Lulacruza & MJ Greenmountain | Soloina

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Electronic: Folktronic World: South American Moods: Type: Experimental
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by Lulacruza & MJ Greenmountain

Soloina is a visionary exploration into untamed landscapes. Hypnotic chants entwine through crackling layers of effervescent textures. Raw incantations, tribal drumming, and rainbow processing shower over electronic tropicalia.
Genre: Electronic: Folktronic
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Jaguares
3:25 $0.99
2. Caracoles
3:34 $0.99
3. Soloina
5:30 $0.99
4. Cenote
5:55 $0.99
5. Unu Tusuna
4:55 $0.99
6. Nina Tusuna
3:46 $0.99
7. Everlasting
3:51 $0.99
8. Cachoeira
4:01 $0.99
9. Ackon Cahuak
5:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This collaborative project between Lulacruza and MJ Greenmountain combines entrancing South American rhythms and colorful melodies with a potent blend of jungle electronica.

The album is a rich, cross-pollinated collection of songs created from edited improvisations. Recorded in their Oakland home, the tracks feature the trio’s voices, a diverse group of indigenous instruments (including brazilian kalimba, zawose ilimba, argentinian bombo legüero, yoruba talking drum, thai khaen hok, korean tchango, african caxixis, african qaraqebs, and tibetan singing bells) as well as sounds from field recordings, synthesizers and digital processing.

Equally inspired by Caetano Veloso, Animal Collective and traditional Andean and Amazonian ritual music, Soloina is deeply haunting as it is soothing.

Lulacruza weaves female vocals, South American instruments, found sound objects and field recordings through electronic manipulation. A duo from Colombia and Argentina, Alejandra Ortiz and Luis Maurette make primal songs which combine improvising, channeling and exploring acoustics and vibration. Their music unfolds as hypnotic prayers and electronic folk with nymph-like vocals; aquatic textures and up-tempo, handcrafted South American rhythms.

Lulacruza independently released their debut album Do Pretty! in Argentina in May 2006 after meeting at Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA two years before. Do Pretty’s success in both the media and with the public led to two years of extensive performances across twenty five cities in six countries. Their music has been included in a feature-length independent Mexican documentary as well as compilation CDs in Italy, Venezuela, and Spain. In 2007 they were Artists-in-Residence at the Red Poppy Art House, a groundbreaking multidisciplinary space in San Francisco. For a period of six months, Lulacruza collaborated with fellow travelers, noise & electronic musicians, folk singers, sound healers, video & installation artists, educators and community builders to foster the dream of listening to each other and co-creating through all of their relations.

MJ Greenmountain is a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer. Combining contemporary and traditional song structures as well as trance-chant styles, his music is heavily influenced by roots music of the African diaspora, drawing especially from Yoruba (Nigeria), Wagogo (Tanzania), Reggae (Caribbean), Afro- Brazil and Gnawa (Morocco), as well as music of Northern India and the Middle East.

For the past 15 years, MJ has traveled extensively, studied sacred songs, root rhythms and chants from around the globe, participating also in sacred ceremonies with indigenous tribes from India, Indonesia, Australia, Africa, and the Americas. MJ has also composed and produced music scores for feature films and documentaries. He has recorded and played with notables such as Ozomatli, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Babatunde Olatunji, Hassan Hakmoun, Prince Diabate, Jai Uttal, Ras Michael, Stanley Jordan, Steve Kimmock, Joanne Shenendoah and many others.



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Beyond simple explanation
I am listening to Soloina right now, its really making miss Cameroon right now. Its like the tracks are beyond simple explanation, one can only use their soul to describe it which takes a lifetime so that’s a challenge in itself. All I can say is wow.

