Karina Vismara – Casa del Viento

coverI’ve been reading Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits during my lunch breaks at work (a very good book, by the way, easy to get back into when I haven’t picked it up for a fortnight or more, but still with a phenomenal amount of depth to the narrative).Coincidentally, I’ve also discovered another South American person, this time a woman who plays guitar and sings excellent songs.

This is one of those really lazy ways of saying that I discovered a whole two artists based in South America and I think it’s a Thing. After all, it’s hardly the first time I’ve found artists from the continent that do good things to my soul (Jodorowsky, Borges, Os Mutantes, Coelho, Rakta… and they’re just the ones off the top of my head as I sit at the usual enquiry desk at work…) But actually, there is a similarity of atmosphere, in a way I cannot possibly put into words. (sidebar: does something exist if there isn’t a word for it?)

Karina Vismara is a singer-songwriter from Argentina who seems unreasonably young for one with such music, though I say that with admiration rather than envy. Her voice is strong and expressive, and her guitar playing is seriously good with some gorgeous passages of droney finger picking finding their way into the songs.

The opener, Tied up Tight actually puts me in mind somewhat of Led Zeppelin’s Battle of Evermore. Also you might want to consider Joni Mitchell. Most of the references I could think of (they always leave my head when I sit in front of a blank blog post) also date from the late 60s/ early 70s folk revival. And of course, she’s from the same country as the wonderful Juana Molina, who you know all about, obviously.

 

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Pridjevi

So I listed this in my best of 2015 already, but they really do deserve a post of their own. I don’t think I’d initially planned to include them in said list but played the album the night before I wrote it, and the rest is what happened afterwards.

The album is sung entirely in Croatian, because they are from Croatia. I don’t speak or understand a word of Croatian, but that doesn’t matter. Over the last few years I’ve begun to be more dissatisfied with bands output when it isn’t in their native tongue, because it somehow feels a bit forced. There are exceptions, obviously, but I don’t think it matters if I can’t understand the words. Music has its own meaning, and words sung naturally will always complement that.

TIM091_Pridjevi_LP.1600x1600__58102.1435286780.1280.1280So you can bandcamp this if you like and want, but you can also score a hard copy here, on the same label that put out the marvellous Matchess records.

Stylistically, we’re looking at sunny psych-pop, properly blissed out and sun-kissed and everything that implies. There’s a similarity to Brazilian Tropicalia, particularly Os Mutantes, although I may say that because they’re the artists I’m most familiar with from that ‘genre’. They have it down as lo-fi but that may be a function of the fact they recorded it themselves, which has been a lot easier since the digital revolution, since it doesn’t sound all that lo-fi to me. Maybe a ‘sound professional’ would find it so, but I’ve personally become a lot less bothered by such audiophile concerns over the last ten years, ironically since finishing a course in music technology…