Under The Balcony
Following their debut album 42 Mädchen in 2003, Chica & The Folder (aka Paula Schopf and Max Loderbauer) have now recorded a delightful second album for Monika Enterprise. As part of Gudrun Gut's OceanClub collective, Chica Paula is a gifted DJ with frequent gigs on the Berlin club scene as well as at parties and festivals further afield, while Max Loderbauer is one half of pioneering Berlin electronic duo, Sun Electric, now working with Ari Benjamin Meyers Redux Orchestra as well as NSI (soon on Sähko) with Tobias Freund. Together, they create glorious, emotionally-charged pop music which carries a simple, timeless message. Chica Paula's work as a DJ has clearly flowed into several tracks with danceable acid grooves and electro influences coming through heavily. Other songs, such as "Dias Amarillos," with its quirky steel-drums and slap bass have a very tongue-in-cheek sense of humor to them. While all music is composed and recorded by Chica & The Folder as a duo, they were joined, on "Perfect Day" for instance, by a choir made up of a whole host of their friends. And the vocal sample on opening track "Huerfanos" is the voice of a newspaper seller on one of the main streets in Santiago, Chile. Chica's daughter Romina can be heard screaming for more beats on the tune "Dancing Been." Most of the album has been masterfully mixed by Tobias Freund, and he even played 808 drum machine on a few tracks. Chica Paula does all the lyrics herself, singing in English, German and her native Spanish -- one exception being the vocoded voice on "Angelus Novus" with text taken from the Chilean poet, Nicanor Parra, and Chica's countryman, Ricardo Villalobos, who remixes the tune for an upcoming 12". The album takes in so many styles, from electro to exoticism, to ambient and beyond, so that it is pretty much impossible to categorize the Chica & The Folder sound. There are even world music influenced moments, but it's not long before the tune breaks into dark electronica. Their music is truly eclectic with an added dash of romanticism and melancholy folklore. It's poppy, but without being superficial: a clear statement about the start of the century.