Paisajes de Invierno, Installed
Grabaciones Amor, USA
by Carlos Reyes
Sometimes it’s best to sell yourself short and surprise the hell out of them. Whether it’s watching a seemingly self-effacing, but virtuous, contestant on a reality show, or finding out Jessica Alba has great taste in music, eventually one comes to find out that the unveiling of our multi-layered personas is a response straight from the intellect. As far as layered and unassuming characters go, Chicano newcomer Fernando Alvarez has the skill to intertwine the expressive chords between the thinker and emotional self. Installed’s debut album, Plancha, was last year’s overlooked indie jewel–a record whose prolonged recognition equals its profound meaning and reasoning. Early this year, Installed released his second installment, Paisajes de Invierno, a shorter package that is nonetheless earning the atemporal description already.
Installed’s second set of songs plays like a winter afternoon at the kite park. Tethered aircrafts whose success at showmanship depends not only on the pressure of the wind, but also on the touch of the person holding the string. It’s the world of ambiance–unmeasured excitement in uncompromised surroundings. Installed’s musical proficiency isn’t constituted by the methods of his approach, but rather by the pouring of melodic incentive. Paisajes de Invierno is expansive and unsealed. When Installed questions “A donde va a el sol?” in the view-adjusting opener “Oso,” he does it in an ascending way–like setting up the imminent journey to self-realization as he expands “sol” into “solo,” sighing, “cuando ando solo me siento mucho mejor.” Very few things are assorted here, and yet it’s the assembly of loops and constitution of vocal sampling that ultimately give Installed a pair of wings.
Left-side ideas and detonations of literal patterns would deflate if it weren’t for the fact that there is melodic content throughout the nine-piece album. Fernando Alvarez is versatile in his vocal delivery–the dude cries, grouches, croons, and exorcises in accord to his melodic mood. He plays Twister like Matias Aguayo in “Paz,” goes skeletal like Bradford Cox in “En Mi Cuarto,” and swims in the mellow infrastructures of Café Tacvba in “Un Amigo.” In the same way, the indiscrete and less-than-pristine production demands this album to be transferred (or at least imagined) to all existing physical formats (CD, vinyl, and cassette). Yes, it’s nostalgic in all surfaces.
Paisajes de Invierno’s beauty is also lyrical. Promotional single “Brochacho” carries the anthemic feel of a newly formed fraternity–one based in the exploitation of wealth, unwarranted revelry, and laziness. It is, however, the breathing-through-the-wound ballad “Siempre” that becomes the heart of the album. This is the track where Alvarez grasps from the nuance and the raptorial. Pop auterism at its best. In all its magnetism, it’s hard to come up with a prefix for someone like Installed. He’s too extroverted to be a songwriter and too withdrawn from technique to be a producer. Installed is probably not confused or even bothered to find the proper depiction, as it is unlikely he would add his musical leisure to his business card anytime soon. Although he probably should–he makes music that is unforgiving, and that’s a trait that shimmers from his egoless heroism.