Catalan! Arts

Compilation CD Electronic Music from Catalonia 2013
Compilation CD Electronic Music from Catalonia 2013

Electronic Music from Catalonia 2013: 17 tracks selected by Javier Blánquez (music journalist) in collaboration with Markets Development Department (ICEC).

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Balago: L’etern retorn (5.17)
CD: “Darder”
Author: Roger Crespo Garriga

Balago have spent over a decade exploring the most emotional corners of ambient music, and in their fifth album to date, Darder, they seem to have reached a personal highpoint. In their misty pieces, melancholy and a feeling of solitude are blended with a few of the obsessions of this trio from La Garriga, such as artificial intelligence and time travel.

Bradien + Eduard Escoffet: Text (5.26)
CD: “Pols”
Author: Bradien + Eduard Escoffet

Pols is a highly original album of which it is hard to remember any precedents since, perhaps, as long ago as the days of Pau Riba: it assembles the verses of the poet Eduard Escoffet, one of this century’s most innovative voices in Catalan lyrical poetry, on electronic bases from the Bradien trio, who play a kind of deconstructed and highly abstract pop. It works.

Xtrngr: Together (3.44)
CD: “Together”
Author: Xtrngr

Before releasing on Discontinu, a small platform that embodies something of the electronic spirit of Poblenou, Kenny Pérez had been producing music here and there on labels from diverse places ranging from Lithuania and Ukraine to Canada. It was after moving to Barcelona, however, that he completed his debut album, a tribute to the more fluid and enveloping IDM marked by broken rhythms.

John Talabot: Estiu (3.06)
CD: “Fin”
Author: John Talabot

With Fin, his debut album on the German label Permanent Vacation, Oriol Riverola has become a hugely significant figure on the global electronic scene. This he did by reducing the textures of house to a kind of emotional sound that ranges from luminous to euphoric; although in the case of Estiu he also opts for a highly refined notion of sadness.

Sharon Highlights
Headbirds: Sharon Highlights (5.05)
CD: “Sharon Highlights”
Author: Daniel Guijarro

Primavera Sound has just launched its own label and has chosen as the first artist in its catalogue Headbirds, i.e. Dani Guijarro, a producer with a brief track record on platforms such as Tracy Records, a specialist in tech-house surround sound of bright textures, reminiscent of the traces of neon lights and shivers of a unforgettable night of partying tucked away in the memory.

Collapse EP
Alizzz: Collapse (3.28)
CD: “Collapse EP”
Author: Cristian Quirante Catalán (Alizzz)

Cristian Quirante is our answer to those Scottish beatmakers such as Rustie and Hudson Mohawke who have once again come up with the colourful, lively and sexy funk sound of the eighties, although now with an ultramodern and futuristic twist. The best introduction to him is his EP Collapse, on the London MofoHiFi label, which is starting to give him quite a good reputation internationally.

Exchange Levels
Lasers: As You Want (3.05)
CD: “Exchange Levels”
Author: Lasers

On their first album, Lasers were seeking a kind of cosmic sound for pop. On the second, Exchange Levels, pop no longer matters and the band’s interest is focused on good slow, balanced house with flashes of passion and hedonism (without neglecting melody), the kinds of aromas that announce and celebrate the arrival of summer.

Possible Sounds of Möbius Author: Sistema
Sistema: 1976 (6.17)
CD: “Possible Sounds of Möbius Author: Sistema”
Author: Sistema

Manel Ruiz has taken years to release his first album—after his EPs, remixes and sessions became legendary in underground Barcelona—and the final result has risen to expectations and confirmed that he is as a master of intelligent techno with baroque construction, rich in irregular beats and mischievous arpeggios.

bRUNA: Ever After (4.03)
CD: “Thence”
Author: bRUNA

Thence, the second album by Carles Guajardo, is a celebration of childhood, the years of sentimental education and the happiness that arise in discovering new and fascinating worlds. In his case, it is electronic music, and in his devout synth-pop miniatures he re-imagines house and eighties-style Italo disco with a masterful way of cutting and pasting samples.

