You are in the presence of a sonic master.

You cannot fail to know this, from the first seconds of experiencing Jose Macabra’s sound.

Immersive, utterly enthralling, mesmerising, hypnotic, transporting, transforming. These paltry words, each of which must be amplified tenfold to be more accurate descriptors, decay with imprecision as I am bathed in the astonishing sounds I am trying to describe.

This is music to invade one’s psyche, fill one’s soul, infuse into the very fibres of one’s being in a manner that can be achieved by only the finest and most enduring of artists. This is dark, existential music that punctures one’s chest and wraps its grasp around one’s beating heart, demanding total attention as one is bathed in its relentless sonic flux.

Such musical agility, such versatility, such precision strokes of sound, such suppleness and intelligence and litheness underpin these devastatingly brilliant sonic sculptures.

One senses so many influences, from the industrial and noise scenes, together with a legion of related genres such as ritual and the darker flavours of techno, blended with sound art, art brut and experimental music. What is rather more striking than a mere list of influences that occur to this particular listener’s ear, is the cohesive aesthetic — Macabra’s voice, vision, sound, style, art — into which these influences have been infused. It is Macabra’s voice we hear, its intelligence and insight and vision, tinctured with these influences but utterly transcending them. Behold, the rarest of emergences: the birth of a new voice.

Macabra is masterful in such a range of styles, underground and overground. His aural and emotional volumes range from a whisper to a scream, a whimper to an orgasm, a sigh to an apocalypse. Here is such a rich variety of emotional colours, characteristically dark, but also blended with a certain exuberance, especially in many of the beat-driven works. Ranging from the apocalyptic to the joyous, these genuinely powerful sounds are always challenging in the positive senses of the term, always inviting the listener to explore sonic vistas that break new and ever-fresh ground.

We live in times where the flux of so-called experimental music and related genres is a nigh-infinite avalanche of largely indifferent shades of grey mediocrity. Macabra’s music is a beacon whose brilliance stiletto-pierces such drab surrounds, drenching it in the radiance of genuine musical mastery.

David M. Paganin, November 2017



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