El Alma de la Estrella


In the mid-'80s, Granada was a small redoubt of avant-garde resistance. While Madrid bragged about being the capital of the new wave scene -- the much-trumpeted Movida madrilène -- away from any media interest, the Andalusian city was part of a European-wide network where the free circulation of ideas and knowledge could be linked to the current CopyLeft movement -- an international scene where musicians were editors and the artists were equally fans. They exchanged music following that do-it-yourself philosophy in which the cassette had an ideal role as the vehicle of music diffusion. Ani Zinc would become an expert amateur of such activities. As a child, there were no records in her home in Andújar, but radio gave her company. It was her only contact with music. She received her first shock listening to "Remember Love," the repetitive song by Yoko Ono. She later found out about Llorenç Barber. Only when she arrived in Granada to study psychology did she discover that she wasn't the only one that liked a kind of music that didn't resemble anything. Granada's proximity to Africa made it possible to tune into Arabic, flamenco and pop radio stations. She would record those sounds with a radio cassette and with her own hands she would cut and paste the magnetic tape. Unable to get that Yoko Ono song out of her mind, she started discovering the possibilities of her voice. Diseño Corbusier was born out of that obsession and also out of the electronic explorations of Javier G. Marín, then a first-year law student. They had met in 1981 after an ad in the music magazine Vibraciones. "If you're into bands like Cabaret Voltaire or Flying Lizards, call me," wrote Marín. If their first record (Pérfido encanto, 1985) was a vibrant experiment where the rhythms weren't yet muscled up, with El Alma de la Estrella the duo took a step ahead. They renovated some electronic equipment and signed a distribution deal between their own label, Auxilio de Cientos, and one of the most prosperous Spanish independents of the '80s, Nuevos Medios, who were working with labels such as Factory at the time. Marín had been advised: if the rhythm can't be danced to the records won't sell. It was 1986 and he was constantly listening to DAF. El Alma de la Estrella gathered all of Zinc's obsessions. On "Chiquillo" she imitated the angry women's voices which filled the streets of the poor neighborhood where she had grown up. "Ritmo 21" can't hide her admiration for Yoko Ono's vocal register and "El Club del Ruido" came about as a fragmented document of an interview they did on the radio show of the same name. Marín created rhythm structures with which to organize the material. This time, he replaced an archaic Korg synthesizer with a powerful Roland SH101, and the tiny drum machine Boss DR-55 with a German-built one that used real percussion sounds: the MFB-512. Rather than electronic or even industrial music, Diseño Corbusier's second album was a vibrant piece of domestic craftwork. Very few got to hear it, but you get to hear it now. On 180 gram vinyl with insert. Limited, hand-numbered edition of 500 copies.