Yusa Haiku

More and more Cuban singer-songwriters are seeking international attention, and Yusa is at the forefront of this trend. With her third album, Haiku, set to increase her visibility worldwide, she has gone for a daring, effects-heavy sound. It used to be that when a slicked up album like this would come about there was some serious crossover manoeuvring at work. Yusa, however, has been about Brazilian-Cuban fusion from the beginning and, in retrospect, she’d been hinting at this kind of Radiohead-ish production with her previous disc. Brazilian producer Âle Siqueira concocts a shimmering, MPB-influenced mix to showcase Yusa’s wise-beyond-her years phrasing and subtle experiments in tonality. The sepia-toned compression on multiple instruments makes the proceedings sound like Omara Portuondo of Buena Vista Social Club messed up on mushrooms in Sao Paolo. There is some gorgeous, au-courant universal pop music here but someone ought to bust out an acid rock guitar solo Tropicalia-style to shake up the languor a bit. (Tumi)