Dina & Christopher Alvarado
The Opal Mirror
Dina & Christopher Alvarado = Sleep Clinic + Architect Negative Crush
France’s Fraction Studio has been establishing itself as an essential place for the creation of ambient and dark electronic music for over 30 years now. One of Salt Lake City’s very own artists, Christopher Alvarado, has reached across the ocean and infiltrated the label with his tranquilizing sounds. This time, he has teamed up with French musician Dina. The music they have created is soothing, stimulating and intriguing. It is some of the best ambient, downtempo music I have heard in a while. It allows your mind to escape and also has the ability to provoke movement, which is a rarity in ambient music.
The track “Tension” begins with a layered 4-beat compilation of tones, and it picks up the pace pretty quickly. It incorporates a spicing of several sounds, like the beating of old pipes and the occasional crash. The hypnotic, driving, pulsating beats seem to pull your mind into a dark vortex. I loved this, but I felt that I was left hanging—there was no climax. The continuous build had me expecting something monumental, and it just never surfaced. At times, I was simply counting beats and an annoying “one, two, three, four” ran through my mind. I was delighted with a tease of a “wub-wub” modulation every now and then to break up the count. This is a great track, but I felt it could have advanced further. I did enjoy the layering of the sound manipulation behind the main beats, which was interesting, as it changed frequently. “Fragile” was a slow, saddening piece with its monk chant and wave-like sound—it pulls your mind into focusing on the depressing things in life. It will make you feel and bring focus on the darker things that are happening in life.
Overall, The Opal Mirror is an exquisite release, and if you are into ambient music I recommend you grabbing the free download. It is a must for your library. It relaxes and moves you. Dark electronic music is supposed to make you feel, and this music does exactly that. –Mistress Nancy