In the recent past, there have been a number of intersections between some traditional Spanish music (especially Catalan) with contemporary electronics. Rosalía is somewhat responsible, but there was a before and, manifestly, there is now an after of her universal success. Marina Herlop put herself at the forefront thanks to “Pripyat”, the intense debut on PAN in the first half of this year. On her third album – after “Nanook” and “Babasha”, both from 2018 – she puts her voice at the service of the avant-garde and fat, whiny rhythms that combine sensuality with bubblegum.
A gift very much the own of Marina Herlop. The choice for a non-existent language imagined by her to build and drive melodies turns each song into a beautiful pop ephemera. This is not to say that the music is volatile. The harmonies it builds immediately grab hold, and the strangeness of the language captures attention. Like an alienation from everything else, a tool to be pulled into Herlop’s songs and get caught up in the broken beats, broken or stretched structures that adorn an electronica that seems to come from within.
The voice is the organic of it all. Marina Herlop uses it and, in the background, the piano to build a certain acrobatics between classical and contemporary, traditional and pop, the desire for performance with a frontal and assertive electronics. There is a desire for hyperpop and the fit with PAN is perfect, because one immediately thinks of Arca, Eartheater or Pan Daijing, but also of Beatrice Dillon, Yves Tumor and Anne Imhof. In other words, it’s part of the family. And out there, one thinks of how electronic has become something organic with PAN, of how we look at her artists as whispers of the future. To listen to Marina Herlop is to feel that interaction, but even without PAN she would have earned that in her own right. Folk unafraid of innovation, electronica that knows how to assimilate and, above all, the use of voice to drive harmonies into pop dreams that, before Herlop, seemed far away. AS