Juana Molina Segundo Review

Album. Released 2004.  

BBC Review

'Segundo works brilliantly well for its different moods and textures.'

Sanjiv Ahluwalia 2004

A few words: Engaging folk music. Off-centre electronica. A little edginess. A brush of guitar. A hum of synths. A pleasant wall of sound. An air of Latin moods. One of the most innovative albums for a while. And here's the twist in the tale. It's not from London,New York or Paris but......Buenos Aires.

Juana Molina is a Buenos Aires born singer/songwriter who bizarrely found much success on Argentinean TV as a comedienne. A six-year hiatus in Paris is sure to have expanded her musically. One of the fruits of her Parisian stay is this, her second album, which provides a delightful mix of acoustic soul, off-kilter electronica and touches of Latin.

Segundo works brilliantly well for its different moods and textures. It mixes soft hues of light blues of moody electronica to bold, bright reds of punishing synths, heavy dancebeats and a nervous electronica energy. It's easy on the ear and commercial enough to enjoy on a first listening but with enough depth to discover new sounds on repeated listens.

The album is quite cinematic in its feel. "El Perro" rings of a lazy walk in boho New York. If it were a film it would be a quirky little independent b-movie while "El Desconfiado" hints at an epic, widescreen affair. Two of the many highlights on the album include the springy, acoustic bliss of "Quiero" and the majestic "Que llueva" with its joyous, folky feel which has a warm, summer breeze of Joni Mitchell-type vocals.

I like the little tricks the songs contain. A confident march of drums starts off "Mantra del Biocho Feo", gaining pace with a rush of stirring electronic beats which comes across like Aphex Twin meets the Gotan Project. The track ends on a high, with funky percussion....but then after a few seconds of quiet the listener is subdued by a few seconds of the dawn chorus.

Quite simply this album is a must-have. It's a world music album embracing the new as well as respecting the traditions of the old, and pushes Argentinean music into the premier league. Segundo could well go on to huge commercial success àla St.Germain and The Gotan Project.

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