"Composing and making the record is definitely something I feel more comfortable doing on my own, because I am able to get into a deeper way of working." - Juana Molina
"Involved" is a good way to describe Juana Molina's relationship to her compositions. It only takes one song for a listener to first, be engaged by the variety of sounds the Argentinian musician piles into each one of her tunes and then second, to be shocked by the fact that she makes all of the noises herself. But I can't imagine her creating music any other way and apparently, she can't either. The reason being is that I really feel like I'm in Molina's head when I listen to her music. I think what gives me this sensation is how completely rendered all of her songs are.
Take the first single, "Eras," for example. It begins with a steady drumbeat and a cycling synth, which are followed by quick symbols and a rubbery ping, before exploding into full, guttural, PJ Harveyish guitars as she softly repeats, "Come quickly." For every sound, there's a complimentary or counter-noise that completes the experience. And whenever things start to drag, don't worry, some haunting piano or tribal background vocals are just around the corner.
Argentinian musician Juana Molina creates complex songs with multiple instruments in her new album, “Wed 21.”
Shown is the cover of “Wed 21,” a new album by Juana Molina.
None of the parts are that complicated to play - the guitar work usually consists of a few strings being plucked, the piano-playing is typically like a snapshot of someone aimlessly striking the keys, and all the synth noises sound like something anyone could find after a few hours of experimentation. But the thing is that the skill in Molina's songs doesn't lie in the parts, but rather in the whole. She is a master artist when it comes to compiling sounds into something beautiful.
The best moments, like in the case of most rock 'n' roll, are the unhinged ones. The beginning rush of "El Oso De La Guarda" is so much fun. It sounds like she's torturing a toy guitar, banging something metallic and plinking a few keyboard keys. Independently, or even at a different pace, this would just be chaos. But layered together and sped up, they're engaging and can't help but put a smile on your face. And since Molina started her career as a comedic actress, that's probably what she's aiming for.