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A review of...

Amparo by Maria Usbeck

May 27, 2016
Adam Millard

The gist

Blissed out summer vibes from Brooklyn, via Ecuador, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Barcelona, Lisbon, Easter Island, Costa Rica, Florida and L.A

The music

On first listen Amparo sounds like your standard electronic chill-out record, something that might get a welcome airing in Cafe Del Mar, or somewhere that young people actually go in 2016 (must update my cultural references). On closer inspection though, the songs are as organic as they come. Usbeck and producer Caroline Polachek have taken the skeletons of tracks which were composed electronically, and converted them into full bodied tunes, using marimba, xylophone, flute, piano, and harp amongst others. The music is breezy, drifting in and out without much punch or fanfare, and it's the vivid instrumentation, along with Usbeck's appealing Spanish vocals that keep your attention. All these ingredients add up to an album that lacks a bit of edge, but makes up for it in sheer summer exuberance. One for a lazy day on the beach. Or in my case, to just imagine a lazy day on the beach from a grey Northeast of England.

Listen to

"Llamame" - hard to pick an individual track out as this is such a flowing record, but "Llamame " certainly gives you a good snapshot of Usbeck's worldy experience and eclectic influences.