Granada is, without a doubt, one of the shiniest stars on the firmament of Iberian pop music. Compositional quality, originality of voices and accents and a certain passion for authenticity are all characteristic of this unique world to which Svuco belongs.
And not only in a passive way: they have also managed to assemble a vast array of collaborators coming from other bands and projects from the city, all of them related to this band in a way o another.
Svuco (meaning “noise” in the colorful Nasdat dialect created by Burgess for its usage in the universe of A Clockwork Orange) is the brainchild of guitarist Saúl Gonzálvez, a very active and experienced musician, who wanted to give a space for experimentation and creative freedom to both the main musicians in his band and their many guests, a concept not so far removed from Josh Homme's Dessert Sessions. His initial project is the realization of three EPs filled to the brim with vibrant and unrestricted musical content, everyone of them named as one of the three mystical apes of Japanese folklore. Mizaru, the monkey that covers his eyes in order not to see, is their choice for the first album in this singular trilogy. Saúl is not alone in his adventure, with him are drum player Roberto Cano (who also collaborates with him in at least three other different projects) and bassist Manolo Manso.
Their aesthetic approach to rock music aims to follow the creative principles introduced before, with results that may appear lacking in unity for the occasional listener: acoustic nu metal, soul and even rap and flamenco touches are weaved together to form an interesting sonic tapestry over a foundation of repetitive stoner and hard rock structures upon which slight but very significant variations bring a universe of new meanings. The very band, in the manifesto they published in their own official website, gladly admits that certain ears will not find the most experimental aspects of the project attractive, but that fact alone does not prevent them from partaking in their search for new loves and tensions between different sound textures.
It´s a search for new loves and tensions between different sound textures
From the beginning, their choice of such a “noisy” moniker to name their band might seem quite a strange decission. Indeed, the delicate and warm acoustic riff that opens 'Tu mundo', traversed by voices coming straight from a tired ritual, is anything but noise. In fact, distortion and electricity do not appear until the second song, 'Llorarás', that is opened by a powerfully rhythmic base that is an omen of what is soon to come: the irruption of the highly characteristic voice of Carmencita Calavera, in one of the tracks closest to the sound of classic rock and the stoner of Kyuss and company.
But it is in 'Génesis' where proper 'noise' appears: the ambiance of a conversation between the musicians, background upon which a short song in English is slowly built. In particular moments like this one, the experimental and psychedelic character of the EP is revealed. This character is also specially apparent in this collection eponymous song, Mizaru: a long instrumental passage, build upon the repetition of simple melodic forms on which a world of effects and ornaments design little differences at every beat, differences in charge of taking the listener forward. This track does not only express the band's intentions of analyzing the meaning and function of rock's essential structures, but also serves as a brilliant introduction to the album best song.
'Raíces' is a veritable world unto itself: the powerful flamenco voice of Ihmaele de la Torre (of Granada's Rock Andaluz supergroup Fausto Taranto) introduces the themes and elements developed later by Astilla (MC of Renko, another project that includes Saúl) over a base of marvelous guitars that use the traditional heavy metal resource of including Arabic scales to create a perverse sound that does not only serves the main purpose of communicating feelings of menace and challenge, but also a secondary one: proving that folkloric musical forms from every place can find an easy connection with musical universes that are apparently worlds appart. In fact, in the rap that Astilla MC performs at the hearth of this song a reference to Hijos del Agobio by Triana, (perhaps the best flamenco rock band ever, today unjustly forgotten) can be heard, hinting at the influence it exerted upon the compositional approach of the band.
The bigger the variety of influences, the bigger the quantity of innovative artistic resources
'Sol' ends the album with memories of how it began: warmth, good rhythm and acoustic guitars showing how distortion is not always needed for hardness. The voice of Pablo Parra (from Quimera Stoner) is a radical change of accent (and even language) from the previous song, a fact that does nothing but emphasize the magnetism of the collaborating singers and the ability of the band for creating their instrumental base over a meaningful dialogue with the different sounds and resources that the guests bring with them.
The experimental approach of Svuco, despite not being as spectacular as it could be in the shape of a cohesive LP, brings to mind the interesting ideas that John Zorn holds about the musical universe: there are not two kinds of music that can't be related, and the artist does not have to forcibly choose to be restrained by the “requirements” of a single genre: the bigger the variety of influences, the bigger the quantity of innovative artistic resources the musicians will have in their hands. I think, and hope for history to prove me right, that Svuco's collaborations will contribute to the good health of Granada's scene, and also hope that projects of collaboration in freedom like this one show the world the infinite possibilities that the world of today has for independent creators.
So we'll let you enjoy their video for 'Los Asesinos de Dios', the single for the album, where you will clearly appreciate the structural and lyrical minimalism used by the band as a laboratory for their sonic experiments...
Text: Dimas F. Otero
There's more in https://svuco.bandcamp.com/