All Music [En]: "Foto Aérea" [Review]
A peculiar and utterly mesmerizing collection of music, Foto Aérea is the third solo effort from Spanish guitarist and composer Ibon Errazkin, a musician probably best known outside of Europe as a member of '90s bossa nova-loving indie pop heroes Le Mans and, more recently, one-half of the eclectic pop duo Single. While 15 years separate this from his sophomore outing, Foto Aérea shares some similarities with its predecessors, namely its largely instrumental nature and its devotion to off-kilter sunny exoticism. His craft as an inventive guitarist has been proven throughout his many years of unusual projects, and his skill as a composer and arranger even more so. On the beguiling Foto Aérea, Errazkin takes his music somewhere new, using an array of different guitar tones and techniques to create ten similarly themed pieces of music that manage to come across as both weightless and tonally dense, while never subscribing to any set rhythmic pattern. The fluttering flamenco-inspired strumming patterns and swooping pitch-bent effects that introduce the title track somehow prove to be the defining theme of the entire album as each track seems to develop into an inspired introduction for the one after it. There's no such concept as a single or anchored centerpiece. Instead, through subtle manipulations in repetition, a gently meditative state is built, with the cycle occasionally dipping into slower phases like the synth-adorned "El Objeto" and the mysterious "Lazy Afternoon," two of the only tracks to employ sparsely interjected vocals. With scant lyrics to guide the narrative and no rhythms to tap along to, the overall effect is dreamlike and completely whimsical, floating gracefully in its own parallel universe, ignoring all the physics of pop music. Ending much as it begins with the kooky, fluttering allure of "Bona Nochy," Foto Aérea seems to disappear into the ether, giving little sense of completion and leaving the listener wondering if the journey had taken ten minutes or an hour.
by Timothy Monger
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