UN DIA Juana Molina, Argentina
By Carlos Reyes
In the first song of the album Juana Molina warns us that one day she will do things differently, she will stop singing and let the music unfold its motif causing its listener to format reasoning. For those of us who have been following her for a while, we are beginning to understand her abstract world of Sonics. Seems like Molina is taking the necessary steps to make music come back to its primitive essence, which by itself is more sophisticated. Let lyrics wash out so that that the voice, the body’s center of communication, becomes just another instrument. Other artists that have understood the proposal are imposing it themselves. The outcome is resulting on a lineup of artists such as El Guincho or Juan Son endorsing music as an audiovisual experience.
Molina is our enfant terrible of experimental music, always cycling around playful combinations, fusions and unbalancing any line that is appropriate. Many listeners will feel alienated from start to finish, once again, understanding musical form is crucial when something as radical as Un Dia comes our way. I feel like I’m teaching a Good Latin Music 101 course, but just like Juana Molina does, one must find in repetition its greatest ally; the brain retains only a certain number of seconds before it follows the next idea. Realizing that ideas (and musical notes, numbers, colors, words, etc.) can coexist by manipulating how one perceives sound makes the emotional response a lot more unexpected, a lot more honest. Molina is a master accommodating sound and silence, she knows when to let one explode and at what time the next one should shutdown.
Careful, I’m not talking about innovations, it’s Molina’s deep-felt emotional approach to music; the power of music lies not in what’s hidden in between lyrics, treasure is found behind lyrics. Just like cinema is a visual media, music’s ultimate command is its sound resonance. “One day I will be a somebody else, I’m going to do things I didn’t do, I won’t care about what others say, neither if they will work out, I will travel, I will dance, dance dance, I want to dance!…” The first single starts with truly poetic lyrics, the entrance to a world of its own, one that reunites abstract vocals, sweet fairies and factories of sound loops creating new beginnings.
Un Dia isn’t an intellectual album for intellectual listeners nor it inspires towards that goal, but it does push for the appreciation of auteur music. That itself takes the album apart from other investigational gurus like Bjork whose latest albums manifest nothing but art pretentiousness. The track “Los Hongos de Marosa” for example is a multilayered piece with 4 different dominating harmonies; they are particulars coexisting in the same musical universe not because they want to show they can work together, but because there is a force behind them that feels the necessity to have them interacting with one another. The album itself consists of 8 pieces that are perhaps too long for regular radio programming, but Juana Molina isn’t radio anyway.
The Argentinean mastermind is especially mischievous in the song “El Vestido”, one of the sexiest songs of the year in its own quirky way. While sons like “No Llama” and “Vive Solo” are great hybrids of psychedelic and folk. Whether Juana Molina’s comment on lyrics is true or not, it will be interesting what her next step will be, one thing is for sure, Un Dia is her most challenging album yet, the hardest to digest especially for newbies, but don’t get scared get on the wagon and enjoy a unique journey that will grant you momentary disclosure from this world. Cheers to one of the best albums of the year and only the second one to get the five star rating.