~Introduction~: Being of Puerto Rican descent, but being a fan of music that is characteristically “unPuerto Rican”, I try to have my ear to the ground regarding any other likeminded Puerto Rican souls who play ambient/shoegaze/dreampop music. Shoegaze bands such as Stellarscope, with their Puerto Rican front-man, have given me hope that I indeed might not be the only Puerto Rican kid listening to the likes of My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive. Then, in my early myspace days, I realized that one could search for bands by region AND style of music, and quickly came across the surprisingly fertile scene on the island. Bands such as Balun and Matotumba are developing a sound that is distinctly Puerto Rican, while giving a nod to the “alternative” scenes in other places of the world such as North America and Europe.
One such band that initially impressed me on my internet search was the mysterious Parasolar. As far as I could tell, the duo Felix & Rebecca Adorno had only created a handful of mainly instrumental, ambient tracks, but each of the tracks I heard on their website were incredibly beautiful, well-crafted and ultimately moving. Realizing that the band were just seemingly beginning their musical journey as Parasolar, I waited patiently until the band released their first (I think) proper release, while immensely enjoying their subtle, Stars of the Lidesque music.
~Review~: News finally arrived that Parasolar were releasing music on CD. The project, released this winter and limited to only 100 copies, is a soundtrack to Rojo Robles’ work entitled El Sonido de los Dias Perdidos. On the 7 track disc, Parasolar contributes 3 tracks, collaborates on 2 with Kibutzmotor, while Lalia and Clon round out the line-up with tracks of their own. The overall vibe of the atmospheric CD is mysterious, dark, slow-moving, and somber, with each band adding their own touch and style to the work as a whole. El Sonido de los Dias Perdidos opens with Lalia’s offering, “L’Arc”. The band harnesses a single stream of high pitched reverb, while building denser atmospherics around it throughout the course of the 4 ½ minute song. The song gradually swells, patiently and imperceptibly adding elements to the sound. Parasolar makes their first appearance on the next track, entitled “La Fantome Entre Nous”. This track is a slightly denser affair, with pretty washes of sound layering over each other in a faint hint of a melody. The track is utterly gorgeous and delicate, with a slight sense of foreboding in the chord-structure of the drones.
Clon follows with “Reflejo Pte. 2”, an eerie 10 minute study in piercing metallic sounds. However, Clon also adds a softness to their track by echoing and manipulating their drones throughout the song, creating a mysterious, but highly listenable, mood. Next Parasolar and Kibutzmotor team up to present the title track. The liner notes state that the track is a manipulation of pieces of music offered up by Tchaikovsky, Badalamenti and Ono, and the end result is a vastly cinematic and creepy track, complete with warped string parts, ghostly voices, and thick layers of ambience. Parasolar next offers “Staring from The Distance”, a surprisingly vocal track, featuring soft echoed female vocals over a minimalist bed of instrumentation. The melancholy track is sparse and beautiful, showcasing a slightly more melodic side to Parasolar, and is perhaps the highlight of the entire strong disc. Parasolar and Kibutzmotor team up again on “El Final”, a strange but wonderful concoction of samples operatic vocals, piano, and various treatments (again the two bands collaborate to re-envision a Tchaikovsky piece). Finally, Parasolar rounds out the disc with “Window To The Once Secret Song”, with its warbling and sometimes back-tracked drones floating in and out of the listener’s consciousness. The overall mood of El Sonido de los Dias Perdidos is subtly ghostly, and the tracks are perfectly sequenced to lead the listener into a world of apparitions and mystery.
Overall, El Sonido de los Dias Perdidos is a haunting soundtrack featuring excellent artists from Puerto Rico’s burgeoning scene. The listener doesn’t have to be Puerto Rican or speak Spanish to appreciate the delicate and hypnotic drones contained on the disc. In true indie spirit, the disc’s simple but elegant artwork is lovingly crafted by Rebecca Adorno, complete with lyrics/poetry written by Felix Adorno, and with the limited run, I can’t help but boast that I have something really special in this release. Highly recommended for fans of atmospheric, ambient, soundtrack recordings….and if the disc is unavailable for you to snag, keep your eyed and ears on Parasolar’s myspace…it is clear even from their so far limited output that they are a breathtakingly talented band (not to mention the other talented bands featured on the disc).