To define Daniel Melero seems to be a never ending effort. Chameleon of sounds, he stands strong over long years of history in the making of Latin American pop music. Renowned for his collaborations with some of the most influential artists of Argentina, he produced and mentored several generations of alternative and emerging talents. He is restless, hence his new alias ‘Qualia’, moniker that is already undefinable -by definition-.
‘Ultima Thule’ is Daniel Melero’s first album under his new alias. A narrative, both sonically and lyrically, taking us through different stages and levels of deepness according to how much we’ll submerge in the record. Following his restless and ever-changing approach to music, the album sees the light as the first release of Fuxia, a new label releasing through Qurable, a non-consumable art market in a series of stages aiming at turning the release experience into a collective event. First stage of the release happened on the 27th of April, and the 4th (but not last!) will be on the 30th of July, with a live artistic intervention of the album, that’s also coming out on vinyl. Curious? Find out more on Fuxia’s website here. We had the pleasure of listening to Ultima Thule, and here’s the result.
Parábola De Los Ciegos: atmospheric, moody and with motorik-like percussions. It doesn’t leave room for introductions, as it unfolds its signature synths and motifs before the first minute clocks in. As the whole structure acts like a loop, ethereal strings and field recordings build up and lead to an electric guitar, distorted yet calm.
Ultima Thule: a juxtaposition of musique concrète and ambiance with attention to details. There are non-subtle variations in volumes, and hidden layers of sounds placed somewhere beneath the vertigo that this downward cosmic spiral generates. Ultima Thule is proof that upwards and outside are not a must when it comes to flying.
Oxigeno Líquido: let the melodies and rhythm sink in with this one, in case you thought we were running short on musicality. It’s a delightful structure that covers a wide sonic spectrum but gives room to a guitar that seems to re-emerge from ‘Parábola de los Ciegos’. At first, and just for the sake of comparison, we could say that the rhythm and textures here would fit some of the best in Ghostly’s catalog, but Melero’s signature stands strong during the second half, adding breaks, percussive elements and some post-everything vibes that escape any attempt at labelling. The very last minute is the rabbit coming out of the hat, drifting, nostalgic, vaporous, and glorious.
Flor De Loto: closes the A-side with Melero exposing his voice together with his feelings, but don’t expect everything served on a plate, his lucid and poetic approach remains present in this neo-folk electronic attempt: “Without beliefs, without deception, without explanations” / “Without distance, without measure, in limbo”. “Everywhere, never ending, never changing, in limbo”.
Okapi: starts the B-side and it feels like a heavily atmospheric interlude where a dialogue is taking place between percussions and strings, then Tornasol begins, with its vintage feel as if it was coming from an old VHS tape. Its hauntological pathos and processed drums add a 90’s ‘idmer’ pace.
Iboga: tribal and full of intensity, with hypnotising echoes that stop abruptly for some shy elements to create a contrast and a delight for devotees of sound. The opposites become more intense as some industrial vibes take over. A pulsating beat comes and goes, as in setting a transition between these 3 short pieces and the 12 minutes of Eclosiones.
Eclosiones: has enough room to shape up slowly until Melero’s spoken word evokes pictures of flowers vanishing after blooming, and the analogy with time conquering innocence. Daniel Melero knows what he’s doing, if he evokes such grandiose ideas, then he chooses grandiose instruments such as the piano. Jazzy and playful rhythms seem to submerge in our subconscious in this Lynchian oneiric landscape of sounds.
The cherry on top? the outro with ‘All the moon phases.’ Chapeau.