Hope Only Brings Pain
The Suicide of Western Culture: Love Your Friends, Hate Politicians (4.29)
CD: “Hope Only Brings Pain”
Author: The Suicide of Western Culture

The Suicide of Western Culture, collectors of scrap equipment—which they fix themselves to get hold of vintage, low-cost gear—and fans of orgies of turbulent sound, are a version from the towns of Rubí and Terrassa of British and American groups that combine the rhythmic force of techno with nebular spatial noise. Music for dancing and floating.

Fabula EP (LC: 18711)
Coyu: Flus Flus (Outro) (3.49)
CD: “Fabula EP (LC: 18711)”
Author: Ivan Ramos Salinas (Coyu)

Coyu (aka DJ and producer Ivan Ramos) has used his label Suara and worked with Edu Imbernon to establish himself as one of Barcelona's most active artists on the international scene. He seeks a tech-house assortment from an elegant palette of sounds and those pleasant sensations that work so well at Ibiza after-parties. The Summer Man.

San Francisco
beGun: San Francisco (5.24)
CD: “San Francisco”
Author: Gonzalo Hernanz Moreno

In early 2013, Gunsal Moreno released for the Madrid label Subterfuge his first maxi single in his new artistic adventure, beGun, a project of house-pop with silky arrangements and pleasant vocal samples. The EP in question is entitled San Francisco and sounds as free and sunny as the city it refers to.

Hivern Jacking Tapes Vol.1
Marc Piñol: Solve et coagula (5.49)
CD: “Hivern Jacking Tapes Vol.1”
Author: Marc Piñol

After many years devoted exclusively to deejaying, mostly in the booth of club Nitsa, Marc Piñol recently branched out into production. As yet, he has not produced a lot—and virtually all his work are vinyl limited editions on the Hivern label—but he has a defined style of retro house with something of a penchant for acid.

Cardopusher / Nehuen - Split01 (CWS001)
Nehuen: Bad Automation (5.11)
CD: “Cardopusher / Nehuen - Split01 (CWS001)”
Author: Nehuen

Classicworks is one of the season’s surprise labels. It was founded by Nehuen and Cardopusher, two efficient DJs with a track record in genres such as dubstep and jungle who nonetheless felt the need to branch out into sounds different from those that had hitherto filled their cases. Nehuen is therefore trying (successfully) his luck with the crudest acid house.

Nueva York EP
JMII: Fiesta Música (6.55)
CD: “Nueva York EP”
Author: JMII

Jami Bassols is a member of Aster, a duo fascinated by the most space and psychedelic branch of American techno. Since moving to Berlin, however, he has worked solo as JMII and tried a more house-type (though equally classic) sound which has prompted great interest from one of the hottest labels in this field: 100% Silk, based in Los Angeles.

Kings of Hip House EP
We Like Turtles feat. Arufe: Kings of Hip House (4.20)
CD: “Kings of Hip House EP”
Author: We Like Turtles, Arufe

There is an underground cult for certain retro sounds on the local scene—beginning with DJ Kigo’s Espanish Boogie mixtapes—, and on the same direction work the duo We Like Turtles, who don cap and sweatshirt and enthusiastically recover the hip-house sound that prevailed throughout Europe from 1989 to 1992. Arufe, a humorous MC and true prince of the genre in Spain, also features.

Proper Headshrinker
Evol: Proper Headshrinker 10 (3.00)
CD: “Proper Headshrinker”
Author: Stephen Sharp and Roc Jiménez de Cisneros

Evol is the most daring, radical proponent of Barcelona experimental underground and, in their new album for the Austrian label Editions Mego, they are again working with a sole idea: a digital synthesis of rave sounds—ranging from techno beats to horn noises at times of peak euphoria—which they turn into insistent loops and evil drones capable of damaging even the most hardened ear.