Geografia Nacional, Silva de Alegría
by Carlos Reyes
It’s hard not to feel relentlessly amused when talking about Sergio Silva. Over the last few years he has percolated into the cream of the crop of Mexican pop, gaining fans and guides along the way like Natalia Lafourcade, Café Tacvba, and Julieta Venegas. And yet he keeps both feet outside of the pop elite, standing on a precursory position as a conciliator between rock stars and songstresses. He has certainly made good use of that site. As the leading composer/vocalist of Furland, Silva has engrossed the attention of an intercontinental audience and should have no problem doing the same with his solo act, Silva de Alegría.
Silva is a Renaissance man, and unlike fellow Mexican caballeros Juan Manuel Torreblanca and Tony Gallardo, he claims to be whistling from joy. His debut four-track EP Geografía Nacional seems unaffected by the nation’s political environment or concerned for thematic escapisms. But don’t ever think of Silva as an insensitive man, think of him as a performer pitching emotion through his symphonic heart. Silva’s composition is one of personal crest, crafting self-serving orchestrated journeys that are eventually wrapped around lyrical landscapes to travel abroad. The way “La Campana” travels from whimsical doubt to a volatile benediction shows just how well measured and in control the artist is.
While Silva has the voice of an eternally pre-pubescent boy, one should not doubt his skill for diverging sounds to be actively accessed and engaged. In this regard, the colossal-sounding title, font, and surrounding yellow frame go from campy to proficient–even if only in the melodic world. Geografía Nacional is aware of its miniature size against a scientific nature and surely blooms from its epic nature. The jointed track “Otra Vez / Crayon Pony Fish” starts classicist (and on a somber note) and builds up to beautiful kid imagery (with great Paul Simon and Sufjan Stevens harmonious ideas put into practice). There’s a distinctive resourcefulness to this music (he really knows how to landscape sound), and, luckily, he keeps things accessible enough for anyone willing to grasp.
The second half of the short EP is a paean expedition to slower and miniature times. “There’s nothing better than happiness. Nothing that can buy the calm of having seen love,” sings Silva as he also describes a scenery of flourishing moments accompanied by birds, urban machinery, and sunrises. Closing/bonus track “Lento” is a special track here at Club Fonograma, as it was the opening track on our celebratory compilation Nosotros Los Rockers. During the selection of the tracks Silva de Alegría might not have been our immediate choice to do a cover for Café Tacvba, but, really, who could’ve described the walking of a caterpillar from a leaf’s stem to the humid, resting soil with such lucid simplicity? Silva’s livelihood in the expansion of folk mediation/meditation seems somehow assured. Even at its 15min length, Geografía Nacional is beautifully weathered–the beginning of a tender expedition and a lot of greatness to come.