Friday, August 23, 2013

Video: Capullo - "Adiós Sonámbulos"


Can we all agree that promo cycles are always ridiculously drawn out? In my opinion, pop albums should have about the same lifespan as all of Rihanna’s: one year. Unless you’re a band by the name of Capullo, in which case, keep the videos coming. Testigos del fin del mundo has proven itself to be a favorite that could stick around another two, three Rihanna releases and you would never hear any of us complain. On the just-released clip, “Adiós Sonámbulos,” digital artist Lepapel takes the most hyper/borderline Yasutaka Nakata cut from Testigos and pairs it with even more dizzying digital confection, highlighting tarot card-inspired panic and drama with emoticons and colorful screensavers. Scratch the above opening sentencecan we all agree Capullo should produce the first great internet soap opera?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wild Honey - Big Flash

Big Flash, Wild Honey
Lazy Recordings/Lovemonk, Spain
Rating: 79
by Souad Martin-Saoudi 

The insatiable Guillermo Farre continues to move forward in the glittering territory he began to explore with Epic Handshakes and a Bear Hug (2009). Riding along the avenues, alleyways, and discreet tree-lined passages of his creation, he has reached the whimsical lands of Wild Honey. The aerial textures of the guitars and keyboards, the vocal harmonies and the reverb arrangements that were hallmarks of past Wild Honey works now act as signals of Farre’s thorough understanding of sound aesthetics to shine brighter. Farre abandoned home production and enlisted one of his musical heroes, Tim Gane from Stereolab, to help with production. The creative union appears to be fruitful in all respects as gentle warmth nestled in serenity emanates from this sunny album recorded at soundmagic studios in Berlin. Wild Honey attains a much clearer sound that best serves those sometimes-wistful, sometimes-lighthearted '60s-influenced melodies and harmonies. 

The Madrileño maintains his anecdotal and sensitive way of writing, yet deploys it on more intricate and elaborately decorated soundscapes. All tracks are multi-layered, even kaleidoscopic, echoing the collage on the cover. The sweet and bouncy album’s opener “An Army Of Fat Synths” rather perfectly blends the naivety in Farre’s voice with forceful percussion and retro-futuristic accents (brainchild of both Gane's and Farre’s sonic explorations and recollections). On “The Kite And Captain John” it seems like softness and finesse met denial and melancholy. Farre intones, “Let’s pretend that nothing changes but the weather,” with an awareness that inevitably results in a twinge of sorrow and a small knot in the throat of the listener. The mood is instantly brightened by the tambourine-inflected “It's All In The Film.” He is strangely reassuring in his tone while the surf-rock guitar just sways. The aerial synths and soft back vocals of “My Memory May Also Be A Wish” give a gliding sensation to this tale on selective memory. “Gothic Fiction” seems like a jolly number with added sunny groove and country flavor, yet emotion shows through when he sings about not being there for a friend in need. The sound of breaking waves that opens “See How Hard My Heart Is Beating” provides depth in a moment, using the depth of a moment. The tides and Farre’s inflections set the senses, drive out any agitation, and plunge into reveries.

Big Flash follows into a tribute to one of the initiators of avant-garde music in Brazil. “Rogério Duprat Looks Out The Window” alludes to the composer’s involvement with computer music while being backed by string arrangement. The energetic “The Newlyweds” contains a good dose of reverb with a bit of a psychedelia element. “Tooth Tree," as the title suggests, is a sentimental and idealistic number that somewhat recalls the work of Elliot Smith, though the blissful backing vocals bring us closer to twee territory. “Keyboards Under A Microscope” is a bossa nova-tinged tune on mysteries of the unknown.  On “Scissors In Hand” Farre whispers, “Greg Shaw, scissors in hand was here before,” referring to the fanzine publishing era of the Los Angeles-based label owner and rock and roll authority.  The album ends with the ethereal “Cleopatra," the shortest track of the pack. Punctuated by tambourine and what could be cat vocals or string chords, the banjo tune creates a sense of peacefulness.

The multi-instrumentalist presents a short and crazed collection of charmingly dysfunctional situations and backdrops derived from tones that actually never appear redundant. As with his last effort, the deliciously retro and saccharine 32-minute-long Big Flash calls for repeated listens to justly reveal all of its facets and brilliance. It’s with time that the 12 catchy anthemic songs burst—just like the album art, halfway between a chromatic circle and a paper made fire works—into mini incandescent explosions of joy.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Juana Molina - "Eras"


Where have you been Juana? Five years after an outstanding contribution to the Rudo y Cursi soundtrack and the otherworldly album Un Día (the title track of which still knocks our socks off for its sheer alien id), the Argentine ex-comedienne (there's a comic book villain for you) has dropped the first single from upcoming album, Wed 21. "Eras" doesn't sound immediately too distant from Molina's last offerings, but it's tighter, not only in time but in its ideas. While the tracks on Un Día were allowed to unwind (sometimes to the point of languishing), "Eras" doesn't linger (though it's no less complex).

