Released at the end of last summer, Al Natural is the first official recording by El Paso Latinx/world music combo Sol Del La Noche. And much like a solar body shining brightly in the dark of the night, this album is illuminating, to say the least. The opening track, “Searching,” is indeed imbued with a poetical tone that one might characterize as “searching,” but more than that, the opening vocal arrangement makes the tune sadly and profoundly soulful. But the addition of a woman’s voice, an unwinding guitar—and, at last, a Latinx rhythm section, replete with brass—carries this piece beyond sensory boundaries, creating a compelling journey through time. Similarly, the tune “Fire” explores intensity through intense and sometimes joyful musical moments. Powerful and resounding, this album emanates from the border—wherein listeners can think deeply while they dance deliriously.
Braided LimbA Rush of Feathers(Recurrence Records)
Musically rich, full of sound and almost cavernous in its initial declarations, here is a vision of the world unbound from complete melody, yet soaked in a kind of musicality and experimentalism that is at times compelling, while at others, it’s just mysteriously magnetic. The first track, “Knot,” fiddles with symphonic tropes, the noise of industry and explosions. This proclivity has its ironical counterpart in the second, title track, a seven-minute epic focused on the tonality and technical tendencies of violins interspersed with what sounds like whispered voices and large objects being dropped from great heights. It gets rough and semi-metallic on the fourth track, “The Plume,” before descending into a listlessly unfolding dream time on the seventh track, “The Age of Noon.” It’s difficult listening to be sure, but the confident execution makes for a fascinating, if quizzical listening session.
Gayelor DaugellGreat To Meet You(Self-released)
I’m pretty sure that this EP comprises a bit of what American pop music sounds like in the year 2020. There’s some R&B underlying the aesthetic employed on this album, which also enjoys moments of crashing bass and ever so slightly autotune infected vocals to make a case for making music about human relationships. I like it, but all the fireworks—coming from the production arm of this team, no doubt—are distracting. They seem like watching holiday rockets on a particularly calm night when the stars and clouds will do. And that’s just the first track, “It’s Sunny.” The second track is a jumper, complete with Casiotone melody and EDM-influenced crescendos. “Lots of Fun” is totally like that, and the final track, an instrumental titled “In My Bag,” proves the whole lot: The club is a fantasy generated by a restless heart.