Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Margarita Botello / José Luis Fernández Ledesma — Un Día Vi Cuarenta y Tres Atardeceres
(Azafrán Media AP 2243, 2022, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-07-11
Following the album Y Murio la Tarde and one additional cassette release that Ledesma made with his five-piece band Nirgal Vallis in the mid-to-late 80s, he embarked on a series of highly original solo albums in the 90s, some in collaboration, on a variety of labels (RéR, Musea, Smogless, Luna Negra) that continued until 2007. Three of those — Sol Central (2000), La Paciencia de Job (2006) and Híbridos (2007) — were collaborations with singer / accordionist / percussionist Margarita Botello, the bulk of the other instruments (acoustic and electric guitars, bass, piano, keyboards, synths, electronics, percussion, drums, santoor, kalimba and more) handled by JLFL, with guests on violins, brass, and other instruments. But after 2007 there were no further releases (other than a couple from his band Saena) until we come to 2022 and the new album Un Día Vi Cuarenta y Tres Atardeceres (translates roughly to One Day I Saw Forty-Three Sunsets), a welcome return that’s certainly proven it was well worth the wait. For those who know those earlier albums, it is what one would expect — a wonderful panorama of progressive and avant-garde musical ideas, informed by a mystical identity that is as original as it is unique. This time JLFL has added a number of additional instruments to his musical palette, (including autoharp, toy marimba, flute, lute) and Botello has as well (this time out she adds santoor, ocarina, and steel drum on several tracks), so what the listener gets is an unusual and completely unpredictable cornucopia of sounds and textures from one piece to the next across the album’s eleven essentially instrumental cuts (the vocals that Botello provides are wordless, but there are some voice samples here and there in the mix). Few albums are as enchanting or unusual as what we have here, it is definitely avant-garde, and yet it’s completely listenable, warm and beautiful from beginning to end. Music this outstanding is worth waiting fifteen years for.
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