Hollow beats introduce drones, high hat, and what sounds like a mouth harp made of rubber bands, building layers of lace. Molina creates holes: spaces of sound that make each new listen reveal something new about the shape of the track. As soon as you think you're listening to electronic, there's a bass moving the track through jazz via blues, but always skewed by Molina's intense, yet oddly laconic, vocals and pulsating (kinda manic) rhythm. By the three minute mark, you feel like you've heard three songs. Those holes are rabbit-like; it's easy to slip down one and lose concentration, like Alice hypnotized by the golden afternoon. And at 3:20 you drift off counting sheep/bars, before being woken by a deep exhale. It's like the physical manifestation of letting five years of bottled up creativity out. Ahhh...there you are, Juana.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Pipe Llorens - "Ya no se usa el amor"


We hadn't heard much from "Coahuila's bad boy" since he got hitched and had a kid, so we started thinking that maybe the age old "Can women have it all?" question also applies to one-hit rap wonders. Turns out Coahuila's coolest dad is still pretty bad and has been cooking up an album in between bottles and diaper changes.

"Ya no se usa el amor," first track from Llorens' upcoming album, sees him back in prime "Dame un besito" form with the quietly cutting verses and nonchalant delivery that make him such a compelling artist. The track introduces us to also Torreon-based Rabia Rivera, who brings more of a bite to the track with her assertive cadence and precision, but still softens in the end with the "eres un cabron" hook, which ends up more playful than spiteful. The cheesy horn might have totally killed the song if we we didn't know that you never ever take Pipe Llorens too seriously.

Produced by Mauricio Garza—who has worked with everyone from Timbiriche to Cartel de Santa, was recommended to Llorens by Zoe's Sergio Acosta, and by a strange twist of fate ended up Llorens' cousin-in-law—the new album will be out in the next few weeks if Llorens was right when he said, "Dios bendiga los horoscopos que estan a mi lado." Shout out Susan Miller and Walter Mercado.
 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Video: Siberium - "Feit" feat. Inkjet


In a period when chillwave acts may no longer draw grand relevance, Tijuana’s young newcomer Rodrigo Luviano, working under the Siberium pseudonym, offers a fresh spin. The artist crept onto the scene with “Mare Crisium,” reminiscent of Girl Unit's codeine-synth build ups, and with the kind of mood-shifting intricacy found in Zutzut’s “Agua Negra” that determined his taste towards deep ambient plus darkwave penumbras. Siberium recently struck back quietly with “Feit,” the second cut off his debut EP W A X. Throwing in an ethereal, Thom Yorke-inspired vocal performance by buddy Inkjet is a questionable aesthetic choice, yet the track unwraps dreamily, revealing the most beautiful spaces in unsung sections. And the trance-inducing clip, directed by Luviano, adequately pairs with its glints.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Video: Gepe - "Lluvia, diente, lluvia"


The news of Gepe releasing a music video for “Lluvia, diente, lluvia” (one of the less memorable numbers from GP) raised some eyebrows, but the visual offer turns out to be nothing short of a slice-of-brilliant. Helmed by Chilean production/publicity house Merced, “Lluvia, diente, lluvia” embraces the song’s smallness and offers it the right frame and proportions for a narrative bloom. Daniel Riveros’ dynamic self sits in bed looking exhausted, unresponsive, and soulless. The camera pans like a bobblehead yearning for the slightest gesture, as does the sexy girlfriend who penetrates the miniature canvas and gives it her all. The caffeinated Gepe stays seated, comatose and unimpressed. Victorious, perhaps. It’s small and calm, but carries a comedic rhythm in the pulse of Jim Jarmusch, Fernando Eimbcke, and Noah Baumbach. It’s not even two minutes long, and yet it hits you deep. Perhaps Gepe's most memorable clip yet.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Silva de Alegría - Polifónica Polinesia

Polifónica Polinesia, Silva de Alegría
Independiente, Mexico
Rating: 72
by Sam Rodgers

There's much to appreciate on Silva de Alegría's several-years-brewing instrumental EP, Polifónica Polinesia, especially for those suffering wanderlust. The Furland leading man is showing off his understanding of landscape composition, as Mr. Reyes so eloquently put it in his review of Silva's previous EP, Geografía Nacional, but here, free from a lyrical layer, the tracks are much more open for the listener to explore. It's an open record. It's vast, even at only 16 minutes long—as spacious as the Pacific, which is as close a reference to Polinesia as can be found, bar opening track/intro “Estrella Artesia,” which has a palm tree quality to it. The rest of the album, a compilation, really, of several instrumental pieces Silva worked on in 2009, spends more time in the air, above the water, looking down. For the compact time of each track, there's another far-below island to ponder.

