erasing clouds

Isol/Zypce, Sima

review by dave heaton

This collaborative album between Argentinean singer Isol (formerly of Entre Rios), vocals, and her brother Zypce, instruments, has an incredibly lush, pretty sound. The variety of instruments, including electronics, help lend it moods both homemade/personal and fanciful, like a children’s storybook world. Isol’s elegant but playful singing help in that regard too.

But this is no fairy tale world where everything’s perfect. The opening track, “La Primera Vez” (“The First Time”), opens with a music-box melody but ends with the lyric, “Los recuerdos / se volvìan un tormento / es la primera vez quite miento al decirte Amor.” (“Memories became a torture / it’s the first time I’ve lied when I call you Love”). Isol’s ethereal humming/singing at the song’s close take on an extra aura of sadness. Doomed romance, or as the brilliant second track calls it, “Romance Fatal” (“Fatal Romance”), is a large presence in these songs. “Romance Fatal” is musically light as air, with Isol bounding along with a gorgeous melody, but also incredibly bittersweet, including an excerpt of a traditional Irish air.

Human disappointment and the tenuous nature of love are sung about within the context of changing seasons, of passing time, of uncaring stars and moons above. As the album proceeds, the music gets increasingly strange and exciting, crashing and building and weaving dreams. “Tal Vez Mejor” (“Maybe Better”) plays mournful classical strings against Isol singing softly but with great dramatic presence. “La Calandria” (“The Lark”) has a tentative futuristic calm broken by a guitar riff based off an ELO song. “Palabritas Fiojas” (“Loose Little Words”) nicks from Monteverdi. “Si De Verdad” (“If You Really”) is so minimalist it seems to take place in an apocalyptic wasteland, but Isol’s intimate singing turns the perspective personal, like she’s singing in her head straight to us, or more likely, to her desired lover. “Ya llegò la primavera / y no es fàcil esperar” (“spring has come / and waiting isn’t easy”), she sings. The two songs after it fill the air with anxious noise, before the album closes with yet a delicate song of waking up, still filled with references to lies and crashes and the way memories/desires tantalize and hurt: “Si me ahoga o me queme / no puedo identificar” (“If it’s drowning or burning me / I can’t really tell). The album’s title is a word that’s defined in the liner notes to mean “pit, abyss, precipice, crag, depth, chasm”. The album throws us into and onto all of those places. Isol and Zypce make them exhilarating places to be, without ignoring the pain.


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