Arbol´s new album - She read the wrong book



Arbol, the Barcelona-based musician from Seville, needs almost no introduction. From his past career with seminal Sr. Chinarro band and his militancy in English combo Piano Magic, he moved on to movie soundtracks, sound installations, collaborations with dance companies and four-hand work with Fibla on "Bu san" album, co-released by spa.RK and Emilii a couple of years ago. It was just one step from there to publishing his new album on spa.RK. Not that there wasn’t some debate: his new project caused several heated arguments in the sparkie offices (too vocalish for our label?),but dialectics is one of our weaknesses and we were convinced: the most daring, mature, special and prejudice-free album that Arbol could offer us fitted the spa.RK image to perfection.

On Arbol’s new record, “She read the wrong book” (sp22cd), the use of the voice is almost a statement of how it should be used when you’re not making pop. Miguel Marín surrounds himself with vocalists to somehow follow on from his previous work -it sounds like Arbol, of course-, but he doesn’t rest on his laurels and takes a giant leap away from the patterns that have made him famous: there are no eternal developments of stormy seas here (though perhaps a little in “The sea”) nor is there an abundance of delicately minimalist instrumentals. The giant leap takes us away from the hackneyed formulas of neoclassicism to dive into the abyss, with the album getting off to the riskiest start possible (with the 4x4 pattern of “In this castle” and the voice of Evagelia Maravelias), playing the guitar as if it was a bass on “My name is Pony”, using Suzy Mangion’s voice as an instrument, like on “Mermaid”, to end with that Nico Muhly-esque epic that is “Koen”, which plays with Japanese singer Eri Makino’s voice. It’s an enchanting album: the voice is at front row, loud and clear, but without recurring to the old tricks of an electronic creator playing at pop. Sara Fontán is there with her delightful violin, and Bjort Runarsdöttir joins her on violoncello, but it is all so subtle, so veiled, that at times the trick is to reveal without being seen, to insinuate, to show the small details that make the whole, to produce a magnificent blend of instrumentation and arrangements, layers and infinite levels.

Miguel Marín is a musician who ignores labels, who crosses the boundaries between styles, and who leaves his personal mark on everything he does to travel light years away from most contemporary creators.