Monday, November 7, 2016

Listen: Salt Cathedral - "Unraveling" ft. Matisyahu

One of the most thrilling things about Brooklyn based Columbian electro pop duo Salt Cathedral is how they continue to push their sound forward without losing their sense of self. It's an all to easy thing to do especially in the pop realm where being able to pull from/pivot into different sounds and influences is pretty much expected but since the earliest days of the band and it's previous incarnation il abanico, Juliana Ronderos and Nicolas Losada have been able to retain something uniquely theirs even after they shifted from experimental prog rock quintet to just a duo.

"Unraveling" largely continues that tradition. Where previously released "Lift Me Up" and "Homage" were sample based b-sides, the production on "Unraveling" both resembles that of songs from their OOM VELT EP while also taking things in a different direction. Part of that may be in fact due to the nature of the collaboration with Matisyahu. Known for his spiritual take on reggae, the most surprising thing is how similar Salt Cathedral's penchant for tropical-inspired rhythms fits with Matisyahu's own style ensuring a collaboration that comes off as pretty effortless. Ronderos' vocals have always been the ace up Salt Cathedral's sleeve and though they're not as featured prominent as Matisyahu's riffs and raps, the moments the surge to forefront are enjoyable. Ronderos and Matisyahu's lyrics form an interesting parallel despite the difference in who they're addressing. Ronderos' are direct; a sort of aggressive nonconfontation "If you're looking to fight me, intermittently all I have for you is bread and flowers"/"If you're looking to bring me down, you won't find me, you won't find me at all" Ronderos offers lyrics that are such an active presentation of meeting animosity with love and positivity. Matisyahu's are intially more abstract but much more visceral. Delivered upward/internally, his lyrics are more appeals for strength to confront those challenges.

"Unraveling" shows off more of Salt Cathedral's versatility as it utilizes a different musical style and imbues with the bands own strengths as well as introducing other players into their orbit. Salt Cathedral's production in "Unraveling" is sure and confident enough to actively represent them as they allow Matisyahu to take the reigns and the main focus. It was a surprising step but one that ultimately succeeds due to the duo's strong sense of self. Whether the duo's upcoming forthcoming full length debut will feature more collaborations I don't know but based off how seamless their work with Matisyahu was, I have faith that others will stay true to the band's distinct character.

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