Brian W. Rogers

Pure flight, pure speeds and colors
While much has been made of groups in recent years that have adopted traces of tropical sounds (bands which could only belong to the first
children of the digital information era), for the most part the juxtaposition of electronics and folkloric and indigenous musics has been tentative, the transpositions unsure of how to balance such a vast influx of elements.
Lulacruza (Alejandra Ortiz, from Colombia, and Luiz Maurette, from Argentina), in collaboration on their newest record, Soloina, with M.J. Greenmountain, however, arrives fully-formed. It is a matter of technique: the group does not seem to mine a sense of novelty or exoticism from, for example, utilizing time-streched loops and
rhythmic samples as a gossamer web for Ortiz's raw vocal invocations; this is not a music of contradictions, but a harnessing of forces, a
realization of the potentials for organic perceptual expansion through the linking of the hypermodern and the ancient. Soloina is a truly
modern album in that it feels detonated from a point where past, present, and future have begun to collapse on one another; Lulacruza are the vines latticing up the rubble.
All of which might sound terribly abstract, but in it's own way, Soloina is also, among many other things, a pop record: refrains are
summoned, evoked, fashioned together, yet not those refrains which have become standard in the language of most pop music: these are cosmic refrains, refrains of memory, loss, discovery, love, connectivity. From the rolling drums and vocals of opener 'Jaguares,' there is a warning from far off, an announcement of an arrival,
something invigorating and vaguely menacing. The listener is deterritorialized, and another another commonality between contemporary digitalia and south american tradition is drawn: the possibilities of voyages in place.
The strength of Soloina, what gives it this disconcerting and rare power to seemingly come from so many directions at once (aside from
it's unusually vibrant and creative mixing), is the group's refusal to imitate; instead, Ortiz, Maurette, and Greenmountain sound like, are, a pack of becomings: not just becoming animal, but becoming pure flight, pure speeds and colors. A vibrancy that is visceral, which uses language but is beyond words.
There is so much detail on the record that a recounting of individual elements--shards of melodies of latin and african folk song that sound
not so much modal but like the unleashing of secret cromaticisms, the hypnotic percolations of polyrhythms, the destabalizing effects of subtle signal processing, rendering charango, kalimba, cuatro, bells, active, alive-- seems insufficient. Like any transformative experience, reading about it isn't enough, and it may seem like a cliche but at the end of Soloina, you are not the same.

sutil. tribal. inquietante. vanguardia. universal
Segundo disco de Lulacruza, formado por Alejandra Ortíz, de Colombia y Luis Maurette de la Argentina, que se conocieron estudiando en el Berklee College de Boston, Estados Unidos, hace cinco años. Ambos, tan amantes de las músicas tradicionales de Sudamérica como de las nuevas técnicas digitales, y esos extremos confluyen en sus creaciones.

Lulacruza propone una fusión contemplativa, con sonoridad actual, explorando a conciencia el carácter ritual de la música ancestral (algo ya trabajado en su primer disco). Mezclando aires populares, la voz, ritmos e instrumentos autóctonos y procesamiento electrónico, conjugan, sin ser extravagantes, en un sonido orgánico rico en timbres y texturas.

Soloina es principalmente instrumental, sólo en pocas ocasiones el canto dice texto en plan canción, ya que la voz es utilizada como un instrumento más; destacamos a su vez la calidez vocal de Ortíz, en sus distintas facetas. Los medios digitales contemporáneos tienen en Lulacruza una impronta que trasciende la idea de sonar “modernos” o electrónicos. Buscan integrar esos recursos al resto de la instrumentación (bombos, kalimbas, tar, cuencos y otras percusiones, más grabaciones de campo), y lo logran borrando las fronteras entre lo acústico y lo digital, creando paisajes sonoros sumamente climáticos. Capas donde lo melódico y lo armónico discurren con naturalidad y cierto grado de improvisación experimental, hacen de esta obra conceptual una pieza hipnótica. Soloina (grabado junto al multiinstrumentista californiano MJ Greenmountain), nos transporta a algo primitivo, arriesgado y a la vez luminoso.

