January 10th, 2014 No Comments

Desert’s logical modernism kicks off Emergència! 2014

January 9th, 2014 No Comments

Every year, Emergència! focuses on the immediate future. It looks ahead and offers an insight into what’s happening at the grassroots of musical creativity, casting light on a scene that just keeps on growing. There’s no crisis in creation; imagination follows its course, and there’s no stopping it. As a showcase for this reality, Emergència! is the event for new bands at the CCCB. It is a curtain raiser to the Centre’s music programme, coordinated with an open approach by Ingrid Guardiola along with guest curators and, in the case of Emergència!, by cultural producer Sergio Silva.

We start this round of profiles and interviews to present the projects making up the festival line-up with the Barcelonaduo, Desert. With just a couple of EPs released, Desert, who will also be playing at Sónar 2014, has become one of the most interesting, imaginative projects on the Barcelonascene. Desert is Cristina Checa, formerly one of the voices of Granit and backing vocals on Pop negro by El Guincho, and Eloi Caballé, producer of groups such as Los Selenitas and La Rabia del Milenio. Desert is a melodic treatise of dreamy, evocative pop, of soaring, iconoclastic music.

© Jordi Castells, 2013

So far they’ve released two 7”s, both in Catalan: Camins (“for us, the path towards the light in song form”, they wrote in the Disco Naïvité blog) and Desert. These two expressive, emotional songs interweaving melody and image are all it took to shoot them to the attention of the music press, festivals—such as LEM—and local fans. Desert’s songs “are not about anything specific—they’re sensations that we somehow rationalize, and we prefer to let everyone interpret them in their own way”, says Cristina Checa. The host of references and ideas coming together in their music explains the duo’s intentions: the 4AD label, the deep, ethereal grooves of the Cocteau Twins, contemporary electronics –Andy Stott, post-dubstep—and commitment to experimentation. “When we write a song, what we’re quite sure about is what we DON’T want to do”, explains Cristina. “From there on, absolute freedom. I think we waste more time analysing the things we don’t like—about others and ourselves—than those we do. We’re absolutely manic, we get on really well. Bearing in mind that this is 2014 and we’re not trying to create an exercise in style, contemplative electronics and classic 4AD are our real passion”.

The group started out with rather different, less poetic intentions. “The idea when we started out with this project was to purge ourselves. Some people do the maple syrup diet. It could be worse.”

© Dani Canto, 2013

With one EP under your belt, you’ve achieved recognition and a contract with a US label (Minty Fresh, the label of Veruca Salt and The Aluminium Group, among others). What are your plans for the immediate future? Are you recording more work?

We’ll soon be releasing an EP with four songs and yes, we’re starting to think about an album. Now, it doesn’t seem as crazy as it did a while back; we’re spending more hours in the studio, learning from our mistakes, and we’re forming a clearer idea of where we can go. There aren’t enough hours in the day, but we’re really excited.

How do you strike the balance between the contemplative and the melodic momentum that is so characteristic of your music?

The rhythmic base, the voice, and the sensation the two create are the most important things for us when writing a song. I guess that’s where the balance comes in.

How do you go about writing a song?

Each song starts differently. It might start with a melody, a beat, a few chords, a sampler and let’s see what happens. We don’t have strictly defined roles, we switch and change.

Voice is a key element in understanding Desert. Do you have a model for your melodic changes? Kate Bush, maybe?

I’m a big fan of Kate Bush. Not just because she’s a virtuoso singer, but because she’s pure imagination and talent—she’s a huge composer and producer, she plays loads of instruments, she dances, she does karate, she controls her artistic career down to the finest detail. What more could you want? The Dreaming is one of my favourite albums of all time. But I wouldn’t really call her a model. I mean, I’m delighted that you think that Kate Bush could be a model for my melodic changes but quite frankly my head is constantly being bombarded, and I can’t control what I do. I learned to sing in the shower, like 99% of the population.

The remix EP, also produced by Glitter End Records, Enrique Ramos’s label, contributes exponentially to your music. How did you choose the remixers? Do they reflect the original essence of the songs?

Obviously, we chose people we like: we’ve known Lasers for some time, and we’re fans of both the underrated Erik Hurtado aka Afrika Pseudobruitismus and Aster. Marc Piñol and Hivern’s new stuff. We thought it’d be interesting to give a new twist to these two songs, and the truth is we’re delighted with the result.

Jaime Casas (@JaimeCasasB)

TheBarcelonaduo will be performing on the Foyer stage at the sixth E! festival on 15 February.

Bandcamp DESERT

Happy new year! In 2014 it will be our 20th birthday: we look forward to celebrating it together with all of you!

December 18th, 2013 No Comments

The team at Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB) would like to thank all those people who shared 2013 with us and wish you all the very best for the new year.

Happy new year! In 2014 it will be our 20th birthday: we look forward to celebrating it together with all of you!

(Català) Xavier Bassas: «A les relacions dominants capitalistes oposem-hi la subversivitat de l’amor»

December 16th, 2013 No Comments

(Català) Amor, sexe i cervell: apunts sobre el pensament de Catherine Malabou

December 12th, 2013 No Comments