Murcof Martes

Many albums are good, some are great, but few are truly special. Martes, the debut full-length from Tijuana, Mexico's Fernando Corona is. A former member of the Mexican electronic/dance music Nortec Collective, Corona has a lengthy musical history. He's created everything from acoustic rock to experimental sounds, composed for short films and dance pieces, and remixed artists including the Kronos Quartet. It's his strong sense of composition and passion for classical orchestration that particularly shine through on Martes. Though the album will undoubtedly be filed under "electronic," and keeps good company with some of the more cerebral and minimalist producers thereof, Murcof gives us so much more. In fact, he practically speaks his own musical language, weaving intense strings, piano and the occasional vocal samples around understated bips, beeps and beats. "Memoria" eases us in, with its dark piano, violin, light bass and sparse sounds setting the stage for the intensity of emotions to come. Chilling, lovely and full of hope, it gives way to the moving, melancholic and vastly layered "Marmol." More intense still is "Maiz," it's sustained piano tones, crying violins and broken electronics reminding of Andrea Parker. "Mes" gives a sense of Murcof's intuitive approach to composition. One of the album's more minimal pieces, it is also one of the most playful, with beat-programming sliding and shifting quietly as piano and violin lead the way. The compelling "Mir" finds Murcof sitting comfortably next to his techno contemporaries, with swelling beats and grooves moving us along while strings are plucked and stroked. Incredibly deep, detailed and dramatic, without being overstated, Martes introduces us to a bold, freethinking new talent. (Leaf)