Nuuro: All Clear

Seekers Who Are Lovers: You Are the Pride of Your Street

Listeners familiar with the material Ángel Sánchez has issued under the Antiguo Automata Mexicano moniker—2005's Background release Microhate, for example—will be startled by the dramatically different style presented on the half-hour You Are The Pride Of Your Street under his Seekers Who Are Lovers guise (a preview of the upcoming full-length I End Each Day in a Song). Yes, there's still an electronic dimension as songs are built upon lulling bases of vinyl crackle and clicks but Sánchez adds his soft and dreamy croon to the six songs. The quietly magnificent opener, “It's a Hard Life,” featuring lyrics by Will Oldham and mixed and arranged by Fernando Corona (aka Murcof), impresses the most. After gouged vinyl and organ shimmer establish the song's lulling drone, Sánchez's almost angelic voice enters, and the song's gently soaring melody (“It's a hard life for a man with no wife”) is conveyed stirringly by the yearning lilt of his singing. In “You Are the Pride of Your Street,” Sánchez seems to channel Björk by borrowing the halting rhythms of her vocalizing and her idiosyncratic song structures; the dreamy swoon of “Cereza” and rippling atmospheres of “Cae El Mar,” on the other hand, recall Sigur Rós. “Modern Heirs” comes closest to Microhate, with Sánchez's soft voice draped over a softly pulsating and heavily textured microhouse base. You Are The Pride Of Your Street is, admittedly, a jarring listen at first but ultimately a rather satisfying one.

One listen to All Clear and comparisons to Type Records' Khonnor are as inevitable as they are understandable. Nuuro is a 16-year-old prodigy from Venezuela who crafts emotive electronic pop songs that are anything but average: a great deal of the material is remarkably sophisticated, so much so one questions the veracity of the age claim. Notwithstanding the tiniest trace of a nasal whine, he also possesses a great singing voice, as clear and melodic as Ben Gibbard's or any singer of that ilk. Like Khonnor, Nuuro liberally applies electronic manipulations throughout, with beats skittering alongside guitars chopped into glitchy stutterwork. Often the delicate glow of a keyboard softens the harder attack of the beats, with many songs (“ Blister, ” for example) hinting at a drum & bass connection. An occasional instrumental surfaces (“ Flying on a Spaceship,” “Terrorfist”) but it's the vocal material that cuts most deeply. Check out the epic drama he crafts in the melancholy “Waiting” and stately title song, not to mention the gorgeous melodies that grace “Oh One” and “Common Dragons.” An amazingly mature debut of bedroom electronic pop from this future Khonnor touring partner.

December 2006