Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Green Ufos has the great pleasure of releasing La Vida, the new album by MUS, the Asturian duo consisting of singer Mónica Vacas and main composer Fran Gayo. MUS is a unique band, not only in Spain but in the rest of the world. No other band does what they do. It is something you notice as soon as you listen to the new album: all the songs evoke images of pure beauty where the usually opposing worlds of tradition and the avant-garde seem to meet. MUS are innovators in the creation of sounds and atmospheres and in the composition of songs and arrangements but they also look back to their past (or perhaps to an imaginary present) because one of their essential features is that they sing in Asturian, a Romantic language as old as Spanish that once was the dominant language of Asturias but is now in serious danger of disappearing.. These opposing aspects make MUS one of the most personal bands the independent Spanish scene has ever given birth to. Albums like El Naval or Divina Lluz were chosen by the specialised media as being among the best records of their respective years (2002 and 2004). Their music goes beyond Spain, and they have released their albums and singles on labels like Darla (USA), Pehr (USA), Pop Art (Greece), and Avant Garden (Taiwan). Furthermore, their unique sound has led to them being asked to play live in France, Russia, the USA and Taiwan. MUS is undoubtedly one of the very few Spanish bands that has played more abroad than in Spain, where they have only performed three concerts throughout their ten year career, twice in Asturias and once in Barcelona. However, the best was yet to come. Fai, El Naval or Divina Lluz can now be seen as part of the long road that has brought them to La Vida. After an amicable separation from their previous label, Acuarela, MUS decided to record the brightest and most vital album of their career and Green Ufos are proud to be part of it. After months of work, the result is an amazing album that is already a strong candidate to be one of the best records of 2007. MUS leave the darkness of their previous works behind and opt for gleaming hypnotic guitars, clear voices and lyrics that bring to mind the traditional poetry of Asturias - almost like some kind of blues. Many of the songs have strongly-marked rhythms, for instance the brightest, most immediate and most surprising song on the album, “Una sábana al vientu”, the beautiful, strange story of a boy who works in the building industry and sees on the horizon, from the scaffolding, his girlfriend’s half-open window. MUS saw La Vida as probably their last album. That is why they carefully and painstakingly prepared every detail of it. Fran wrote for months on an autoharp, an instrument, which deeply marks the whole album. Mónica has consciously worked on the vocals, achieving new heights both as a singer and a performer. The album features collaborations with such artists as: Pedro Vigil (Vigil, Edwin Moses), who, in addition to his work on guitar, has co-produced the album along with Fran, Manuel Molina, and Íker González (from Nacho Vegas’ band); Xabel Vegas and Josele García (both from Manta Ray); Paco Loco (in whose studio the album was mixed); Luigi Navarro; Ron González (vocals and the story behind “La Vida”); Sara Muñiz; and Pablo Errea (Edwin Moses, vocals on “Una sábana al vientu”). Recorded between February and November of 2006, La Vida contains twelve songs which rival each other in beauty. In fact, every one of them could easily be considered the best of the pack, and together they make up an unforgettable record. It is not that there are flashes of magic, there is magic itself in “Cantares de ciegu”, in “Perdieron la tierra”, in “Añada pal primer mes”, in “Animas del purgatoriu”, ... La Vida is a fabulous and amazing album where a band singing in Asturian has somehow made Neil Young and Spiritualized meet. Although journalists and fans are constantly looking to the other side of the ocean to discover, define, and document what is being called post-folk, from Devendra Banhart to Espers, from Vetiver to Charalambides, from Joanna Newsom to Silver Mt. Zion, MUS have re-written our own tradition here and now. 16 page booklet including lyrics in English, Spanish and Asturianu.