I’ve said it before, but it is worth repeating, there is something wonderfully intriguing about reviewing music that is in a language other than your own. Whilst lyrics are obviously a very direct way of communicating with the listener, they also tend to lead you to one specific destination rather than letting your mind find its own direction of travel through the music. And so listening to Uruguayan singer-songwriter Max Ruano’s lilting and lulling songs in Spanish, a language I have little skill with, is a wonderfully open experience.
But it is easy to quickly become drawn into the soft and soothing sonic world he creates, one built of gentle acoustica, sun kissed, Mediterranean folk vibes, hints of his South American roots and his beguiling and sensuous voice. Even with the language barrier, the vocal delivery become as gorgeous a musical instrument as the beautiful textures that he wraps them in.
Piramide de Babel, a particularly apt title considering all this talk of language and communication, is a gorgeous piece of acoustica carried on a beat that immediately makes you gentley sway to the music, Cartas, Bocinas y Cornetas follows some subtle jazz grooves and references the horns of the title and Como un Soldado takes in some wonderful folk vibes.
If James Taylor had been born in sunnier climes this is the sort of music that he might have been inspired to create, for Max Ruano seems to have the same ability to write music that is instantly accessible but with is robust enough to last a life time.