Savath + Savalas Apropa’t

[Warp; 2004]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: Catalano Folk, Experimental Lounge, Orchestral
Others: Lô Borges, Milton Nascimento, Broadcast, Via Tania

Scott Herren, the man who has acquired several musical aliases, is easily one of the most well respected and talented artists making music today. This year will be no exception. Keep in mind that last year saw the release of two highly respected albums, One Word Extinguisher and the quick follow-up Extinguished: Outtakes. With the critical success of both, we began to realize that Herren is not only extremely talented at his craft, but he’s also quite prolific at churning out one exceptional album after another. That’s quite refreshing when you think about how many of your favorite artists only manage to release material once every two or three years. With Herren, however, it’s obvious that he has so many outlets he needs to work through to get his inspirations out on record. Therefore, we get many different projects with many different styles and flavors. Whether it’s the glitch-hop of Prefuse 73, the ambient-glitch of Delarosa & Asora, or the sophistication of Savath & Savalas, we’re always given handsome insight into Herren’s fortitude of sounds.

More times than not, I find myself in amazement that Herren can create a multitude of albums with the same intensity, yet somehow they’re always devoid of monotony. The downright awe-inspiring new release from his Savath & Savalas moniker, Apropa’t, is arguably some of his best work to date. Personally, Apropa’t is my favorite out of all his albums; and that was concluded after only one listen. It’s certainly his most elegant and focused work thus far, while also his most unrecognizable. Ultimately, he’s proven once again that his talent and devotion to his art places him head-and-shoulders above the rest of the producers in his field.

Herren spent nearly a year and a half in Barcelona, Spain for personal reasons and in that time became acquainted with Eva Puyelo Muns, a Catalano singer who lends her vocals to most of the album. The sounds of the culture are prevalent throughout the entire recording of Apropa’t. They are sounds of pillow-y soft sophistication and simplicity just on the cusp of floating away. Only on rare occasion, like "Why She’d Come?" and "Victima Belleza," do we find even the slightest subtle remnants of tape manipulation that has become the main element of Herren’s work. The rest is sublime placement of everything from classical guitar to harps. "Te Quiero Pero Por Otro Lado" immediately shows Herren at his most flawless minute on the album. Following closely behind is the introverted tranquility of "Ultimo Tren," which is a rhythmically enticing masterpiece. Also, one of the strongest characteristics here is Herren’s ability to be completely subtle with his drum samples. They never take over the songs, but act as a tempo controller. From the start, all of these songs bare a striking resemblance to each other, but are individually strong enough to allow for a perfect listen.

Ultimately, what Herren has accomplished with Apropa’t is a collection of songs that pay great respect to Catalano music. Its effortlessness will leave most people extremely happy that they came across this beautiful piece of music. With every consecutive release, Herren seems to raise the bar just a little bit higher for him and his peers. Without question, the bar has been raised yet again, and I can’t help but fantasize about where he will go next. Apropa’t should be around for quite some time. But while it may be the most unfamiliar work of Herren’s discography, it’s still one of the year’s first great albums.

1. Introducción
2. Te quiero pero por Otro Lado...
3. Colores sin Nombre
4. Balcón sin Flores
5. A la Nit
6. Último Tren
7. Sol de media tarde
8. Um Girasol da car de Seu Cabalo
9. Ràdio Llocs Espacials
10. Déjame
11. Why She'd Come?
12. Victima Belleza
13. Interludio 44
14. Sigue tu Camino (no sabes amar...)