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Album review: Lulacruza 'Orcas'

In search of fresh enlightenment, the Shaman’s drums called for Lulucruza to begin a solemn pilgrimage to an island in the North Pacific...

Artist: Lulacruza
Album: Orcas
Label: Jumpsuit Records
Release date: 14/04/15

In search of fresh enlightenment, the Shaman's drums called for Lulucruza to begin a solemn pilgrimage to an island in the North Pacific, far beyond their South American homeland. For their fourth full ­length LP, the electronic folk duo (Alejandra Ortiz & Luis Maurette) travelled to Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest. The duo were invited by music tastemaker and Sub Pop Records founder Bruce Pavitt to record at a custom­ built, state ­of ­the ­art studio on the island. Lulacruza were so inspired by the nature and wildlife around them, they would ultimately name their new album after the pristine surroundings.

‘Orcas' eight distinct electronic-folk soundscapes ignite a strong shamanic feeling in one's soul. Weaving from worlds of melodic benevolence through tracks like Comandante, Ortiz's voice portrays her malevolent spirituality in its purest form, bending her beautiful voice like a tranquil, constant whispering in the Columbian rainforest. Journeying through the LP I found myself entering an ethereal, trance-like state, the music enlightening an almost ritualistic mentality in my mind, as I actively practiced divination and self-healing.

While Lulacruza use electronics to add depth, space and to create obscure parallels between reality and ethereal imagination, South American indigenous instruments like the 4­ string cuatro, 10 ­string charango and bombo, a huge Argentinian bass drum, also gauge the dynamics on ‘Orcas.' Luis' almost surrealist electronic undertones provide a melodic salvation alongside the enriching acoustics. A nomad since childhood, Luis' artistic vision is born out of his many homes throughout North and South America, the natural world and the different indigenous people who have inhabited these places across the continent.

“This feels like a very raw and vulnerable album. Without being truly vulnerable and taking risks, there's no possibility for love to bloom; sometimes one must dare to stay in dark places, which are the most fertile, for light to come through," said Ortiz.

As Ortiz describes the LP's truly visionary raison d'être, I take these words to portray a humble reflection of were Lulacruza have actually recorded their album, the island of Orcas. The LP's music is a continuous epilogue of the island's dense forestry nature, secretive cultural ancestry and solemn spirit. Lulacruza's music is a practice that is in constant growth and is directly influenced by the indigenous essence that is universal to all human origin.

WORDS | Ruairi Cahill


01. Callar, Llorar, Gritar (Shut up, Weep, Shout Out)
02. Comandante (Commander)
03. El Agua Abarca (Sandal Water)
04. Estrella del Alba (Alba's Star)
05. Lagunita (Hollow Pond)
06. Señor de Fuego (Lord of Fire)
07. Subterraneo y Estelar (Underground and Stellar)
08. Uno Resuena (One Resonates)

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