Mus - Aida: Bliss Out, Vol. 17

(DRL116-1: 708527011614/DRL116-2: 708527011621)
Release date: 09/04/2001

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1. Aquel Inviernu
2. A Cielu Abiertu

This fantastic Spanish duo, Monica Vacas & Fran Gayo, are known for their unique brand of blue and beautiful ambience, songs that evoke sublime yet IMAX size cinematic themes and a soft techno influence. Also ever-present is the acoustic beauty of Tim Buckley, Mazzy Star, The Montgolfier Brothers, Nick Drake and early Le Mans.

MUS, pronounced “moose”, have a unique sound that beautifully frames a jewel at it’s center; Monica’s sensual vocals are sung in Asturian, a language spoken in the northwestern part of Spain.

Acuarela, MUS’ label in Madrid says MUS are more post-folk than post-pop. That’s true, though the scale of their sound is just too large to be considered post-folk alone or to fit neatly in any one genre specification. Such a rich and romantic sound! It is this special combination of sound, mood and style that made MUS a candidate for Darla Records’ ambient Bliss Out series, which offers such uniquely qualified artists the opportunity to showcase their musical Om.

On Aida, MUS lusciously slow it down and show us their mellower side with trademark avant-electronics, soft electric guitars and of course, Monica’s vocal. This full length features two tracks that total just over 36 minutes of such beauty. Enjoy at day’s end or early Sunday morning. Aida follows previous releases on Acuarela (Spain) and Pehr (US).

“Mus is an enigmatic Spanish duo which paints dreamily abstract pictures of muted joy, pleasant weariness, and melancholy resignation using soft-focus watercolor strokes. Their sound drifts and wavers with once-bright colors now on the edge of darkness, like the end of a sunset. It's ever-so-slightly techno influenced, with minimal sampled beats, but keening sampled strings and wordless drifting female vocals are the predominant musical elements, giving their pieces the poignancy of lullabies, albeit slightly disorienting, vaguely millennial lullabies. When there are words, they're sung in Asturian, an exotic language spoken in the northwestern part of Spain, making them sound like the incomprehensible fairytales of a lost culture.” - Epitonic

"Madrid's Mus offers plenty enigma on its first album, a moody and contemplative work that picks up where defunct etherealists Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance left off. Though the lyrics are sung in Asturian, a rare romance language spoken only in the northwestern part of the Iberian peninsula, many of these 12 tracks operate as mood-setting instrumentals, with gentle female vocals adding only dreamy, wordless cooing. Mus approaches its spare, classically tinged electronica as if landscaping a Zen garden: not a single note sounds extraneous or out of place, and each song is presented as cleanly as possible. Patient electronic percussion forms a latticework of beats, adorned with minimal doses of synthetic strings, spoken-word samples, and drifting, diminutive atmospherics. Through an uncluttered amalgam of textures, Mus constructs a stately villa with long hallways lined by marble figures. This economy of means leaves each composition with a simple, dignified air, thanks to the lonely, echoed piano notes on "Domina" or the shifting patterns of softly thumping drum machines and multitracked voices on "Avec Alfil." The threadbare "Duermete Flu del Alma" recalls trip-hop playfulness but in somber slow motion. The Asturian lyrics (almost Spanish but not quite) add an exotic twist, especially on the twee electropop of "El Que la na Puerta." Exploring a series of shifting, ambiguous passages, the alluring "Aurelia" pilots through a frozen fjord with Philip Glass as your captain. Captivating fare indeed, Mus (actually a collection of material from EPs released in 1997 and 1998, with a few new numbers tacked on) is ambient, lovely, and lavishly esoteric. In fact Mus' strange, slightly bent beauty is distinctive and memorable enough to beget a genre all its own." - New Times

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