Juana Molina – ‘Un Dia’

November 8, 2008 § Leave a comment

Published: The Big Issue, #315, October/November 2008.

Un Dia
Juana Molina
****

There’s certainly a polarity to the artistic pursuits of South American songstress Juana Molina. A renowned comedic television actress in her native Argentina, Molina’s dreamy, densely atmospheric musical wanderings appear as if cut from an entirely different cloth.

Riddled with layered, abstracted instrumentation, gently skittering electronics and – of course – Molina’s sweetly sensuous vocal, her sonic meanderings have transcended mere side-project in the most subtly emphatic and challenging of ways.

Fifth album Un Dia is no exception. Following on from 2006’s shamelessly pretty Son, this set of stunningly concise, sun-drunk ditties glows with both gentle pop swagger and studied, experimental zeal. On paper, Molina’s songs rise from a fairly straightforward foundation – circular acoustic guitar lines and drifting vocal melodies are a central conduit throughout Un Dia. But it’s the narcotic quality she conjures via layered production work, pulsing rhythm and whispered electronics that really give this record its signature.

The humid, limping groove of ‘Lo Dejamos’, bold guitar line and self-sung harmonies of ‘El Vistado’ and the quixotic, effect-buried vocal of ‘No Llama’ make for fine moments.

But Un Dia really isn’t about flourishes or highlights. This is about tone, mood and feel. Only Juana Molina could take you there.

Dan Rule

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