Tarta Relena: Fiat Lux album review

The first second of “Stabat mater”, the fourth track on the Catalan duo Tarta Rellina Fiat Lux It is a moment of such elusive and deceptive beauty that you wish it could last forever. It is not immediately clear what the translucent and fluttering sound is is being, or if your headphones can be turned on. But when the sound repeats after a short wave of vocals, the voices of Helena Ross and Marta Torella united in perfect harmony, the penny drops: Tarta Relena made a feature out of her breath, transforming what most singers consider a musical by-product into a captivating highlight on their highly rewarding debut album. .

This attention to detail is typical of Tarta Relena, if we may say Any thing It is typical of two musicians who called their music “Progressive Gregorian” and deal with everything from traditional Georgian song to 12th-century Benedictine piece Hildegard von Bingen on Fiat Lux. Throughout her small but flawless catalogue, Tarta Relena has exercised remarkable control over her music, in both the refined telepathy of their vocal synthesis and the sparse musical touches that go with it. Fiat Lux An album where every breath is counted and every note meticulously published, the duo’s voices are backed up by a woven web of electronic touches and hairline effects from producers Juan Luis Batalla and Oscar Garrobé.

The song “El suïcidi i el cant” employs an electronic bass of exactly four notes midway through the song, a perfectly weighted melodrama that prefigures the emotional heaviness of the song, like dark clouds briefly blocking the sun. The second half of the song sounds positively grumpy, Ross and Torella’s vocals brimming with the volcanic fury predicted by the bass. Likewise, “Esta montanya d’enfrente” uses the weakest electronic sound, a ringing in the song’s background ears, to add texture to the duo’s superb vocal pairing, making this 21st century traditional Sephardic song the best of the musical family.

Tarta Rellina’s ambiguous choice of musical material may make them seem dry or academic, the work of librarians and archivists rather than poets and agitators. But the fast-beating heart runs through the record, and the ultimate reward is the cunning pop feature that’s even more evident in Fiat Lux than in the previous duo’s work. “Me yelassan,” the record-setting traditional Greek song, makes its way to the rhythm of hand-clapping that plays swinging drums and bass like the song Rosalía, or the Diwali riddim that dominated the dance floor in the early 2000s. “El suïcidi i el cant” is a quote from the traditional poetry of Pashtun women from Afghanistan and colored with the “terrible August” of 2021, when Taliban forces took control of the country. But the song’s hugely catchy melody is bolstered by a fast electronic beat that brings it to the edge of pop, even as the song spins into its haunting musical story. There’s even a touch of humor in the title of “Relatable content,” a word-free audio comma that leads to the record’s final stretch.

Perhaps Tarta Rellina’s greatest achievement in this captivating album is that their work seems musically unique and emotionally familiar, reaching through centuries of traditions and geographical divisions of human-level communication, such as an ancient Egyptian hangover cure or a crude Sumerian joke. Fiat Lux Feels timeless, a meticulously detailed work of archaeological adventure, where unearthed feelings deepen.

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