[16 December 2007]
Chica and the Folder is a duo, one half Chilean, one half German, and the whole thing based in Berlin. Its musical skeleton is a kind of new wave electronic boniness warmed over and fleshed out with the kidneys and blood of South America. Earlier this year the pair turned up on Hauschka’s Versions of the Prepared Piano with a remix of “Para Bien”, and roughly half of Under the Balcony has the same qualities as that reworked track: itchy, restless, fun, willing to borrow from disparate sources, Nine Inch Nails one moment, mbira the next. In the other half of the album the tracks are texture-pieces, long periods of cute bubble pops on “Souffle” and post-rock swelling mist on “Monta Rosa”. Here the album slows down and changes mood. Under the Balcony is an unpretentiously friendly CD, one that isn’t afraid to throw you off-guard now and again with a surprising effect, a kettle whistle, or an operatic burst of sampled soprano, but the texture pieces seem weaker, more generic, than the nose-thumbing chirp of the songs.