JUANA MOLINA: Un Día (Domino Recording Co.)


Posted on Oct 10th 2008 12:06 am

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Juana Molina: Un Día

Un Día
Domino Recording Co. 2008
08 Tracks. 50mins25secs

Juana Molina’s musical career is light years away from Juana Y Su Hermanas, an early nineties hit TV series in Latin America and Spain in which she held the main part and which made of her a household name in her native land. Since, Molina has taken a very different path, turned her back on popular stardom to reach a much more selective audience with delicate atmospheric pop/folk songs, tainted with occasional electronics and experimental brushes. With each of her four albums, released within a period of ten years, three of which on the excellent Domino imprint, she has continued to carved an utterly individual and personal niche for herself, and her latest offering, Un Día, sits almost perfectly in line with its predecessors.

While Molina’s near-whisper vocals and delicate guitar melodies are still very much at the forefront of her work, she has here opted for a much more varied and rich sonic landscapes than on previous records. Indeed, her last one, Son, was almost minimal to the extreme, with very little beside guitar and voice to titillate the mind. Here, she brings in a much wider sonic palette, both acoustic and electronic, and uses percussions and rhythms to bring it all together. Feeling at times tribal and wild, and built around complex loops and patterns, the songs are hypnotic, with voices echoing on various levels and wrapped around restless guitar lines. The melodies develop over an increased range and seem more angular and ambitious.

Right from the onset of the opening title track, the voice appears firmer and more assertive as Molina sings at the top of her voice over a backdrop built of multiple vocal loops, which at times develop their own embryo of melody or at other sound like quiet incantations, acoustic guitar and percussions. This is quite an unusual setting for Juana Molina, but one that works particularly well and gives her vocals an entirely new dimension. On Los Hongos De Marosa for instance, her soft tones are supplemented with playful incursions in higher registers, while rich harmonies flourish all over ¿Quién? (Suite) creating a thick and dense blanket of voices.

These intense collages of vocals, looped melodies and tribal rhythms are scattered all over Un Día, leaving Molina’s deliciously crisp and gentle pop songs as distant memories. Yet, this album shows the songstress in very confident form as she delivers some of her best songs yet. And while superb little gems don’t quite have the fragility of previous songs, they are unashamedly modern, robust and excitingly fresh.


Juana Molina | Domino Recording Co.
Buy: CD | iTunes

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