Polifónica Polinesia, Silva de Alegría
by Sam Rodgers
There's much to appreciate on Silva de Alegría's several-years-brewing instrumental EP, Polifónica Polinesia, especially for those suffering wanderlust. The Furland leading man is showing off his understanding of landscape composition, as Mr. Reyes so eloquently put it in his review of Silva's previous EP, Geografía Nacional, but here, free from a lyrical layer, the tracks are much more open for the listener to explore. It's an open record. It's vast, even at only 16 minutes long—as spacious as the Pacific, which is as close a reference to Polinesia as can be found, bar opening track/intro “Estrella Artesia,” which has a palm tree quality to it. The rest of the album, a compilation, really, of several instrumental pieces Silva worked on in 2009, spends more time in the air, above the water, looking down. For the compact time of each track, there's another far-below island to ponder.
Second track, “Mapamundi”, sums this up nicely by title alone, a dotted red line and a plane making its way from Mexico City to Tokyo. In fact, it's reminiscent of the work Kevin Shields did for the Lost in Translation soundtrack, which is highlighted by the close and opening of third track's Japanese loudspeaker background noise. “Mapamundi” travels the furthest at just over four minutes long, retaining a forward momentum with incessant piano chords, yet combining the introspection of long flights (higher notes chime like call buttons), and the anticipation of the next chapter upon arrival. One step ahead of the listener, Silva names the next track “La Crisálida del Aire,” adding the ambient soundscape of an airport.
“De Vuelta al Naranja” could be a speed boat skipping across a lagoon at sunset, it could be a seabird's extended wing feathers, gliding (strings swell and introduce synth ripples on the water). It's beautiful, wanky-metaphor-inducing stuff. “Milagros,” the most 'organic' sounding track, earthbound (lower piano register) but triumphant (horns), closes the first part of the album. Perhaps it could also be the return trip, the traveler full of experience. There's a minute pause before two closing numbers: “Superluna Remanente en Radio,” a fantastic play with speed and headphones and hidden track “Camuflaje Ignorado por un Globo,” which revisits motifs of what came before it, adding guitar you didn't realize was missing.
The ideas running through all tracks makes this instrumental release cohesive, if not an academic exercise for the listener. When you've just gotten lost in an expanse of arrangement, the track ends, or, as with “Superluna Remanente en Radio,” you can appreciate its structure and shape, but you're left wondering what it meant. However, these are minor quibbles for an easy-listen (in the good way) EP that is really just a generous offer of what was put together years ago. It still reinstates the sonic mastery of its creator and furthers the anticipation for a long player. Hopefully an indulgent soundtrack in length?