27 May 2016

Nicola Cruz: "Prender El Alma"

The ethnotronic El Dorado the world has been waiting for
Ecuadorian musician Nicola Cruz' musical upbringing in both Western and traditional folkloric tunes serves him very well on his first full length record, Prender El Alma. Though he started out as a percussionist before becoming the electronic music producer and DJ that he is today, his music is still tightly bound to flexible rhythmics. Cruz testified that his ambition for the album was to be a direct result of his many years of musical exploration, and in that I would say he succeeds.

Drawing on a great variety of styles for inspiration, the producer's South American album offers an unpretentious and pleasant mixture of contemporary bass-driven rhythms and hints of old time folk electrics. Reverberated, carefully plucked strings echos against the hypnotic and laid back, yet authoritative, rhythm section on Cumbia del Olvido, recalling the sun baked ravings of chilled out 70s psychedelia. Colibria, in turn, presents a minimalistic soundscape set to an intrusive but equally simple bass line with a strange voice-over and an assortment of exotic eroticism splashing over like a waterfall.

"...its charm lies with the album's wonderfully unapologetically relaxed demeanour,"

Another track, La Cosecha, features a prominent oriental feel. Others still feel more African in sound, speaking of what great lengths of musical history Nicola Cruz manages to go over through just ten tracks. Prender El Alma is completely unexciting in terms of upbeat animation, but it is not unadventurous. Part of its charm lies with the album's wonderfully unapologetically relaxed demeanour, achieved through an equally brilliant analog authenticity.

However charming the curiously unassuming tinkering Cruz puts forth is, the deep house electronica elements work better in some compositions than others. But through his enticingly seductive and simple rhythmics, Cruz brings to life an all-inclusive world of shimmering ethnotronics and folk. Its autumn release date is puzzling, though, as Prender El Alma bears more of a summer-like vibe with its laid back attitude. It is, however, not without its own strains of melancholia, and as such offers a varied soundscape in which folk, tradition, electronica and foreign styles merge seamlessly in a serene pool of sound.


Released in 2015 by ZZK Records


No comments:

Post a Comment