Denovali presents Spark and Earth, the ninth full length album from acclaimed NYC-based composer and performer Mario Diaz de Leon. Long celebrated for his electroacoustic chamber music, Spark and Earth is the first of Diaz de Leon’s solo albums to foreground his performance as a metal guitarist, alongside a vividly textured electronic ensemble of terse synth stabs, woodwind and vocal timbres, floor rattling synth bass, and propulsive kick drums. Songs such as Cruces, Templo, Kepha, and Elemental evoke rave-metal anthems, foregrounding a vibrant alchemy of thrash guitars with percussive synths. Aqua, Breath of God, and Carnelian seamlessly weave lead and chiming guitar lines with meticulously charted electronics and hammered dulcimer timbres. Carnelian charts the alluring flow of a single melodic line through the instruments of the ensemble, while the haunting analog synth interplay of Mirror Spirit recalls the vivid electroacoustic works of previous releases. Over nine songs and 30 minutes, Spark and Earth is an alchemical journey through Diaz de Leon’s electronic chamber metal.
Since 2009, Diaz de Leon has released four recordings of his collaborations with chamber ensembles (Interna- tional Contemporary Ensemble, Talea, TAK), while from 2012-2016 he produced three solo electronic albums under the project name Oneirogen. With the two-song album Heart Thread (2022), he began releasing electronic works under his own name. His music has been celebrated over the last decade for its “hallucinato- ry intensity” (New York Times), “snarling exuberance” (Pitchfork), and “remarkable textures and vivid atmosphere” (New Yorker Magazine). As collaborator, he is guitarist and vocalist in the extreme metal duo Luminous Vault (Profound Lore Records), and performs synth and drum machine in Bloodmist, an electroacoustic improvisation trio with Jeremiah Cymerman and Toby Driver. In 2023, he collaborated with Eartheater and members of Krallice in a performance of songs from her album Trinity. Since 2019, he has taught at Stevens Institute of Technology as Assistant Professor of Music and Technology.