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Superb Spanish Folktronic MP3 EP

The latest from the Portuguese netlabel test tube is a truly superb mix of acoustic and electric elements, with all the elegance of classic minimalism and all the presence of an early-1970s singer-songwriter album. It’s sure to appeal to fans of Greg Davis’ Arbor (Carpark, 2002), and other so-called folktronic music. Credited to Aitanna77 (aka Spanish musician Mikel Martinez), the Spring Is Coming Soon EP’s four tracks mix gently plucked acoustic guitar and a smattering of digital effects. What makes the work special is that the blend of analog and digital isn’t predicated on conflict, but on how the elements work together. This isn’t the countrified hip-hop of the Dust Brothers’ collaborations with Beck, or the electronified blues of Moby’s Play, in which contrasting sounds rub against each other to stoke the frisson of pop fusion. On the title cut, soft hums serve as ghost images to the melody, and then bits of reverb exaggerate the finger picking. On “Licking Ice Cream Cones,” which has John Fahey’s way with a lilting melody, guitar parts accumulate thanks to multitracking, veering slightly apart from one another and lending the cut the hypnotic quality of overlapping patterns. Other instrumentation on the brief set includes electric guitar, xylophone and that touchstone of dub, the melodica. Be sure to check it out, at monocromatica.com/netlabel.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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