Iro Aka : Passatge de les Ombres Review
Iro Aka is a Barcelonian Tribal House duo comprised of Carles Rocamora and David Iriarte. Together they create a music defined by an eclectic, downtempo, house, techno, and ambient sound, but they prefer to call it timeless multicultural music. Iro Aka is releasing their debut album titled Passatge de les Ombres. The two describe the album’s development as “a journey through the shadows and lights derived from the global crisis.” The album title, Passatge de les Ombres, is inspired by the Japanese term ‘ukiyo,’ which in the Buddhist tradition could be translated as “world of misery,” but that later came to refer to the hedonist lifestyle that developed in the cities of the Edo-period Japan. This later evolved into a term that began to be used to describe the way the city dwellers forgot their problems through cultural activities and Epicurean pleasures. Passatge de les Ombres draws a parallel between that two-sided concept and the current situation, evoking a trip through a symbolic tunnel in which darkness and introspection intersect with escapism and hope.
“Temple” opens with an atmospheric intro that builds to the percussion entrance and, eventually, a soft female voice. The meditative landscape leads us through various colors, electronic sounds, and relatively indiscriminate speaking. The song builds to create an emotional impact through respective sounds offset by ever-changing elements floating in and out. Iro Aka builds a soundscape that is inviting and relaxing.
“Zorro Colorado” builds upon layers of ostinatos and spoken words. The focus on rhythm is central to this track, and Rocamora and Iriarte have the ability to keep each layer audible and melodic. The bassline is full, moving, and acts as a rich underpinning. Though the music is active, it never gets to the level of distracting or obnoxious. Iro Aka strikes a balance between activity and repetitive motifs.
Passatge de les Ombres is a decidedly thoughtful musical journey representing the emotional development experienced during this difficult time of Covid-19. Yet, the music champions there is always a ray of light amidst darkness.
Passatge de les Ombres
September 7, 2020