Album Reviews

Savath & Savalas – Apropa’T

(Warp) UK release date: 26 January 2004

Savath & Savalas - Apropa'T

Savath & Savalas is a project conceived by Scott Herren, aka Prefuse 73, and is a collaboration with the previously untouted Catalan singer and songwriter Eva Puyuelo Muns. This album seems to have provided an outlet for Herren to express his Spanish side, having lived in Barcelona for some time, and combined with Eva’s fresh approach (this is her first involvement with music) the result is Apropa’t.

The record is packed full of influences, but manages to emerge with a distinctive enough voice. I had expected to hear more beats, but when used these tend to be placed towards the back of the picture, allowing some of the extraordinary textures the duo create to come through. Theirs is a sound big on acoustic instruments, with a bass clarinet here, a harmonium there and subtle touches from harps, guitar, stringed instruments and other intriguing effects. At times the texture sounds akin to Jim O’Rourke, but of course the song material is markedly different.

This is where Muns comes in, with some hypnotic melodies often sung in unison by the duo. Some of the material borders on the ritualistic but never disappears up itself, always changing gradually in melody and harmony. There’s the acoustic dreamery of Te Quiero Pero Por Otro Lado…, where a simple 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 is warmly atmospheric – like most of the album perfect fora nocturnal listen – and the bass clarinet comes into its 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 that Apropa’t has the Spanish soul running through it from start to finish, and it’s the musical equivalent of a siesta when taken at face value. The great thing about it is that further listening is rewarded as the melodies become more familiar and the variations in texture can be fully appreciated. All of which makes for the perfect late night album.

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Savath & Savalas – Apropa’T