Sunday, November 22, 2015
Welcome back to the world of heartbreak. . .
Few things can prepare a listener for the kind of emotional ride that Carla Morrison takes on Amor Supremo. Upon deep listening of her latest album, I have no doubts that she has plenty of experience on both sides of the coin ————
But I should stop there and interrupt with my own dialogue. It would be no use for me to sit here and type away at how wonderfully gutting this album is without proper context. I cannot claim the music of Carla Morrison as something I would just know about without someone very intimate initiating it to me in the past. Now this person has moved on, and yet I'm still here as a big fan of the music. It moves me like few other contemporary things. That it just so happens to be of a very confessional, intimate nature is a deeply resonating, partially uncomfortable byproduct of the passing of time and relationships.
Look, it's a tough ride.
We all go through it.
Sometimes we break hearts, sometimes we have our hearts broken.
That this album —this grand, swooping artistic restatement of purpose and overall adjustment of a voice in a more produced, somehow even more emotional context— comes at the time that it does in my life is both perfection and punishment. This is Carla Morrison recast: not the acoustic guitar strumming, sweet voiced songbird that sang cute little ditties about the ins and outs of relationships; not hardly.
This is the new. The deeper. The more complex. The prettier. The even more heavily resonating. The bigger heartbreak.
The commanding, layered production of Alejandro and Demian Jiménez is miles away from the mostly acoustic backdrops which dominated Carla's discography up until this point. Lush, Disintegration-era Cure synth patches and slow, wave crashing tempos are the main touchstones here. Where in the past, Morrison's music was direct and easily digestible, the music conjured here has a nearly bottomless, flowing feeling that's traded in the concise for the ethereal and which makes her songs ever more poignant and resonating. Her lyrics are as direct as ever, but the presentation now makes them reverberate with much more sureness and courage. If you've experienced love and heartbreak, this album won't simply make sense to you, it will speak to you, for you, with you.
Removing myself from the equation, this has to be viewed as a masterful artistic move and all around creative upgrade in Carla Morrison's career. It can be a jarring listen at first. I mean, even the songs that aren't necessarily sad are dark, minor key affairs. The twelve string buzz of the lead off tune 'Un Beso' seems to set the bar for an evenly paced album, but things soon settle into a sauntering mood soon thereafter. The lighter, happier tones of 'Tú Atacas' and 'Cercanía' (which begs for a house remix) will stick out immediately, but deeper listens will reveal lumbering, towering highlights like 'No Vuelvo Jamas' and the closer 'Todo Pasa' (with an especially Cure-esque guitar tone in the coda). It isn't until the third or fourth listen that the album fully reveals itself. To be what, exactly? I could say something stupid like "a masterpiece", "an emotional triumph" or some other thing along those lines —which would absolutely be applicable.
But, no. I'll just resign myself to being in a place too closely aligned with the subject matter to properly assess and assign such accolades. I can only share my experience. And that is one of happiness, heartbreak, isolation and pure exhilaration —whether from sadness or joy— that this music brings about. It makes me want to experience everything —the good and the bad— all over again, without question.
Incredibly tough to get through, Amor Supremo is not only the most resonating album I've heard in years, it is ultimately simply beautiful.
Album of the year(s).