David Cordero & Carles Guajardo: Emma

Though modest in length at twenty-seven minutes, David Cordero (aka Ursula) and Carles Guajardo's Emma makes a strong impression, even if its neo-classical music sometimes seamlessly blends into the background. But that's by design, presumably: after all, the recording features film soundtrack material created for Roberto Pérez's film Emma, and very fine music it is, too. At the core of the mini-album's settings are Cordero's electric guitar atmospheres and Guajardo's elegant piano playing, and the music is more inclined towards Debussy and Satie than Bartok and Schoenberg.

Pieces like “Presentación” (Presentation) and “Punto y aparte” (New Paragraph) convey a restful ambiance in pairing crystalline guitar textures with bright sprinkles of piano. A brief exercise in piano minimalism, “Primera vez” (First Time) finds Guajardo's chords bleeding reverberantly into the ample spaces around the notes. Often, as occurs during “Inicio” (Initiation), a setting is elevated when Cristina Gámez's violin playing is conjoined to Guajardo's piano and Cordero's guitar, and the material grows even richer when Marco Serrato's contrabass is added to the mix on “Varios personajes” (Various Characters), “La llamada” (The Call), and “No poder mirar atrás (Final)” (Do Not Look Back Power). Melodically, “Cruce de historias” (Crossing Stories) is perhaps the set's strongest piece, to a large degree due to the heartfelt emotionalism of the violin playing and the track's pensive quality. Soothing, stately, and sensual, Emma's music plays like a half-hour performance of pretty neo-impressionistic pieces presented in an exquisite European salon.

July-August 2012