This is volume 17 of Darla Records' Bliss
Out series. I have several volumes in this series, and it
is consistently entertaining. The theme is: mellow relaxing
tunes. Pretty straightforward i guess, but Darla get some really
nice results. And they have been doing this for a few years
now, so they seem to know what they are doing.
Mus are a band from Spain. And before we go any further let
me just state that i speak no Spanish, and thus have no idea
how to pronounce that. Should it be pronounced "muss" or "moose"?
I dunno -- take your pick.
Anyway, apparently Mus are a duo consisting of Fran Gayo and
Monica Vacas. I am not sure who deos what in the band. Their
music consists of delicately whispered vocals layered over mellow
keyboard work. The vocals are in Spanish, or actually they are
supposedly in some obscure mountain dialect of Spanish, but
i honestly can neither confirm nor deny that statement. To add
some further depth to their music, there are guest guitarists:
Ivan Palacias on the first track, Aguel Inviernu, and
Luigi Navarro on that track as well the second one, A Cielu
And yes, this release does in fact have only two tracks. The
first one is just over 22 minutes long, while the second clocks
in at a restrained 13 minutes. This is pretty typical of the
Bliss Out series. I think that the compositions are designed
to each fill one side of a vinyl release. Kind of similar to
the reason songs by Godspeed You
Black Emperor are so long. Plus this theory has the added
benefit of being confirmed by the one Bliss Out
volume that i do actually own on vinyl.
At any rate, within each of the two songs there is an overall
melodic theme, and some "movements". I would compare the structure
of this music to classical in that sense. So if you are looking
for 4 minute pop tunes, Aida is not
going to meet your needs. Then again, who would go looking for
4 minute pop tunes in a series of records labelled Bliss
So let's examine these two pieces, starting with Aguel Inviernu.
This tune starts off with a chiming xylophone and light drumming.
Eventually a spacey guitar wanders in, adding echoing arpeggios
to the mix. Then some formless vocals are added, accompanied
by a synthesizer quietly echoing the voice. After about 5 minutes,
(during which a lot of melodic interplay has ocurred, mind you),
the synthesizer changes.
A cheesey keyboard loop starts up, accompanied by a stronger
guitar part. I really like this portion of the song. The keyboard
loop has a harsh end: rather than smoothly flowing, every so
often you hear the sound of the keyboard (or synthesizer, or
whatever made the sound) shutting off. Then the loop starts
up again. It's a nifty little effect, but i think it would get
really annoying if it was so loud as to dominate the proceedings,
or if it went on for a long time. It only goes on for about
4 minutes, which is nothing when compared to the overall sweep
of the song.
After the looping is done, the whole song suddenlty just fades
out. This is about 12 minutes into the piece. The keyboard part
faintly picks out the main melody, and the voice is there, barely
whispering. This is a simply beautiful transition, done in the
sparsest of minimalist style. After 7 more minutes, the guitar
picks up the melody from the keyboards. Again, a very lovely
Pause while you flip the album over, and then A Cielu Abiertu
picks up where Aguel Inviernu left off: with the guitar
and the voice. After about 5 minutes or so, a tuba joins in.
No kidding -- a tuba! And it sounds great. I just love the deep
rich tone of a brass instrument, and the tuba's heartfelt bleating
is a really nice effect here. What a shamefully underutilized
After the tuba, A Cielu Abiertu sort of deconstructs
the tune back to it's beginning: the guitar fades out, then
the keyboard fades into the xylophone, which slowly gets more
and more minimal. Eventually, all you are left with is a fading
impression of the voice. This song doesn't end so much as fade
In general, the music on this release is delicate and quiet.
At times the album seems to grow quite for a second or so, but
these are more like the ebbs in the general flow of the songs.
And all of the sounds are balanced too: no one instrument or
element dominates. Instead, all live in a mellow and harmonious
Overall -- stunning. Aida is two
great tunes of ambient pop. I am really impressed with this
release, and think that anyone who is into Dreampop or Ambient
music should check this out. Heck, you can't go wrong with anything
in the Bliss Out series, really. And i look forward to
more music from Mus.
I wish i knew how to pronounce their name though....