Juana Molina - Son
With Son, Juana Molina's interest seems to be in creating tapestries of sound. The arrangements here are loose; various unusual noises weave in and out. Undoubtedly, it's a well-intentioned, creative and experimental album, but one which will infuriate many people.
Aside from acoustic guitar, birdsong, looped vocals, and Juana Molina herself as human beatbox are dragged into the mix. That's just for starters. These elements and her pleasant voice (singing in Spanish) do occasionally come together to create a mysterious, romantic atmosphere.
The main trouble is - despite the disparate sounds - Son feels somewhat monotonous. Passages such as the end of Micael, where the percussion becomes gradually heavier (in this case possibly waking the listener up), or the PJ Harvey-esque riff on Las Culpas, are all too rare. Malherido is almost Kid A-lite electronica, and one is reminded of the more scathing reviews the Radiohead record received (rather than the accessible actual product), in that it frequently tests the patience. Try the stretch on Un Beso Llega where Molina's vocals seem to be joined by a number of cats miaowing.
Although Son goes out on a limb to be different, no track is particularly memorable. (Frequently half a song will smoulder, but fail to catch fire.) It's way too whimsical to make much of an impression, and by the end you may feel as if you've been smothered by a pretty, light quilt.