Second track, “Mapamundi”, sums this up nicely by title alone, a dotted red line and a plane making its way from Mexico City to Tokyo. In fact, it's reminiscent of the work Kevin Shields did for the Lost in Translation soundtrack, which is highlighted by the close and opening of third track's Japanese loudspeaker background noise. “Mapamundi” travels the furthest at just over four minutes long, retaining a forward momentum with incessant piano chords, yet combining the introspection of long flights (higher notes chime like call buttons), and the anticipation of the next chapter upon arrival. One step ahead of the listener, Silva names the next track “La Crisálida del Aire,” adding the ambient soundscape of an airport.

“De Vuelta al Naranja” could be a speed boat skipping across a lagoon at sunset, it could be a seabird's extended wing feathers, gliding (strings swell and introduce synth ripples on the water). It's beautiful, wanky-metaphor-inducing stuff. “Milagros,” the most 'organic' sounding track, earthbound (lower piano register) but triumphant (horns), closes the first part of the album. Perhaps it could also be the return trip, the traveler full of experience. There's a minute pause before two closing numbers: “Superluna Remanente en Radio,” a fantastic play with speed and headphones and hidden track “Camuflaje Ignorado por un Globo,” which revisits motifs of what came before it, adding guitar you didn't realize was missing.

The ideas running through all tracks makes this instrumental release cohesive, if not an academic exercise for the listener. When you've just gotten lost in an expanse of arrangement, the track ends, or, as with “Superluna Remanente en Radio,” you can appreciate its structure and shape, but you're left wondering what it meant. However, these are minor quibbles for an easy-listen (in the good way) EP that is really just a generous offer of what was put together years ago. It still reinstates the sonic mastery of its creator and furthers the anticipation for a long player. Hopefully an indulgent soundtrack in length?



Monday, August 5, 2013

MP3: Midiset - "Lobo"


Were the folks at Michita Rex actually counting on the world to end in 2012? Up until a few months ago (thanks to solid releases from ESDLCP and Samanta), output from the Chilean netlabel had slowed down at an upsetting rate, admittedly causing us to either lose interest or forget about the many highlights first sampled on Música para el fin del mundo. Now that they’re back in the swing of things, we’re eager to finally hear new material from a growing list of Michita “bands to watch,” starting with Midiset.

On the follow-up to their synth-flexing jewel “Rebaje de Ipanema” Midiset tap further into their dance leanings with “Lobo.” The shimmering restraint that opens the track reads like the first taste of freedom for a creature raised in captivity. While we observe the precarious challenge of adjusting to this new life, the song unravels against some breathtaking sights—a panoramic buildup set to a pantropical beat. Coinciding with its feral transformation is something of an antithesis to “En la naturaleza.” Nature is neither cruel nor hostile; it does what it does, but that can also sometimes be beautiful. Grab the single below, and download the maxi-single featuring reworks by Diegors, Megajoy, and others.



Saturday, August 3, 2013

Video: Buscabulla - "Sono"


Puerto Rican designer/musician/DJ/babe Raquel Berrios has a thing with old things. As a DJ, she spins salsa, tropicalia, and funk from the '70s and '80s, to the delight of her fellow Brooklynites. As a stylish lady, she resuscitates other people’s throwaways into the hippest of outfits. And as Buscabulla, she samples obscure musical gems of yore in songs that are very much of the now.

Case in point: the wistful, hazy “Sono” and its retro-geometric Super 8 video. The track blends samples from Cuban psych outfit Grupo de Experimentación Sonora del ICAIC with fuzz guitar, xylophone, '90s hip-hop beats, and Berrios’s own whispery vocals for a super-chill summery delight. The video, directed by Brooklyn-based set designer and visual artist Roy Delgado, perpetuates this blissful feel with washed out tropical scenery from the Botanic Garden Sculpture Park in San Juan, a hippy-meets-disco-era aesthetic, and occasional witchy vibes.

This is only Buscabulla’s second song so far (after last fall’s cover of Tite Curet Alonso’s “Tu Loco Loco y Yo Tranquilo”), though there are rumblings of an EP by the end of the year. To tide you over, peep the SONOSOLAR mixtape on her Soundcloud, which happens to feature “Sono.”