Disclaimer: this is not an album review. It’s not even an EP review. It’s a 7-inch (p)review. A 7-inch vinyl might contain three songs if you’re lucky, but we aren’t even talking about that many here. Two. Just two songs, but they warrant being talked about – the True Colors 7-Inch from Abuela.
Disclaimer No. 2: their name may mean grandmother in Spanish, but this sure as hell ain’t your grandma’s music. That’s not to demean her musical taste – this is just some next level beat-smithing. But taken in context it all makes sense: Abuela is Even Mast of legendary electronic music pioneers Ratatat and Justin Roelofs of The Anniversary. It’s a funny little cocktail of one part twitchy, glitchy, head-turning randonmess and soaring full choir vocal layering. Not only is their sound peculiar, but so is their story, which in turn contributed to their novel, genre-defying work.
So Abuela formed in the Andes. Not exactly your typical origin story for a band. Rather than taking their work to a recording studio, they decided to draw on the regional influences in their instruments (panflutes, charangos, etc.) and splice them together using the super-high tech production techniques that made Ratatat iconic in the electro world. The result is something that pulls in two directions at once: ultra-ancient woodwinds from some of the highest, gnarliest mountains in the world layered with futuristic synths with reverse attack and all the glitz and glam that makes electronica a progressive genre.
The two songs on the True Colors 7-Inch encompass a lot for being, in total, about seven minutes long. They encompass enough to warrant this review, which is really more like a preview for what could be part of the evolution of music. While it would be odd to suspect that Abuela – a group thus just as shrouded in obscurity as the Andes are in clouds – will take over the electro world, they are an example of innovation that merits attention. With the ability to access so readily music of the past while constantly creating new sounds, music has an interesting future.