Melodrama, this familiar object, has been manipulated as if its contours were obvious, yet it continues to be ill defined. While critics in Latin America have often stated spurious value judgments of the cinematic genre and its literary counterpart—portrayed as cheap, commercial and lapsing into simplicity or complacency to develop a heightened emotional tension and create a grand spectacle—it’s astonishing to see a young and talented composer availing himself of the melodramatic popular song culture in México.
At age 22, the prolific and self-taught Sergio Castelló Fernández has already released under the name Pardo two solo albums made of intricate melancholic piano pieces he had been keeping to himself for sometime. (I should also mention he’s been part of two screamo bands and has been working, with his brother Arturo “Turi” on another musical project called Castelló). Through “Fantasma,” released last January by the Mexican Netlabel MYRDAL, Pardo finally reveals that melodrama must be thought of in terms of inheritance and adaptation. With his smooth and silky voice that echoes Juan Gabriel’s and drifting electronics, the regiomontano skillfully draws a particular aesthetic universe, filled with emotion and extremely evocative melancholy images. Singing "¿Quién iba a decir que yo jamás habría de perdonarme?" the tormented multi-instrumentalist cautiously lays out a story of wretched love. The result is beautifully painful. Pardo’s rich and dense work hovering between shaded sky and storms can all be found on his SoundCloud page.