Savath & Savalas is aproject conceived by Scott Herren, aka Prefuse73, and is a collaboration with the previouslyuntouted Catalan singer and songwriter Eva PuyueloMuns. This album seems to have provided an outletfor Herren to express his Spanish side, having livedin Barcelona for some time, and combined with Eva’sfresh approach (this is her first involvement withmusic) the result is Apropa’t.
The record is packed full ofinfluences, but manages to emerge with a distinctiveenough voice. I had expected to hear more beats, butwhen used these tend to be placed towards the back ofthe picture, allowing some of the extraordinarytextures the duo create to come through. Theirs is asound big on acoustic instruments, with a bassclarinet here, a harmonium there and subtle touchesfrom harps, guitar, stringed instruments and otherintriguing effects. At times the texture sounds akinto Jim O’Rourke, but of course the songmaterial is markedly different.
This is where Muns comes in, withsome hypnotic melodies often sung in unison by theduo. Some of the material borders on the ritualisticbut never disappears up itself, always changinggradually in melody and harmony. There’s the acousticdreamery of Te Quiero Pero Por Otro Lado…, where asimple melody is interwoven with clarinet fragments.Then the following Colores Sin Nombre with a light(but not flimsy) breakbeat, and again some simpler,folk-based melodies to Balcon Sin Flores. A La Nit iswarmly atmospheric – like most of the album perfect fora nocturnal listen – and the bass clarinet comes intoits own at the end of Ultimo Tren.
Herren is normally based inAtlanta, but the duo recorded this in Barcelona,closer to the source material. It’s clear thatApropa’t has the Spanish soul running through it fromstart to finish, and it’s the musical equivalent of asiesta when taken at face value. The great thing aboutit is that further listening is rewarded as themelodies become more familiar and the variations intexture can be fully appreciated. All of which makesfor the perfect late night album.