Rafael Anton Irisarri: The ‘Monday Is OK’ Mix


As if by magic it’s Monday. Again. How did we get here you ask? We don’t have the answers but American composer and multi-instrumentalist Rafael Anton Irisarri has the perfect soundtrack to curb those inevitable beginning-of-the-week feels. 

Known for his immersive ambient productions, Irisarri has released several albums over the years with labels like Immune, A Strangely Isolated Place, Geographic North, Umor Rex and Room40, the latter two being imprints that he’s returned to time and time again. Taking the form of continual compositions, his long players demonstrate his finesse at working with different techniques and textures, adding both classical and contemporary influences into the mix.

By day he works as a mastering engineer at his own Black Knoll Studio in New York, where he has prepared releases for the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Grouper and David August, as well as working regularly with labels like Ghostly International and RVNG Intl. 

Following the release of his new album Peripeteia on Dais Records in May, he blessed us with some recent soothing favourites, most of which he mastered at Black Knoll himself.

Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you, what are you?

Hi, I’m Rafael Anton Irisarri from Black Knoll Studio in New York. I’m a mastering engineer and work on all different styles of predominantly electronic & indie music. My job is to prepare releases for streaming, digital, cassette and vinyl formats. My client roster includes labels like Ghostly International, Temporary Residence LTD, Kranky, RVNG Intl, and many others.

Tell us about the Monday mixtape you’ve put together for us.

I’ve included music I’ve been listening to lately. Many of these songs I’ve mastered in my studio.

If it were to be drawn what would it look like?

A doodle.

If it were a food what would it be?

A mix bag of nuts.

What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?

In a quiet park.

What should we be wearing?

Whatever is comfortable.

Where was it recorded?

At Black Knoll Studio in New York.

Are you on the same wavelength as the boomtown rats or do you actually like Mondays?

Days of the weeks make no difference to me. I’m in the studio seven days a week and I absolutely love what I do.

Who got you hooked on electronic music?

A friend played The Orb for me back in 1995.

Who would you say are your biggest influences and what are you hoping to achieve with your music?

JFC. “To bring laughter and joy to the world.”

What were your original aspirations as musicians and how do you think you’re shaping up?

It’s shaping up pretty, pretty, pretty good.

What was the first electronic record you heard and how did it make you feel?

The Orb – Orbus Terrarum. It felt pretty, pretty, pretty good.

How does your brain work when making music? How does it work when you aren’t?

It works the same way both times.

What were the first and last records you bought?

First album: Iron Maiden – Somewhere in Time. I bought it solely because of the album cover when I was a kid.

Last album: Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe – Thought Withdrawal

What are you obsessed with at the moment?

The sound of the world at 6 am in the morning.

If you could travel in time… where in time would you go? Why?

Maybe 10,000 years into the future. Would love to see what the planet looks like without humans ruining it.

Am I excited to dive into the challenges that I have lined up for the week?

Fuck no.

Am I looking forward to engaging with the people I am meeting or working with?

Hell is other people.

Am I going to my dream job?

Of course.

Am I being compensated fairly for the value I bring to my job?

Not thanks to Spotify, they can piss off. My clients on the other hand are great!

Do I feel energised, rested, and confident?

Fuck no.

If you were trapped on a desert island with one other person, who would you choose?

Does my cat counts?

How long would it be before you eat them?

Not too long.

Your doctor says you need more exercise….what do you take up for exercise?

Unless someone is chasing after me I don’t run, so walking it is.

What’s your answer to everything?


Anything else we need to discuss?

No, unless we are discussing the oppression of BIPOC by an unjust and racist system in the United States.

00:00 – Auxx – Falstaff, in Awe
03:24 – Grouper – Blouse
05:42 – Dedekind Cut – Tahoe
10:24 – OMBRE – Dawning
15:20 – Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe – Paisajes Deslizantes (excerpt)
17:34 – KMRU – logue
21:35 – Julia Kent – Drops
26:08 – HTRK – Female Jealousy
30:08 – Olga Wojciechowska – Labyrinth Made of Labyrinths
34:10 – Forest Management – Perfect Hour
36:53 – Clarice Jensen – Daily
43:10 – Rafael Anton Irisarri – Yearn
47:31 – Dolphin Midwives  -Satya Yuga
51:15 – Christina Vantzou – Sister
55:17 – Benoît Pioulard – Moss Detail

Follow Rafael Anton Irisarri. Buy Peripeteia. Photo credit: Nikita Grushevskiy.