Having cut their electronic music teeth circa 2008 on their critically acclaimed Medio Mutante releases, Mariana Saldana and Jose Cota are back as BOAN with an au courant project tagged "Mentiras." A deeply reflective record, these recordings take the listener on a journey through psychedelic kaleidoscopes of exquisite sound colors and elegant yet sonically muscular arrangements that cover topics ranging from those of spirited youth to fervent disclosure.
Cota, a Los Angeles native transplanted to Austin Texas, works his synthesizers in a manner that transfixes his listeners into unearthly worlds made of seemingly impossible modulations and astute overlays within an hypnotic and often trance-like aesthetic. His vocalist collaborator and Houston native Saldana, brings a commanding sensuality and an artistic sensitivity to the work that is well woven and on target. As adroit as Cota is in creating his synthetic domains, Saldana is just as proficient in climbing into them and instantly enhancing them with her compelling inflections, assertive phrasing, and lustful tone. She interlaces her vocals and their effects into his instrumentation pushing the limits of the compositions with a sense of dynamic purpose. Nothing is wasted, and nothing is delivered without mission.
With a bravado and swagger of seasoned club denizens, BOAN show a willingness to stand on the edge of rebellious and tawdry presentation. Songs like "Freak Snake" and "BOAN Acid" not only illuminate this sense of familiarity with dissension and the lurid, but wield a respectable amount of street credibility. Tapping into their inner industrial dance tendencies, the two songs never really cross the line of making music with noise, but instead run with the frantic pandemonium created by the discord beauty of their overlapping sequences.
Easily the LP's most memorable track is "Babylon." Its alluring intro of delayed synthetic bell and chime tones are the audio equivalent of the refractive phenomenon of light passing through a glass prism. Developed and effective, it sets up a truly masterful piece of music that has a harmonic pull all but impossible to escape. Saldana's lyrics simultaneously radiate the authority of an edict, while charismatically surrendering some sort of lost or hidden knowledge. She tests the pop boundaries of the song, by combining the maven restraint of flash card like phrasing and the confidence of a women in her prime. Already BOAN's signature work, the song has underground classic written all over it.
But if "Babylon" is BOAN's trademark and unforgettable territory, "Secretos" is the dark place were we get a glimpse into their souls. Instrumentally the song has an early New Order or Thick Pigeon mournful serenity, but is unmistakably post electronica minimal wave. Saldana's melancholy Spanish language lyrics are so stirring, the abandon and despair translate emotionally for any listener. The song references the universal yet very personal and difficult experience we all have when we meet someone new and reconcile hiding secrets about ourselves in fear of losing them, and how those secrets we keep from them in the beginning become new secrets we keep from them later. Its the pain and anxiety of being in love with a person that doesn't fully know you, nor you them. Saldana sings this song without a cynical bone in her body. The isolation and sadness in her performance clearly draws upon her own wounds, and it is here she is unquestionably at her artistic best.
BOAN'S debut accomplishes much in just five songs. It brings the full force of two street wise and knowledge hungry Mexican American artists in a virtually defect less collaboration. With a powerful appetite and zest for what is electronic music expression, mesmerizing and pulsating synth lines find themselves superimposed with vocals that range from salacious seduction to heart wrenching outpouring. With this beguiling self awareness and sound sophistication the magic and creative passion of "Mentiras" is unleashed.
Artist Link: https://www.facebook.com/BOAN-109780689145792/