Juana Molina first came to my attention in 2014 when I was watching some Glastonbury footage on TV, her performance completely stood out for me, so much so I featured the unique, bass-driven sounds of Eras shortly after.
Hailing from Argentina, Juana is a singer-songwriter and actress, best known for her distinctive blends of ambient-psychedelia, indie-pop and folktronica! Her musical career was launched back in 1996 after she quit her acting work to pursue a musical path and later that year she went on to release her debut album, Rara.
Today I have once again been enticed by her music, but only after I was initially grabbed by the curious artwork on her forthcoming album, Halo. You can’t miss it and, like everything I seem to be discovering about Juana Molina, it is utterly unique and fascinating. A bone with a large set of eyes gazes out and I can’t help but feel completely intrigued and charmed by this vision; for which a press release had this to say of the imagery:
See the front cover of this album: a bone is looking at us! And when a bone looks at us, we’re being watched by the entire history of paleontology. The bone is a sign of having been, it’s the last remain, after the passage of vultures, hyenas, rodents and worms. But the bone became lever, weapon and inscription surface. And the bone is also Stanley Kubrick, that name we invented for jumping from the monkey to the superhuman, as well as from the caves to the moon, to Jupiter and beyond. In ancient folk legends, buried bones were believed to be the cause of luz mala (‘evil light’, also known as ghost lights or will-o’-the-wisp), that strange halo which floats above the ground and scares travelers at night.
I’ve always had a curiosity for skulls and bones, not a morbid fascination though, I hasten to add, but one that appreciates their symbolism of mortality and seeing this cover,(not to mention Juana’s Bandcamp profile pic – see above), attracted my attention immediately.
So, nearly four years after her last album, Wed 21, Juana Molina is due to release its follow-up and seventh full-length, Halo. Twelve tracks in length, Halo was recorded in Molina’s home studio outside of Buenos Aires and at Sonic Ranch Studio in Texas. Backing her musically are live band mates Odin Schwartz and Diego Lopez de Arcaute, in addition to Eduardo Bergallo. Deerhoof’s John Dieterich is also featured on the record.
A press release also notes that Halo‘s 12 tracks are, “abound with hypnotic rhythms which seem to draw their energy from immemorial rituals; with timbrel explorations and ever-changing soundscapes; with mysterious lyrics often touching on witchcraft, premonition and dreams, always used as metaphors for emotional states; with voices which sometimes move away from word and meaning to be reduced to abstract phonemes and onomatopoeia.”
Needless to say, this sounds entirely up my street! Juana Molina is an artist that I intend to investigate fully, I love what I’ve seen and heard so far and have some catching up to do before Halo arrives next month via Crammed Discs.
Pre-order your copy from here and listen to the hypnotic delights of preview track, Cosoco above…it thrills me to hear music that is so fantastically original! I have also found a great live KEXP performance from 2014 which is a watch I can highly recommend. Check this out below: