Urpa i musell / Spain / 2021
Urpa i musell and co-editor The Indian Runners feel very fortunate to announce our newest release by the recent Catalan revelation Tarta Relena, entitled Pack Pro Nobis.
Pack Pro Nobis is a double LP album. The first LP compiles the back catalogue that the duo has released until now, two intense and solid EPs: ‘Ora Pro Nobis’ (released on CD by The Indian Runners, 2019) and ‘Intercede Pro Nobis’ (released digitally by The Indian Runners, 2020). Both releases have been highly praised in the Spanish specialist press.
The second LP, ‘Remixos’, comprises a series of reinterpretations of Tarta Relena’s pieces, remixed for the occasion by talented producers in the Barcelona electronic scene.
Tarta Relena are Helena Ros and Marta Torrella, a vocal duo mainly focused on Mediterranean folklore songs. They base their music on the combination of their voices; concentrating on expressiveness and empathy more than beautification and ornamentation. Using a wide range of registers and combinations, their music results in candid emotion throughout the entire record. In addition to their voices, there are extra vocal elements, ranging from spatiality (echo, claps, etc.) to the use of synths and overdubs. Combining tradition and avant-garde, hard work and a wicked centennial sense of humour, Tarta Relena have achieved a very unique balance: their feet rooted in the flourishing ground of tradition and their minds and voices levitating gracefully beyond.
Tarta Relena boast an ambitious range of concepts, as shown in the tracklist of both EPs:
‘Ora Pro Nobis’: ‘Ma ezevgarósan’ is a melody from Crete they got to know through Evgenía Toli on a visit to the island. ‘Tota pulchra’ is a traditional polyphony from Corsica. ‘D’ençà’ is the union of ‘Polifonia CDG’ by Maria Arnal and Marcel Bagés with ‘D’ençà que ella partí’ by Toti Soler. ‘Morenika’ is a well known Sephardic melody. ‘Cecília’ is the Menorcan version of ‘Hereu Riera’, a traditional Catalan song. ‘Tou Votanikoú’ is a rebetiko song that they heard performed by Thomas Karamazakis. ‘Figues’ is Björk harvesting figs in Mallorca. ‘So de pastera’ is a Mallorcan copeo — a traditional genre.
‘Intercede Pro Nobis’: ‘Desigs’ is a poem by the contemporary greek poet Kavafis, translated to Catalan by Carles Riba. Thoughts about the fragility of time and the solitude of the poetic voice. ‘Peproteico’ is ‘Desigs’ postlude, an acoustic trip to the scenes and memories of the creative process. ‘Tres morillas’ is a traditional song; part of one of the most famous song books in 15th century Spain, ‘Cancionero de Palacio’, performed by the flamenco singer Arcángel and Accademia del Piacere. ‘Christos’ is a rebetiko song, originally performed by Prodromos Tsaousakis and Marika Ninou. A drunk man dances in a tavern while he hears Christos playing the bouzouki. ‘Infans qui nascitur’ is the melody of the traditional
Georgian song ‘Chela’ that they heard played by Hamlet Gonashvili. The lyrics are a mantra Tarta Relena wrote in Latin.
As you can see, Tarta Relena take their repertoire from a wide range of sources. They feel free to manipulate songs and bring them to their own territory. For that very reason, it is easy to understand they felt very curious to see how others would take their own music and play with it. From this interest the second album of the pack, ‘Remixos’, was born. The list of remixers participating aims to showcase different generations of the Barcelona producers, as well as diverse approaches to the electronic music: Ex Continent, the multimedia project of Arnau Sala, a key figure of Barcelona’s experimental scene; Mans O, who represents the new generation of producers combining music, dance, design and thought, with considerable success; Shelly, one of the best kept secrets of Barcelona electronic scene, also from the new generation, he was student of the RBMA in 2018; Garru, mainly a bass player and hidden thinking mind of some great new bands in Barcelona, here exploring new territories; and, last but not least, John Talabot, probably the most internationally recognised figure in Barcelona’s electronic scene.
In addition to the LPs, the pack includes some extra digital material: a second remix by John Talabot and a megamix, mashing up the remixes by PLOM, an underground Catalan producer and artist, and a video of the megamix by the artist Alejandra Pastrana.
Pack Pro Nobis gives you the chance to immerse yourself in the deep waters of Mediterranean folk, and at the same time, get to know the latest developments in Barcelona. As weird as it may sound, this mixture has been a recurrent reality in Catalan culture for ages, so we feel very happy to continue with it. As the Catalan avant-garde poet J.V. Foix once said: ‘m’exalta el nou i m’enamora el vell’ — ‘I’m exalted by the new, enamoured by the old’.