Savath & Savalas - La Llama

Savath & Savalas - La Llama

Classic breathy Spanish melodies set against glitches and keyboard bleeps, argeggiators, and found sounds. Also dubbed Catalin acid-folk. Seems appropriate. For the uninitiated, its like crossing the Gilberto family (Astrud, Bebel, et al) with DNTEL.

La Llama is the most complex Savath & Savalas album yet. As the previous, they are inspired by the psychedelic music scene that flourished in Recife, Brazil during the 1970’s. This album lacks the organic immediacy of Apropa’t (one of my favorite albums ever), but provides a deeper headphone listen. And it more elaborately deconstucts its folk inspirations, devolving into noise and broken melody courtesy of producer/guiding light Guillermo Scott Herren (aka Prefuse 73).

On this fourth Savath album, Prefuse 73 is re-joined by singer Eva Puyuelo Muns – the voice of Apropa’t. Rounding out the lineup is multi-instrumentalist Roberto Carlos Lange, replacing Chicago indie luminary John McEntire.  Artwork by the great Jeff Jank, Stones Throw Records’ longstanding design wiz.

Vieux Farka Touré has BIG shoes to fill.  His father Ali made the definitive African Blues album with Ry Cooder – Talking Timbuktu – and was one of Africa’s brightest international musical lights.  So we were excited and intrigued to see what the young Farka Touré would bring during his Winnipeg stop in June.

Well, his dad would be proud.  Not only did Vieux deliver one of the most exhilerating and inspired performances of the Jazz Festival, this record stands up to the work of his father – who was able to contribute to this album before his passing in 2006.

This is a record defined by rather aggressive guitar, strong musicality, and a sense of worldly patience.  Ai Haira rocks with groove and a cutting riff.  Souba Souba showcases some Bill Frissell-esque uses of delay and spaciousness.  And Mali is a heartwarming homage to Vieux’s homeland.  But the heartbeat of this album comes bursting forth in Cherie Le – gritty, groovy, and swaggering.