Perfume de Mujer — Variaciones en la Cuerda Vol. 2 & 3
(Luna Negra CDLN-02, 1996, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 1997-05-01
This 1996 CD release from Cuban ensemble Perfume de Mujer is a compilation of their two albums L’Ultima Cena and Aquarium. Ten participants are credited here though most of the action seems to revolve around vocals (in Spanish), guitar, violin, keys, bass, programmed drums, and percussion. Most of the tracks on L’Ultima Cena involve the band pulsing along to a sultry or slippery groove as vocalist Abel Perez lays a steady vocal stream over the top. Many will find Perez very reminiscent of Demetrios Stratos or Alberto Piras, with vocal lines that overflow with expression and drama. Throughout the material here, he moves effortlessly from smoky smooth melodies to tortured cries and angry snarls. In fact, the overall sound on Variaciones en la Cuerda is similar to Area or even Deus ex Machina, though never harsh or too heavy and a with a distinctly Latin American flavor, courtesy of percussion and use of instruments like accordion and violin. The instrumental work is top notch all around, especially the guitar, which drops in from time to time to deliver some scorching leads.
What I like most about the material here is that it can be almost dark but very playful at the same time. Aquarium improves over L’Ultima Cena as it moves into more interesting territory with instrumental arrangements and interplay that are engaging and full of life. I was also happy to see more prominent keyboards in the mix as well. Interestingly, Aquarium appears to have been recorded live, which is even more impressive considering the control and cohesiveness of the overall presentation. The production and sound quality throughout are top notch dispelling any notions that anything out of a place like Cuba would involve inferior production qualities. A fine collection overall.
Related artist(s): Perfume de Mujer
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more