Embarking on a musical odyssey inspired by the enigmatic paintings of Remedios Varo, Galician dark ambient project trajedesaliva joins forces with Madrid-born and Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter and pianist Maud the Moth. Their collaborative masterpiece, “Bordando el manto terrestre” (English: Embroidering the Earth’s Mantle), is set to release on May 26, digitally through the artists themselves and physically via Time Released Sound, Woodford Halse, and other outlets. Today, we give you a special first listen of the opus, and an insightful track by track presentation below.
Journeying through the life and art of Remedios Varo, a Spanish painter who lived in Mexico, “Bordando el manto terrestre” delves into the depths of her surrealistic universe. The album commences with an undulating ocean-like motion, echoing the tumult of war and exile, only to transition into the creation of a new intimate space in the vibrant landscapes of Mexico. It’s a fantastical path populated by captive moons, cosmic weavers, and human gardens—a space where lost harmony is rediscovered, allowing listeners to find their place in the world once more.
Utilizing analog synthesizers, an array of acoustic instruments, and multifaceted voices, trajedesaliva and Maud the Moth imbue the album with their distinctive musical identities. Their compositions serve as a symbolic and referential soundtrack, mirroring the visual splendor of Remedios Varo’s art.
Similar to Varo’s work, the musical arrangements and compositions seek to explore subconscious associations and embrace the beauty of chance. Many of the instruments employed in this ethereal journey are sensitive to weather conditions or repurposed found objects, including pianos and guitars that have drifted out of tune, allowing for the creation of invented scales guided by the hand of a mystical Hildegardian god.
Guided by the narrative structure provided by unavena’s poignant poetry, the album traverses sonic landscapes and territories, immersing listeners in the vivid realm of Varo’s psyche.
Scottish producer Scott McLean (healthyliving, Falloch, Ashenspire) contributed his expertise in mixing and sound design to the project, further enhancing the album’s sonic tapestry. Additionally, McLean’s guitar playing can be heard on the track “Perla.”
Inspired by the stages of psychological maturation, individualization, and spiritual evolution in Remedios Varo’s life, “Bordando el manto terrestre” showcases the deeply introspective and emotive nature of Maud the Moth’s music, driven by themes of rootlessness, identity, and trauma. Her ritualistic songwriting approach, drawing from diverse artistic influences and classical training, crafts nuanced compositions that offer cathartic live performances.
Meanwhile, trajedesaliva, the duo comprising Mon Ninguén (synths, music) and unavena (voice, lyrics), emanate a musical aura of light and shade. With their unique fusion of analogue synthesizers, acoustic instruments, and spoken word poetry, they traverse genres such as dark ambient, drone, darkwave, and industrial music.
Their discography, spanning five full-length albums and an EP, explores themes of isolation, failure, and intergenerational trauma, transforming the familiar into something otherworldly.
“Bordando el manto terrestre” is a transcendental collaboration that invites listeners to immerse themselves in a surreal sonic journey, painting landscapes of the mind that mirror the essence of Remedios Varo’s captivating art.
Today, we’re giving you a special first listen of the album, and a unique, deep dive into each and every chapter of this dark journey.
Trasmundo, the first part of the album, revolves around Remedios’ experience of exile and the reconfiguration of her own identity as a political refugee in Mexico, away from the rise of fascism in Europe at the time.
– Perdí Pie: Opens the album in a dark tone, where everything builds around a synthesiser drone. Bowed psaltery and guitar swirl around to create a dense and incense-like atmosphere and where liturgical vocal melodies introduce distorted guitars. unavena narrates the beginning of the journey.
– Jardincito de rosa y tierra: A life left behind. Broken pieces of memories to assemble as pieces of a puzzle over the canvas. A small midnight garden hidden away. Seeds we carry drop from our pockets and into this new land.
– Habitantes del desgarro: Contemplation in the moonlit garden. The plucked piano interlaces with synthesiser pads and deconstructed birds. Remedios becomes the weaver and spins the thread with which to embroider a new beginning.
Naturaleza Muerta Resucitando, the second part of the oeuvre, delves into the central themes of transformations and transmutations in Remedios Varo’s works. This refers to the depiction of inanimate objects coming to life, or humans adopting the forms of animals, plants, insects, or even domestic objects. Remedios Varo’s unique sense of humor and her deep love for cats is also evident in her work.
– Cuerpo de gato: Processed purrs and cat vocalisations create a pseudo-percussive structure around which to orchestrate synths and psalteries. A living organism in sonic form. Regeneration. Healing. Transmutation.
– Fruta alrededor de una vela: Decaying fruit takes flight. Insects breed like fireworks filling the air. A spell. A promise. A sign.
Rompiendo el círculo vicioso, the final part of the album, speaks of restored harmony, depicting the journey of breaking through and finding freedom through the power of the creative force. Additionally, it narrates the personal experiences of homelessness and exile, as well as the transformative process of creating this collaborative album (from fear and uncertainty to fruitfulness).
– Perla: Holding a memory for the last time, looking through the rear window. Sailing through a swamped forest. Trailing nets filled with pearls. Weaving a new firmament where the stars are upside down.
– Círculo roto: Euphoria has charred the land. Reality grounds us. A firebird leads us into the darkness like a torch. Fluttering amongst suffocating plucked strings and layered distorted guitars.
– Hilos de fantasia: The machine is finally complete. Stertorous, it stands and finally walks. A life of its own. Acoustic and electronic instruments merge into a superorganism and bloom.