If your musician friend tells you that he or she is going to do a “country set”, you may have certain expectations. The same could be said for opera or folk. I might have thought that flamenco would also stick pretty close to the script too but I was mistaken.
Electronic musician David Font and guitar virtuoso Jose Luis Rodríguez waste no time stripping away the cante, baile and palmas and boiling the guitar down to its essence. Accompanied only by David’s generously applied but simple effects, Jose’s guitar nevertheless seems to get a little lost at least initially. Though what you’re hearing is undeniably comforting and beautiful, you get the feeling you want to reach over and shut off the echos if only to catch more of what might have been played. Chopped and stuttered, the flamenco guitar floats away like bubbles in an echo soup that lacks the spice you might have hoped for.
The first three of six tracks all called “Sobre Mineras” follow this pattern to such a degree that the differences are hardly discernible. The entire record is best described as flamenco flavoured ambience. Four through six switch it up only marginally but enough that the appeal is deeper and more meaningful. That said, it does rewards repeat listens particularly in the latter section.
“Sobre Martinete (en vino)” caters a little more to expectations. Here David let’s Jose’s guitar breathe which makes for a much more interesting experience. It lasts for the next two tracks. The entire experience culminates in “Nocturno” which seems out of place. It’s much louder and more brash. If the rest of the record was a quiet slow burning log on the fire, this is the snap in the wood.
To be fair, experimental music is supposed to experiment and certainly taking bits of Flamenco and warping it live, jam-style is not something we see with any regularity. Whether or not it’s necessary isn’t really the point—it’s an innovative work, and one which fans of Flamenco might welcome.
// Notes from the Road
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