Tarta Relena - Fiat Lux
Really lush vocal music that draws on Mediterranean folk, Georgian laments, and the 12th century mystic Hildegard von Bingen. We highly recommend.
Fiat Lux is the debut album by Tarta Relena, a Barcelona-based project featuring Marta Torrella and Helena Ros. The group approaches the oral traditions of the Mediterranean from a contemporary perspective using a unique combination of ancient vocal melodies and subtle electronic textures.
Tarta Relena’s inspiration for Fiat Lux comes from historical characters, such as the Virgin Mary and Hildegard of Bingen, and timeless verses that deal with the cyclic nature of the human experience: “E suïcidi i el cant” (1) is an adaptation of a traditional poem by Pashtun women in Afghanistan; “Esta montanya d’enfrente” (3) is a traditional Sephardic song; “Safo” (9) is based on the love poems by Sappho of Lesbos.
Singing in Catalan, Spanish, Greek, Latin, English, and even Sephardi, the language of Hispanic jews, Tarta Relena explore a complex array of Latin cultures through the simplicity of voice. They draw from vocal techniques that range from flamenco to jazz, introducing elements of electronic music to redefine the melodies.
In January 2019, Tarta Relena released their first EP, Ora Pro Nobis: eight a cappella songs with minimal electronics. In April 2020, they released their second EP, Intercede Pro Nobis: a five-song dialogue between voice and electronics.
Fiat Lux expands on past experimentations, moving away from organic harmonies to embrace digital textures and distortions. The musical production of Juan Luis Batalla and Òscar Garrobé is remnant of Holly Herndon or Eartheater.
Tarta Relena have perhaps been best described by Pitchfork in their review of Pack Pro Nobis: “Tarta Relena is a celebration of musical exchange. At a time of rising nationalisms across Europe, Tarta Relena’s songs are a testament both to the porousness of borders and the ideas that unite disparate cultures, running beneath the centuries like a pedal tone”.
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