Juana Molina, who had already
released the modest collection of Rara (1996) when she was mainly
a television actress,
found her calling in the new century, coining a personal form of
bedroom folktronica for voice, guitar, electronics and percussion.
Electronic effects permeated Segundo (2003)
to the point that they (the effects) became the protagonists of the stories, and the ethereal ambience became the ultimate meaning of those stories.
Molina's whispered vocals are just one of the instruments, a sort of flute
that meanders in a labirynth of audio tricks.
African polyrhythms bestow a swampy, "forth world", disoriented feeling on Martin Fierro, with Molina's voice working almost like Jon Hassell's trumpet.
The spacey vocals and the raga-jazzy arrangement of El Desconfiado
evoke the hippy chants of the 1960s.
The folkish lullaby El Pastor Mentiroso is like a deformed mirror
image of Enya's music.
Molina does not seem to hold on to a center of mass as she drifts from the
mellow lounge muzak of Quien? to the
bouncy pop of Que Llueva!, from the
sinister voodoo dance of Misterio Uruguayo to the
odd instrumental fanfare of Medlong.
The longer pieces have time to unravel more than just a cute arrangement: the
trippy downtempo shuffle of El Perro,
the electronic bubbling and tribal dancing of Mantra Del Bicho Feo (virtually an instrumental),
the fast blues rigmarole and electronic jazz-blue jam of Sonamos,
Molina sounded something like
a colder Bjork and a happier Lisa Germano on the more elegant Tres Cosas (2004).
The anemic instruments did not do much to strengthen the fragile vocals in the
tenderly waltzing No Es Tan Cierto and the ethereal
nursery rhymes El Cristal and
Salvese Quien Pueda, sunnier and more accomplished melodies than in
The renewed melodic emphasis is confirmed by Tres Cosas, despite the
out of tune keyboards, and by the folkish lullaby
while the wordless shuffle iUh! injects some rhythm into a fundamentally
Yo Se Que is instead typical of Molina's humbler and shier mode,
in which both the vocal and the instrumental parts are hinted and not fully
fleshed out, and even hijacked by alien effects.
Her voice is protagonist of the hymn Isabel and of the
lament Curame, songs that are as rarified as possible.
The voice often manages to straddle the border between neoclassical and
childish, notably in the piano-based aria Insensible that closes the
On the other hand, Filter Taps is pure surreal ambience.
Son (2006) was a more organic and "adult" album, almost a return
to the format of the pop song.
She had rarely sounded as conventional as she sounds in Rio Seco and
La Verdad, the songs that emphasize
the melodic skills of the previous album.
Molina attains a bizarre kind of enlightenment in
the more atmospheric pieces, like the wordless Yo No that towards the
end coalesces into an upbeat melodic ditty,
or the feathery Son, drenched in dilated sounds,
or the ecstatic wordless jam Un Beso Llega, that ends in sidereal
The hyper-downbeat blues Las Culpas de facto belongs to another album.
The longest piece, the eight-minute Hay Que Ver Si Voy, is instead
Un Dia (2008) was at the same time
more intimate, more abstract and more hypnotic,
with the voice increasingly turning into an instrument and the rhythms increasingly turning into a voice.
It starts with the
minimalist repetition and the traditional chanting of Un Dia.
It continues with the evanescent vibrations of
Lo Dejamos (7:31) that segue into
the hypnotic fibrillation of Los Hongos De Marosa (7:27) and the
gentle pulsating harmonies of Quien (7:22).
These three lengthy pieces constitute the emotional core of the work.
It's like listening to a lighter, warmer version of
Joan La Barbara's experiments.
If El Vistado is merely an appendix to three suites,
No Llama applies repetition to a more oneiric atmosphere
and Dar (Que Dificil) transfers the album's leitmotiv and
weltanschauung into the realm of subliminal dance music.
Wed 21 (Crammed Discs, 2013) boasts a trio of lively effervescent songs:
the boogie Eras, the samba Ferocisimo, and the
android ballet Wed 21. But most of the rest, such as the
Lo Decidi Yo, sounds inconclusive and messy. The longer
El Oso De La Guarda has vocal and percussive elements that may be
intriguing, but the song fails to merge them.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx) |
Se sei interessato a tradurre questo testo, contattami