La Corte del Rey Pescador
La Reina Esta Mala

2 x digipak cd
tourette 007-008


These are two individual albums from Spanish musical projects compiled into a pack wrapped in an obi by the American label Tourette Records. It's not a strange combination as Demian of Ô Paradis and Sergio Mendez feature on both albums, each feeding directly into the feel of each other's work. And, clearly, they both benefit from this cross-fertilization of musical ideas.

La Reina Esta Mala is the first album from the Barcelona based project Escama Serrada lead by Sergio Mendez. It's a curious album of disparate sound sources juxtaposed with noise and drone treatments, with a couple of more song based tracks. Atmosphere seems to be the key here as there's little in the way of a discernible concept.

Two tracks feature Demian of Ô Paradis on vocals and they are perhaps the most straightforward material on here. The first pulses with throbbing electronics and multi-tracked voice: one sung in a high pitch, the other deep and processed. The other track starts with haunted carousel music, quickly replaced by a booming bassline and squawking post-punk guitar lines with Demian's croaked and cracked voice filtered through some processed effects. The use of melodica and accordion on both tracks allow it to tap into more traditional music but both, like all tracks on La Reina Esta Mala, are experimental.

Other tracks employ guitar strum, mechanical cranking, and what I'd like to think is a filthy phone call over fluttering hand drums and electronic drones. One piece has sixties Californian pop on crackling vinyl segueing into creaking textures and military styled drum rolls while another employs the same fragment of music, slowed down, warped, played backwards, sped up, topped off with a classical rendition all interspersed with the sound of lashing rain on a stormy day. Most of the tracks weave the myriad of elements seamlessly, with the exception of the final track which cobbles together the sounds of a crying baby, whistling electronics, rumbling percussion, footsteps transformed into beats, growling dog and a children's nursery music that turns into Auld Lang Syne. Who knows what it all means.

La Reina Esta Mala packs a lot into its brief 19 minute duration. It's by no means wilfully experimental but it's a mighty curious release.

Ô Paradis music has always been permeated with Catalonian warmth. La Corte Del Rey Pescador is no different with its cascading fluid bass lines, offering a skewed laidback jazzy feel as a backdrop to Demian's smooth caressing tones. The opening track, 'La Verdad de los Peces', positively swings with its light bass touches and keyboard flourishes over rhythmic processed beats. Demian is as surly and sultry as ever, his warm baritone enticing and inviting. Whats great about La Corte Del Rey Pescador is the experimental and electronic treatments injected between and throughout tracks. There's laughing, humming, water running and birds chirping between tracks. It's these little touches, probably provided by Escama Serrada's Sergio Mendez, within tracks that gel beautifully that really open up La Corte Del Rey Pescador. 'El Paraiso Perdido' is a forlorn keyboard ballad with Demian's melodic voice bathed in dreamy atmospheric harmonies and chiming bells, while the disjointed programmed drums, and guitar drone of 'El Trono de la Razon' remains firmly anchored to the jaunty bass lines and Demian's unfaltering tones. Ô Paradis haven't strayed too far from their Spanish origins though. 'Solo un Desierto' opens up with keyboards and processed drum rhythms, gently ebbing towards a more traditional Catalan sound with accordion swirl.

La Corte Del Rey Pescador combines Ô Paradis' song based material with experimental touches. The emphasis is on the songs but I really can't think of anyone else making laidback experimental Catalonian summer sounds this good.

Review : Compulsion

more info : www.myspace.com/oparadis