Over the past decade or so, there has been a strange, idiosyncratic bubbling from New York - sonic adventures emerging under the banner of Rvng. The imprint was founded quietly during the mid 2000’s, gathering ever increasing note and renown, while never allowing themselves to be easily defined. Genre and association mean little, in the face of the guiding light of discovery, integrity, and surprise. A short while back, we caught wind of a new sub-label, emerging under the banner of RVNG - Freedom To Spend, with their first two releases – Marc Barreca’s Music Works For Industry and Michele Mercure’s Eye Chant, positioning themselves to raise the already high bar. The imprints third effort is cause for true celebration, the reissue of Pep Llopis’ stunning masterwork Poiemusia La Nau Dels ArgonautesPep Llopis is a sinfully overlooked member of the European movement of musical Minimalism, in part, like many of his continental contemporaries, because of the difficult in locating and classifying his work. He was, and remains, an artist willing to break with orthodox sets of aesthetics and rules, and long misunderstood.
Poiemusia La Nau Dels Argonautes was originally issued in 1987 by the Spanish imprint Grabaciones Accidentales. For decades it remained overlooked - misunderstood an artifact of the New Age movement, rather than where it rightly belonged. In recent years, the result of a broad movement of cultural reappraisal, it has become one of the most hunted holy grail LPs for fans of Minimalism and Ambient music, staggering prices placing it out of reach for most. Like the work of Ariel Kalma, Giusto Pio, Ragnar Grippe, Luis Delgado, Hiroshi Yoshimura, and so many others, all of which suffered similar fates, it is an album which demands being approached entirely on his own terms – which refuses to bend to existing presumptions of what a music should be. Poiemusia La Nau Dels Argonautes was conceived for the Poiemusia in 1986 – a spoken word and music festival in Valencia, and was recorded shortly after. It’s a synchronistic hybrid, drawing on, and enveloping, the work of the poet Salvador Jàfer, who performed with Llopis at the festival, as well as on the LP. It grew from an attempt to combine poetry and music, but its strength emerges from a resistance of the literal, or an obvious path – Jàfer’s words and ideas offering structure to its content and generation of sound, becoming one with them, sublimating themselves, as though into the sea on which they dwell. The totality is one of the great lost works of musical minimalism. Perhaps more difficult, but as deserving of celebration as the recently resurrected masterworks of Kalma, Pio, Grippé and Midori Takada. A missing piece of the puzzle. A part of an inconvenient body of truth, long obscured. It is an album filled with beauty, humanity, layered dimensions of the poetic, sweeping resonance, ambience, and repetitive rigour – arpeggiating and repeating cycles of notes, culminating in a body which is as seductive as it is dislocating.
The reissue of Poiemusia La Nau Dels Argonautes is a moment be celebrated far and wide. A lost work from history, of singular importance and creative distinction - to be heralded for what is is, what its stretches toward – the places it goes, and the breadth of territory it treads. This one won’t last for long. Grab it while you can.