Silvania: Campo de Espirales / Árboles / Secuencias Posibles
At-At Records

I'll admit some things about this release confuse me. The title, to begin with: is it Campo de espirales / árboles / secuencias posibles or simply Campo de espirales? And, if it's the former, how does one make sense of the translated title Field of spirals / trees / possible sequences? (Field of Spirals, on the other hand, refers to the sound of any landscape or garden, sufficiently beautiful to inspire a secret and magical life that extends beyond mythology and fairytale—an ideal title choice, then, for the album). It's also not entirely clear whether the its material was inspired by artists like Joni Mitchell, The Carpenters, The Velvet Underground, Donovan, Slowdive, Lush, The Beach Boys, and others, or whether it's samples of those artists' works that form the basis of Silvania's songs. Also unclear is whether Campo de espirales is new or previously unpublished material that's only now being made available (a liner note ties concept and production to Madrid , 1998-1999).

Enough already. Here is what we do know: Peruvian duo Mario (guitar, computer, synth) and Cocó (voice, pianos, cellos) formed Silvania in 1990, and thereafter issued a number of albums, with Campo de espirales completing a trilogy begun with Juniperfin (1997) and Naves sin Puertos (1998). The pair conceived of Silvania as a ‘language of sound' designed to merge classic pop and the avant-garde, and Campo de espirales as an ultra-textured field of soft, enveloping colour. What we get are sixteen heavenly settings that combine the textured Basic Channel atmospherics with the symphonic sparkle of Marsen Jules and hypnotic dreampop of Cocteau Twins. If the album's songs are solely created from samples, Silvania has done a good job of concealing it, as the material has been transformed so extensively no obvious traces of those artists are heard. Propelled by muffled bass drum beats and clicks, songs float past on fluttering waves of ambient washes augmented by bell tinkles and hazy voices. The pieces are like gently flowing streams—some still, some rapid—where elements constantly bob to the surface and then vanish, to be replaced by others.

August 2007