Perfume de Mujer — Variaciones en la Cuerda Vol. 2 & 3
(Luna Negra CDLN-02, 1996, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 1997-05-01
This 1996 CD release from Cuban ensemble Perfume de Mujer is a compilation of their two albums L’Ultima Cena and Aquarium. Ten participants are credited here though most of the action seems to revolve around vocals (in Spanish), guitar, violin, keys, bass, programmed drums, and percussion. Most of the tracks on L’Ultima Cena involve the band pulsing along to a sultry or slippery groove as vocalist Abel Perez lays a steady vocal stream over the top. Many will find Perez very reminiscent of Demetrios Stratos or Alberto Piras, with vocal lines that overflow with expression and drama. Throughout the material here, he moves effortlessly from smoky smooth melodies to tortured cries and angry snarls. In fact, the overall sound on Variaciones en la Cuerda is similar to Area or even Deus ex Machina, though never harsh or too heavy and a with a distinctly Latin American flavor, courtesy of percussion and use of instruments like accordion and violin. The instrumental work is top notch all around, especially the guitar, which drops in from time to time to deliver some scorching leads.
What I like most about the material here is that it can be almost dark but very playful at the same time. Aquarium improves over L’Ultima Cena as it moves into more interesting territory with instrumental arrangements and interplay that are engaging and full of life. I was also happy to see more prominent keyboards in the mix as well. Interestingly, Aquarium appears to have been recorded live, which is even more impressive considering the control and cohesiveness of the overall presentation. The production and sound quality throughout are top notch dispelling any notions that anything out of a place like Cuba would involve inferior production qualities. A fine collection overall.
Related artist(s): Perfume de Mujer
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more