Review: Laura Luna Castillo – Tuberose

WHITED SEPULCHRE.

Imagine Tuberose as a mobile hung from the ceiling. The entire structure rotates gently, while the individual branches find their own rhythm, spinning in opposing directions and at disparate speeds, connected and contradictory. There is no singular depiction of mood or time. Instead, the elements – sporadic dots of electronics, orphaned orchestral motifs, metallic scrapes of shadowed spaces, metronomised footsteps – feel like snippets cut from different photographs, some in damp sepia, some in lucid full colour, all twirling in memorial to their individual source experiences.

Yet despite feeling like separate entities, these sounds are undoubtedly engaged in plant-like dialogue with eachother. They communicate through means unseen, even as they give the impression of being concerned only with their own unfolding. Aptly for a record inspired by the book The art of perfumery, and method of obtaining the odors of plants by G.W. Septimus Piesse, the culminative effect is thick and complicated; Castillo generates an aromatic complexity that aligns with neither sweetness nor bitterness nor intrigue, but all at once.

There’s one anomalous moment of clarity. Initially framed by gloomy percussive clunks, the orchestral loop on “This Process Is Conducted Cold” breaks outward and upward as if too radiant to contain. For two minutes Tuberose feels triumphantly singular, majestic without the undercutting dissonances of doubt and darkness, as if briefly lifted above those counterforces that might subdue it. This sudden, breathtaking beauty is rendered doubly vibrant for the subtlety of Castillo’s handling of mood elsewhere. Similarly, such a direct emotional impact only works to highlight how elegantly the rest of the record reaches across the whole spectrum of human feeling.