Mexican composer José Orozco Mora presents four minimal exhibitions of a tuning system centred on 53 equal divisions of the octave (53 EDO), inspired by Mora's studies of the work of Mexican microtonal theorist/composer Augusto Novaro. Consisting of clusters of warm, held tones – sometimes staggered like number station cosigns, sometimes in pulsing unison – the record feels akin to arranging strips of coloured felt into shattered flags, displaying an affection for the sheer simplicity of textures in themselves, and textures in combination. There's a gentle degradation as if these studies have been steeping on a 90s cassette tape, softening any hard edges, pulling listener attention away from the textural surfaces and onto the innards: the little overtone whistles that push up through the hums, the jostling throbs as 53 EDO pushes two or more tones into playful, pulsing deliberation.
Crucially all four pieces are founded on either loops or a droning persistence, as if Mora is suggesting that the charms of this tuning aren't all instantly rendered audible, instead arranged into a parade that plays out over eight minutes of deepening attention. A balance is struck between compositional progression and stillness, allowing the listener to familiarise themselves with a given harmonic formation before Mora introduces an additional detail that prompts a recalibration of the whole thing. Through Mora's introduction to this tuning, one gathers the potential of 53 EDO to be a rich and responsive system, within which a mere two-note combination provokes wonderful unfurlings of rhythm and enticingly ambiguous mood.