NO ERA SÓLIDA: ALBUM REVIEW
Time feels circular on Lucrecia Dalt’s No Era Solida. Instruments flow over each other in cycles and even the vocals have an odd alternating quality to them. Sounds come and then are lost to the soundscape of an alien world that Dalt composes. It’s a project that feels of the Earth, accepting of its place in the world.
Lucrecia Dalt has an extensive background as a geotechnical engineer and you can hear how this knowledge shapes her compositions. The entire album feels very natural; like a project meant to be played in a cave. Each track starts with a firm bass-like grounding which often takes the form of an almost imperceptible rumble. From that foundation, Dalt builds out entire worlds consisting of bubbling synths, muted percussion, and wavering vocals. Each of the tracks on the project are prone to long passages of repetition, slowly changing and morphing, but rarely does Dalt catch you off guard. Her compositions are almost methodical in the way they rise and fall with each beat of the music.
There is also extreme variation in what Dalt presents on this project. Some tracks feature heavy amounts of static and no vocals, while on others she completely isolates the vocal melodies. Dalt is unafraid to challenge any notions the listener may have of her music, which makes each song truly stand on its own. Each composition feels like its own idea, linked subtly to the others as if within a spiderweb.
All of Dalt’s vocals are in Spanish, but most of the time they are so layered and delayed that it’s nearly impossible to make out any words. The song “Seca” highlights this best, as Lucrecia Dalt sounds almost like Imogen Heap as her vocals layer and pitch-shift out of recognition. Toward the end of the song, Dalt’s vocals themselves become another synth. Her vocal arpeggiation mirrors the glistening background until her voice completely disappears.
Other tracks like “Entiendo” feature no vocals and instead are driven by glitchy basslines and high pitched metallic squeaks. “Entiendo” features strange percussive melodies that I can’t link to any specific instrument. In fact, on this album, there are very few recognizable instruments being played. Almost every sound on the album feels like something dug up out of a cave that humans have yet to hear. At the end of the song, a fire alarm goes off slowly, merging with the rest of the metallic instrumentation until it fades to blackness.
The obvious standout track is the 9-minute epic “No Era Solida.” This track sums up what makes this album magical at times, its slow-moving but powerful nature. This song behaves as a tapestry as Dalt weaves in vocals and stories, telling us what this album means in a gentle whisper. On this song, you can hear the vocals clearly and the emotion in Dalt’s voice is readily apparent.
No Era Solida is an incredibly engaging and interesting listen. I can truly say I’ve never heard music like this before. So often, its textures, melodies, and structures push musical boundaries and completely introduce new sounds to the world.