La Manifestación, Poliedro
by Carlos Reyes
The great sound designers of our time (Raúl Locatelli, Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr, Catriel Vildosola, Guido Bernblum) are ambitious strikers of atmosphere and subsonic corners. Not only do they construct sound storyboards to parallel images, they embrace the 4 walls of cinema, transcribing the power of sound as much as the power of silence as a way to manifest their presence in sound mixing, the score, and the dialogue. In a way, these sound explorers and stylists are great cynics too; you think they’re harmless creative guys who rarely get the credit they deserve, when in reality, they’re embedding themselves into the cinematic soundscape.
The kick-ass album cover of La Manifestación makes the idea of the auteur-technician a reality. If you’re ever at an arthouse and you realize the sound isn’t as crystal-clear as most Hollywood films, realize that burning-sound has an idea behind it. As far as breakthrough albums go, Poliedro’s La Manifestación is the embodiment of those grainy brave ideas comprising a truly great first album. Working with the most stripped-down tools of the lo-fi methods, this new Chilean one-man act has crafted a rainbow-hued EP built from all the corners of sonic complexity. And he does that, through atmospheric lens. Despite all the songs featuring vocals, not one track goes beyond the 16-character word count.
Album opener “Trasladación” is the deciding track on the album; it’s so essential it’s the minute you decide if the entire album goes to the recycle bin or to your pile of 'transcendental potentials.' The track is like a panorama of sounds waking up to the sunlight, just a little more chilled than some of its contemporaries. Jean-Stephane Beriot’s said, “it’s like Devendra Banhart passed out on layers”, while Andrew Casillas points is “like Algodon Egipcio, but veiled in more mystery.” Poliedro takes every piece to a sort of limbo, pushing every piece to its elemental core, and eventually, using those elements in march-like parades. His commanding skills are so insightful; the occasional claps in "Telepth" are like great hugs, and it's hard not to think of "Sweet Home Parade" as a sister redemption song to James Blake's "Limit To Your Love."
The creative intentions and overall execution of four little songs are enough to put Poliedro on the map, and no one can deny his aesthetics and overall art direction could break him into universal appeal. The album’s title suggests the idea of a manifestation; a sign of existence, spiritual appearance, or the materialization of a revelation. Poliedro’s auteur approach to the premise is essential to the album’s triumphant results. If you’ve been connecting the word auteur, with the word artsy throughout this review, you’re probably on the right track. This is no crowd-pleaser by any means; the box champion on that album cover will have as many supporters as detractors.