2015 Top 10s & 20s
Roomful Of Teeth

David Arend
Artificial Intelligence
Nimrod Borenstein
Randal Collier-Ford
Julien Demoulin
Denki Udon
R. Nathaniel Dett
Dwiki Dharmawan
Yair Etziony
Marina Fages
Francesco Di Fiore
Flowers for Bodysnatchers
From the Mouth of the Sun
Markus Guentner
Momenta Quartet
Music Komite
North Atlantic Explorers
Prequel Tapes
Alessandro Stella
Swarm Intelligence
Robert Scott Thompson
Trigg & Gusset
Aino Tytti
Andy Vaz
We Mythical Kings
Sebastian Zangar

Compilations / Mixes / Remixes / Reissues
Dub Phizix
Stacey Pullen
A Simple Procedure
Tour De Traum X

EPs / Cassettes / DVDs / Mini-Albums / Singles
Big Phone
Great Panoptique Winter
Mute Forest
Thee Koukouvaya
Joshua Van Tassel

Marina Fages: Dibujo de Rayo

Argentinean artist Marina Fages (born in Buenos Aires, 1983) is clearly someone possessing multiple talents: not only does she sing, play, and write music, she's also a painter of some note, as evidenced by the oil painting displayed on a poster included with her second solo album Dibujo de Rayo (“Drawing of ray” in Spanish). In contrast to the folk-styled tone of her 2012 debut album Madera Metal, the new fourteen-song collection ranges widely, from restrained acoustic songs to harder-edged material that harks back to the grunge and hardcore-punk bands she played in during her youth.

Though Fages is credited with singing and guitar, charango, and clarinet, Dibujo de Rayo isn't a solo album on production grounds, as she's joined by drummer Sergio Verdinelli, bassist Diego Acosta, violinist Rosario Baeza, cellist Anahi Parrilla Belfer, and electric guitarist Fernando Kabusacki, among others, on the recording. All of the musicians are identified on the poster insert, along with lyrics that for whatever reason alternate between Spanish, English, and Japanese (the singing's all in Spanish, for the record).

Although “Albayalde” and “Dibujo de Rayo” assert the album's harder edge and band feel at the outset, the songs' indie-punk squalor can't conceal Fages' talent as a pop melodist. Like Sonic Youth, Hüsker Dü, Nirvana, or any number of other bands, peel back the raw guitar work on a song like “Esta Noche” and you'll find a melodic hook and pop song structure. Having established that side of the album, Fages, armed with the folkloric charango, exposes her softer side in “Barrio Infinito” plus the breezy “Conspiración Abierta,” the latter memorable for the way her singing so strongly suggests Gwen Stefani singing in Spanish.

“Anillo Radioactivo” plays like Fages paying homage to LA punk band X, and “Casas del Viento” receives two treatments, an acoustic version pairing her voice and clarinet with strings and an uptempo one with drums added; in the former, the interplay between the woodwind, cello, and violin makes for one of the album's most memorable moments. The album's common thread, of course, is her singing, which comes through clearly regardless of whether it surfaces in a blistering track such as “Llevame” or something gentler. In truth, the punk-styled songs are obviously the noisiest, but it's subtler material such as “Cuarto de Madera,” featuring Fages alone, that leaves a more lasting impression. Perhaps it's no accident that she concentrates more on songs of this kind during the album's second half.

December 2015