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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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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

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