Alejandro Franov | Digitaria

Nature Bliss (2010)
By GUSTAVO TURNER  |  March 3, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars

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Alejandro Franov is an Argentine multi-instrumentalist who's been involved in the more serious, and often experimental, side of the Buenos Aires music scene since he was a teen in the late 1980s. Over the years, he's lent his considerable arranging and compositional talents to a variety of projects, from improvisation to traditional folk music to avant-cumbia to mixed-media collaborations with local hipster actors and comedians.

His work with funnywoman-turned-indie-chanteuse Juana Molina — for whose quirky songs Franov provided clever, textured soundscapes — gave him wide international exposure among the music cognoscenti, who should enjoy the varied offerings of his solo output. The Argentine alternative-pop-folk thing (it doesn't have a proper name yet) is kind of big in Japan, so Franov's Digitaria is a re-release of last year's project celebrating the birth of his first child and originally aimed at that market.

The music is instrumental, with odd snippets of half-audible words (including a very traditional lullaby) floating in and out of the picture. The instrumentation is a world-music mélange of sitars, marimbas, kalimbas, synths (prog has always been big down there), Andean flutes, and bandoneón. Franov uses this disparate arsenal to weave a series of meditative pieces that only occasionally meander into Orientalist/new-age territory. Digitaria is a clever collection of digital/acoustic chill-out music with a difference — intelligent stoner music, if you will.

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