Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Violeta Castillo – Envuelta

Argentine vocalist fights synthpop fatigue, other kinds of fatigue…


Alfred Soto: This Argentine singer reflects a regional interest in squeezing new coughs and beeps from synths that we haven’t heard before, and Violeta Castillo has the timbre to sound like a normal person while the instruments get Gothic in their overstatement.

Jonathan Bogart: Handmade electropop given more emotional weight by the winsomeness of her voice, while the random interpolation of acoustic sounds gives it the air of being more experimental or inaccessible than it really is.

Katherine St Asaph: The synth backing switches modes constantly: motorik, polite, wall-of-sound, vaporwave remix of the Space Zone 2 music. Wish the vocal varied as much that, or at all.

Juana Giaimo: I enjoy Violeta Castillo when she is absent, wandering in her own song as if it was a background for her wandering voice. The record-scratch sound of the chorus is asking for another kind of voice, one that is ready to encourage a multitude to dance, but instead she moves slowly and leaving blank spaces as if she sometimes forgot she is singing to someone. “Envuelta” is full of isolated elements like this that work because they are placed in key moments, providing different textures in an otherwise plain song. Her absent state isn’t relaxed; she is tormented and confused and she takes abrupt changes — like the bridge in a higher register that works as the culmination of a mess of memories, but in the end she can only confess: “Sometimes I’m so confident and most of the times I’m wrapped up in ambiguity.” Ah, how many times have we felt like that? As if there was a fog all around us and everything else feels too distant. We could join this beat or that record-scratch, but it all leaves us behind, and we didn’t even notice how the year is coming to an end and we are still in the same place. 

Peter Ryan: Appropriately oblique for an identity crisis, but Castillo has shown off a keen melodic sense before both on her own and with friends, and sure enough after a few listens that desolate chorus starts to catch. She’s supplanting her lightly-psychy rock-pop with a knotty R&B-pop, sort of like an earthbound BFlecha. It’s not a brazen show of force in the least, but it is a clear-eyed stylistic statement of purpose, a step toward a more distinctive niche.

Iain Mew: “Envuelta” has such an engrossing array of different sounds that even after I spent the whole thing waiting for more of a song to emerge, I didn’t mind too much.

Claire Biddles: After what feels like an endless summer of samey electronic pop, it’s refreshing to hear something that uses synths in a more experimental, varied way. I would have preferred the tension of a more refined structure paired with the haphazard sounds, but this intrigues me enough to look forward to what Violeta does next. 

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