Juana Molina - Tres Cosas

Music Reviews Juana Molina
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Juana Molina - Tres Cosas

It’s surprising how readily the electronica community has latched onto the music of idiosyncratic Brazilian-born singer/songwriter Juana Molina. After all—despite the presence of a few stray processed effects and synthesizers—this music has far more in common with minimalist avant-folk than it does any variety of electronically minded music. More of a solitary endeavor than her previous album, 2003’s Segundo, the former actress takes over nearly every aspect of this album’s production, writing all the songs and scaling back the complex layering. As her songs are built on a humble skeleton of repeated acoustic guitar figures, disarmingly simple melodies and her vulnerable, girlish voice, there’s a stark human quality to these tracks that all but the most realized forms of electronic music fail to address. These songs come closer to the careful arrangements and vulnerable moonlit romanticism of Nick Drake than they do any other obvious contemporary parallels. Whether used to multi-track her vocals for an ethereal effect or to deepen the already otherworldly ether of her arrangements, electronics are used only to augment the most substantial elements of her craft—evocative, sing-songy melodies and exotic textures. These effects are not devised to prop up underdeveloped ideas. And, in essence, that’s what sets her apart. Molina is coming extremely close to creating something almost unparalleled in the modern singer/songwriter canon, and she’s doing it with near-unsettling ease.

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