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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 221 - 09/09/14

Blonde Redhead
Barragán
Asawa Kuru LLC / Kobalt Label Services

Barragán is Blonde Redhead's ninth studio album. Quite an impressive row. Pushing ten. Even though if all that glitters isn't gold.

Lat mooonth I checked out Dripping, the second single from their new album. As always the New York City based threesome move with grace and elegance. Kazu Makino (vocals, rhythm guitar) and the twin brothers Amedeo Pace (vocals and lead guitar) and Simone Pace (drums) are a tight unit, and they compose and perform their songs with just the right flair, emotion, love, precision, virtue, skills, craft. Well, they're still elegant, they're still graceful, but some of the nerve is gone, I feel. Yet, they still do some tricks, and do show some magic, even though those magic moments appear more seldom, and are harder to find. That said, the band still write really nice songs, and can come up with heartfelt and fine melodic moments. But, they don't get a good grip as some years back.

Barragán... Well, it could be an ode to either - or:
1. 'Luis Barragán (17.12.1914 - 25.07.2009) was an Argentine painter of the Abstract, Figurative, and Surrealist schools. [...] Art gallery catalogs featuring images of Barragán's canvases would feature his signature phrase: "In art, each work, as it is being created, will make its own rules." [...] The elder Barragán's art show appearances became less frequent in later years, though in September 2002, he was featured in a Van Eyck Gallery exhibition. Local critic Raúl Santana wrote on the occasion that his work "...appears more vital, prouder and more uncompromising than ever. The intensity of the color in both the backdrop and the lines provide a constant counterpoint, and reflects the artist's well-known love of music..."' (wikipdia)

2. 'Luis Ramiro Barragán Morfín (09.03.1902 - 22.11.1988) was a Mexican architect. He studied as an engineer in his home town, while undertaking the entirety of additional coursework to obtain the title of architect. Barragán attended lectures by Le Corbusier and became influenced by European modernism. According to Andrés Casillas (who worked with Barragán), he eventually became entirely convinced that the house should not be "a machine for living." Opposed to functionalism, Barragán strove for an "emotional architecture" claiming that "any work of architecture which does not express serenity is a mistake." Barragán always used raw materials such as stone or wood. He combined them with his incredibly creative use of light. Barragán worked for years with little acknowledgement or praise until 1975 when he was honored with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1980, he became the second winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. His house and studio, built in 1948 in Mexico City, were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004.' (wikipdia)

Barragán holds ten songs, clocking in at less than 42 minutes. The instrumental opener (the title track) sets the tone to a sparse world of vague, dreamy electro-pop. I'm sorry to say that most parts of Barragán glides by without too much substance. There are only a few songs hooking up, being good enough, colorful enough, or intersting enough. The rest of the album is too pale, too bleak, too half-cooked, half-chewed. "Dripping" is good, with its chill coolness, and I like "Mind To Be Had". There's maybe a couple more fairly decent songs, and a couple more songs I can listen to, as background music. But that's about it. And that's not good enough. Sorry. I'd better go grab some of their old platters from the shelves.

Copyright © 2014 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Blonde Redhead articles/reviews: Øyafestivalen, Oslo, 11.08.01, 23, Dripping, Here Sometimes, Misery Is a Butterfly.

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