Experimental artists are becoming increasingly imaginative and dramatic, both in their recorded concepts and, perhaps more so, in a live setting. New techniques of capturing evocative sounds are being thought of, barebones homemade instruments are being invented, and intimately unabashed, creative ways of engaging audiences in matters of the “wholly personal,” are being utilized. Horoscope, the new singular project of René Nuñez, is a raw, inimitable performance art piece, both on record and live. His debut record, El espejo y el mar, having only been completed in one or two takes per track in his home, is something that may very well not be replicated onstage, ever, just as his live presence is something that may very well never be conveyed on a record.
For instance, “Cortado Con Leche” was recorded in his shower, and it makes sense. Reverbed steaming and slurping sounds paint a somewhat backdrop from which bassy electronics emerge, and then overtake. It indeed sounds like some grotesque espresso machine at work, but this is something you probably won’t be seeing at a Horoscope show. You might, however, see a wine bottle emptied into a metallic bowl with electronics hooked up to the inside, which pick up the gurgling, gasping uncertainty of the performance and engulf you in it. You might then see Nuñez set Polaroids and letters on fire and drop them into the mixture. You might see him alternate between humbled meditations on his knees, and sprawling out on the floor, or pounding a wall in writhing pain. And then you might never see that happen again. No matter what, experiencing Horoscope, either at one of his shows, or on El espejo y el mar, and then perhaps differing from listen to listen within this record, is to be in the presence of something inventive, immersive, and moving.
El espejo y el mar is out December 4 on Wharf Cat Records.