This new album by musician Sofi Alvarez was sponsored by the Argentine National Endowment for the Arts. The tracks have combinations of vocals, acoustic instruments and a sprinkle of electronically generated sound effects. The result is a unique and successful blend of music genres. Sofi Alvarez performs the singing, acoustic and electric guitar, and ambient additions while Leandro Kalén contributes synthesizer, piano and bass, and production work.

The introductory song, Track 1: Mea Culpa, proceeds with a mix of acoustic guitar, Sofi on vocals, and background textures. The song contains elements of folk, pop singer-songwriter sounds and subtle Latinx influences. It’s a gentle questing song. Track 2: Ciegamente presents a very different instrumental texture underlying the vocal track. Guitar and piano are used to create a delicate pizzicato texture that drives the song forward rhythmically and harmonically. Track 3: Anoche is a haunting ballad with an exquisitely complicated harmonic pattern that infuses the folk-style instrumental layers with jazz progressions. Track 4: Te Fuiste is a relaxed, introspective song that includes some warm bells and synth sounds in the texture. Track 5: Si La Luna features acoustic guitar and vocals. This simple presentation highlights an insistently passionate vocal line. A deliciously complex harmonic jazz progression is presented through Sofi’s skillful guitar playing.  

The title song is Track 6: Borde. The word means edge, frontier, or border. It’s an apt description for the experimental blend of folk, pop, jazz and Latinx influences in the whole album, and in this song. Bass guitar provides continuity and depth. Sofi’s vocal range and power shines in this composition. A guitar solo introduces Track 7: Ya No Quedo Mas Polvo. A sparse piano provides counterpoint to the vocals. As the song ends, the vocal track slides into the background and the guitar and piano move to the front. It’s an unusual effect. The closing song is Track 8: Temblor. It begins as a wistful vocal-guitar song. Ambient sounds are added to the texture midway through.

This album is a consistently high-quality presentation of complex, diverse musical thinking. Both melodic and harmonic material are well developed and skillfully performed while remaining mellow, soothing, and introspective. Sofi Alvarez previously released “Indicio,” an EP, in 2018. This fully-realized undertaking demonstrates well-developed compositional skills, exceptional originality, and high production values. Although this album is relatively brief at 28 minutes, it’s well worth a listen.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Sofi Alvarez
2020, Perro Blanco
8 tracks, 28 minutes
$5.00 USD