Margarita Botello / José Luis Fernández Ledesma — La Paciencia de Job
(Musea FGBG 4622, 2006, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-01-01
Based in Mexico City, José Luis Fernández Ledesma’s projects appear every year or so quietly with little fanfare; he is definitely one of the most underrated artists around, given his widescreen artistic vision, the superbly high quality of every release, and his steadfast refusal to go commercial. Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Margarita Botello often appears on his releases, but I believe this is their first full collaboration since 2000’s Sol Central.
For his part, JLFL plays the bulk of the instrumentation, including all guitars (acoustic, electric, 12-string, and more), laúd, flute, most bass, keyboards, electronics, xylophone, and some percussion (both modern and pre-columbian instruments like huehuétl and teponaztlis); in addition to the vocals (mostly wordless, but a couple pieces have some very thoughtful Spanish lyrics) Botello plays marimba, piano, kalimba, ocarina, and other percussion, with additional guests joining on violin, various horns and saxes, and drums, track depending, although very little of this is played in any conventional way. These are often dark, chamber-like explorations that are at once stirring and cinematic, often with shimmering waves of electronics and acoustics woven through their fabric. There is a great degree of sonic variety from one moment to the next, some passages are extremely stark, some more lush and warm, and others that are completely uplifting and spiritual. This is one of those recordings where everything just works together beautifully. Now where’s that repeat button?
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