Horizon Matrix – review by Julian Boyce

Horizon Matrix by Max Corbacho

Horizon Matrix – pattern disruptor (Corbacho, 2018, Boyce review #2)
Familiar with the Mandelbrot Set? For those who are, they may discover remarkable similarities between this geometric construct and the music of modern Spanish composer Max Corbacho. I refer in particular to the compositions on his recent release Horizon Matrix (2018). It is a given that music and mathematics are two sides of the same creative coin, right? Simply stated, a Mandelbrot set is a particular shape (or mathematical value) repeated over and again at every scale of size, and that constitutes the building blocks of reality. Begging the question, but what on earth has all this to do with Max Corbacho and electronic music?
Well…everything actually!
A long-form composition segmented into five pieces; Horizon Matrix is the musical equivalent of experiencing a Mandelbrot Set from the impossibly small right up to unimaginably vast. From the beginning of track one a chain of repetitive loops quickly builds an imaginative universe of sounds and emotions. It is always a challenge to describe complex music in the written form, but this may help: imagine a mountain in front of you. Now, imagine the ability to listen to it –, succumbing to the harmony of its massiveness in both time and space. The opening track of Horizon Matrix introduces you to this macro-level of experience. Sounds repeated, twisted and interwoven into something completely different. Creating an ancient and timeless siren song; yet, bang on modern and relevant for today.
Horizon Matrix guides your senses into the very fabric of this mountain. Over successive tracks of shimmering sound, Corbacho interweaves you through the structure towards atomic scale. The flow of music, built upon repeating simple patterns, slowly and indiscernibly encourages (or disrupts) your senses into an extraordinary foam of sounds, shapes and emotions; forever repeating towards one complete state – enrapture.
By the halfway point of Horizon Matrix you are now descending deeper towards the infinitesimally small. Corbacho exquisitely manipulates your senses within the soundscape to deliver you at a point of absolute stillness. An interlude of harmonic quietness – to allow you to both soar and to sink ever deeper into your imagination.
By the closing track, you will find yourself within a place of the micro-cosmic, a world of endless Mandelbrot sound loops. Perhaps, the very fabric of nature itself. As the music fades away you are in a mind state – at one with the impossibly small and/or the immeasurably large. Corbacho’s compositions allowing the revelation of your intrinsic place in our universe.
Horizon Matrix is so much more than the sum of its musical parts. Encouraging the listener to question and answer what the very nature of matter is; through iterated musical patterns that reveal both order and chaos in the same instance. Is this over thinking the creativity behind the music? Perhaps. But surely, if music is the pathway to the inner soul, then Horizon Matrix is a worthy guide to take us there. Max Corbacho has created a musical journey towards a very special horizon – our own.

Genre: Ambient music, space music, atmospheric ambient, drone, soundscapes.

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