Diego Valente

Ambient precolombino, electrónica que se funde con la naturaleza
No es fácil hablar de Lulacruza. El dúo compuesto por la colombiana Alejandra Ortiz y el argentino Luis Maurette propone una música extraña que por momentos remite más a paisajes sonoros que a canciones. Es cierto que Lulacruza puede asociarse al puñado de artistas que mezclan electrónica con música latinoamericana (Tonolec, Tremor, Doña María, etc, etc,) pero también es verdad que son los más extremos dentro de esa escena.
Ambient precolombino, electrónica que se funde con la naturaleza: extraño viaje el que propone este dúo en su segundo disco. Antes hablábamos de paisajes sonoros y es esto exactamente lo que uno cree estar atravesando al escuchar tracks como “Cenote” o “Ackon Cahuak “
Pero también hay canciones; piezas extrañas, rodeadas de climas enrarecidos por el sonido de insectos y quien sabe que otras alimañas. Allí están “Caracoles” (un trip en cámara lenta por un jardín nocturno) o “Soloina”. Este último track ostenta un frenético desarrollo rítmico, el mismo tratamiento tribal de las percusiones que envuelve al oyente en “Jaguares” y que volverá en “Everlasting” demostrando el importante aporte deL multiinstrumentista estadounidense MJ Greenmountain en el disco.
“Soloina” es un cd con una propuesta clara que no se permite concesiones. Un viaje, bastante oscuro, por un universo musical tan personal como inquietante.

Few bands sound like Lulacruza
Few bands sound like Lulacruza. Composed of Luis Maurette from Argentina and Alejandra Ortiz from Colombia, the now-California-based duo uses electronic production methods to create a pan-global fusion that weaves female vocals, South American instruments, found sound objects, and field recordings into exotic landscapes. On Soloina, a collaboration with vocalist and multi-instrumentalist MJ Greenmountain, the sound explorers entwine a mini-orchestra of indigenous percussion instruments (kalimba, Bombo legüero, Yoruba talking drum, caxixis, qaraqebs) charango, cuatro, and chanted incantations into oft-mysterious ritual pieces that feel like they could summon long-dead spirits.

As rich in colour and spirit as its colour illustration, Soloina originated as improvisations recorded in Lulacruza's Oakland home which were then shaped into the forty-minute, nine-song collection. Ortiz's bright voice dances freely over the percussive-heavy swing of “Soloina” while the less dense “Cenote” allows the song's hypnotic vocal chants to have maximum impact. “Unu Tusuna,” “Everlasting,” and “Ackon Cahuak” bring the electronic dimension to the forefront with ever-changing and sometimes hazy masses of airy vocal musings and tropical sounds. The album is “world music” in the truest sense, due perhaps in part to the involvement of Greenmountain who has spent the past fifteen years studying music from around the globe and has participated in sacred ceremonies with tribes from India, Indonesia, Australia, Africa, and the Americas. Labels such as “electronic tropicalia” or “jungle electronica” understandably spring to mind when Soloina plays.

mesmerizing series of hypnotic vignettes
Lulacruza’s Alejandra Ortiz and Luis Maurette are from Columbia and Argentina respectively, and met at the Berklee School of Music in Boston in 2004…in 2006 they released their debut album Do Pretty independently in Argentina, and in the meantime the duo has resettled in Oakland, California…for this, their second album they’ve recruited the assistance of M.J. Greenmountain, a veteran of pan-ethnic tribal and trance-based musics…Soloina is a mesmerizing series of hypnotic vignettes, using folk instruments from South America, Africa, and Asia, with an emphasis on wet, rubbery percussion…though the source instruments are acoustic, they’re subjected to electronic looping, and drenched alternately with echo, delay, and reverb, creating ringing rounds of blissed-out disorientation…Ortiz lends her sweet alto voice to most of the album’s tracks, singing in Spanish or wordlessly, lifting the tunes further into a hazy reverie…field recordings of jungle fauna and of an unnamed tribal ceremony complete the blend, adding up to an dense aura of contemplation and mystery…