sonic content is futile and useless: this is something from which we have to be swallowed completely, and that can only be achieved by leaving this mass of sound free of expanding itself in the room (no headphones!). One of the most fascinating recent releases by the Belgian imprint, which gave me back an inch of trust in the genre.
touching extremes

AQUARIUS new arrivals #285  
Latest in the ever expanding sonic microverse that is the Mystery Sea label's super limited, gorgeously curated and meticulously assembled series of night-ocean dronemusic cd-r's. Each limited to 100 copies, and presented in beautiful full color packaging, and every one, a breathtaking disc of dark and meditative minimalism. Fans and obsessive collectors of releases from folks like Jonathan Coleclough, Andrew Chalk, Mirror, Ora, Organum, anything on the Drone Records label and other like minded dronelords, should absolutely consider every Mystery Sea release required listening.
From the Basque region of Spain comes the one man soundscaper known as Tzesne, with previous releases on Drone, Antifrost and a handful of other small labels, this is his first for Mystery Sea, and it's a perfect match. A deft blend of deep billowing blackness, and subtly processed field recordings. Of whispery ambience, and soft focus atmosphere. Three long tracks, that sprawl and drift, dense and ominous, pulsing clouds of muted black buzz, a sonic black cloth draped over a slowly undulating sea of dreamlike murk, and mysterious indistinct sonic activities. It's like laying on the ocean floor, observing life and movement above, all filtered through the dim prism of the constantly shifting waters, everything rendered in smeared streaks, and softly wavering shapes. All three tracks are ultra minimal, near static stretches of deep layered drone. The most musical moment being the second half of the second track, where the various layers coalesce into one thick ribbon of sound, a very Niblockian drone, huge layers all tangled and interwoven, rife with microscopic overtones that transform static shimmer into an intensely (yet still subtly) active sonic swirl. Then it's straight back into the gauzy blurred abyss, underwater, underground, a sleepy staticky world of whir and hum wrapped around the ghostly traces of barely perceptible melodies. So gorgeous. Another disc of perfect late night drift.
Beautiful packaging as always, and again, LIMITED TO 100 COPIES.

SIGNAL TO NOISE # 50|Darren Bergstein   
Cliffs Under the Mist by Tzesne redresses the balance admirably, three quite evocative works of sound painting that is nearest in bodily texture to Onodera’s compositions. Languidly paced, illustrative of gently weeping telegraph wires (“The Path”), particles evaporating on pockmarked surfaces (“Sunburnt Skin”) or the reverberations of rootsystems working up through the earth’s crust (“By the Dry Seas…”), Tzesne’s looping field recordings display real flair, meticulously rendered, layered and treated with an exacting, scientific attention to aural hue. Strange and, yes, quite mysterious to boot.
signal to noise

SONOMU|Stephen Fruitman  
Tzesne is a sound artist from the Basque region of Spain fascinated by its countryside. "The Path" leads us into this world of his, a slowly-evolving one which would appear heralded by this track with the absurdly stretched-out pealing of a giant bell - clapper meeting metal, the long gong, excruciatingly pleasurable reverberation and ultimate disintegration of the sound just short of the twenty-minute mark. Beautifully rendered - even though it probably has nothing to do with bells and my fantasticized reading of what I´ve heard.
The next drone discreetly whirls itself into an off-kilter rotation, quite disorienting on close listening. The hum growing louder as it gives the impression of spiralling downward induces that sickly, vertiginous feeling you have when dreaming of falling - wake up before hitting rock bottom! Fortunately, Tzesne fades out before coming near to the ground.
Finally, "By the dry the falling leaves" is decidedly more airborne; as this particular drone blows past our ears the faintest melody of two or three notes can be discerned in the mix - or maybe it is just implied, or extrapolated, or (again) imagined. Either way, Tzesne has created sonic magic. Here at last I at least "feel" the presence of the cliffs mentioned in the title, sheer faces dropping drastically into the sea, whipped into foam by the jagged rocks below. "By the dry sea..." skirts and plays with this sheer cliffside, getting caught on its outcrops and bending into its indentations. Terrifying, churning seas below but nothing but endless blues skies above.