Refree: El Espacio Entre review – Barcelona producer’s haunting minimalism

Commissioned to write the soundtrack for a restored print of The Cursed Village, a classic of Spanish silent cinema, Barcelona’s Raül Refree decided to extend the film’s bleak atmosphere and theme of displacement on this concept album, which translates as The Space Between. Having started out in the 1990s in hardcore bands (Barcelona Corn Flakes), Refree has become prolific as both producer and composer. Here he incorporates pieces from another soundtrack, for Un año, una noche (2022), a film about a traumatised couple who survived the terrorist attack on Paris’s Bataclan theatre.

Lightness and joy are clearly not the moods being explored, but the combination of minimalist piano compositions such as Las Migraciones Nocturnas and more experimental excursions proves potent. The standouts are Refree’s treatments of classical madrigals. Monteverdi’s Lamento della ninfa is reworked, its female soprano voice shimmering ghost-like among strings. There are reflective Hispanic guitar pieces such as Lo que esconden, a doleful choir on Lamentos de un día cualquiera, and on La radio en la cocina a spar between acoustic guitar and radio static. With its assorted styles and pieces lasting between 30 seconds and five minutes, the album’s diversity is also its shortcoming, albeit from a fascinating creator.