Prior to Segundo
, Juana Molina set aside the budding musical career she'd pursued since childhood to become one of TV's most acclaimed comedians in her native Argentina. Her original muse may have been denied for seven years, but was never forgotten; indeed, Molina has managed something of an unexpected musical delight here. Her breathy, gentle vocals haunt unusual song structures and the album's quiet, playful production seems like some restless ghost, wandering a sonic landscape that's as electro as it is Latin. That pan-cultural, less-is-more sense is rare on any collection, let alone on a sophomore album (Rara
was released in her native country in 1996) cobbled together between club gigs while living in Los Angeles.
Driven by an insistent, plaintive guitar and producer/collaborator Alejandro Franov's delicate, bubbling synth riffs, Molina's unusually structured songs often seem to float in on a breeze and escape on a daydream. She's claimed the album was recorded in moments near the edge of sleep, and that stream-of-unconscious tack variously involves rhythmic choruses of barking dogs, ticking watches and rainforest soundscapes--most so delicately rendered they sometimes seem an auditory illusion--seasoned with impossibly plastic washes of synth and carried by Molina's sweetly somnambulistic vocals. More impressive, Molina's songwriting sense seems as inscrutably subconscious. This is a rare, true musical adventure from first track to last. --Jerry McCulley, Amazon.com