:papercutz: Lylac

On his debut full-length release Lylac, Bruno Miguel (aka :papercutz) creates an arrestingly original experimental pop style by marrying glitch-laden electronics and funky beat programming to soaring vocal melodies evocative of the producer's native Portugal and acoustic instrumentation (piano, strings, xylophone, melodica). The resultant songs are densely packed with micro-sound detail and texture but not so excessively that they collapse under their collective weight. Apparently Lylac's lyrics dwell on questions of self-identity (such as “Who am I?” and “Where do I belong?”) and the disenchantment felt over a society too centered on rationality at the expense of its intuitive and emotional sides, but one can easily attend to Lylac on purely sonic grounds and derive no less pleasure from it in doing so. For those wanting analogues, :papercutz songs such as “All We Have Left,” “A Secret Search,” and “The Gift of Self” are vaguely similar in style and spirit to the tracks Prefuse 73 issued featuring Claudia and Alejandra Deheza. Augmented by acoustic guitar shadings, lush female vocals (by Melissa Veras and Rosana Madalina) float dreamily over intricate arrangements of tight beat patterns throughout Lylac's forty-seven minutes.

An almost trip-hop vibe characterizes the subtly funky flow of “ A Way to Emerge.” The song's also a prime example of the :papercutz style in its fusion of xylophone patterns, string washes, crisp beat programming, and dreamy vocalizing. “Ultravioleta” likewise encapsulates the :papercutz sound in its wedding of a serpentine bass line to a serenading weave of bright female vocals. In “Broken Treasure,” sparkling harp melodies and keyboards dance over an anchoring funk base, while spiraling patterns underscore much slower vocal melodies in “Lylac” in such a way that suggests Miguel's been absorbing Glass's Einstein On The Beach and specifically its long-form “Train” and “Dance” settings. Miguel also breaks up the vocal tracks with some well-placed pretty instrumental interludes (“Caught in a Halo,” “Lost Boys,” “...Is Fading”). Imagine, if you will, a middle ground between Savath Y Savalas and Prefuse 73 and you're somewhere in the vicinity of his :papercutz sound.

March 2009