Mus – Fai


The connection that listeners can feel to a movie soundtrack is hard to fake. Though truly worthwhile soundtracks come about only every couple of years, the best – Kill Bill, Lost in Translation – can far outlast even their cinema corollaries. Mus’s Fai seems to be tracking a film somewhere in the weirder caverns of your heart: trippy beats, spaced-out textures and carnival synths permeate the mix, catapulting the album into a soundscape for some lost cinema.

Whereas Mus’s Divinia Lluz, which was also released domestically by Darla this year, sought pastoral enchantment and soothing textures, Fai is subtly jarring. Singer Monaca Vacas still chimes in with her ethereal, siren voice, but the majority of the sounds on this album are wordless. They are never heavy, extreme, or particularly unique, but they float around the room, bouncing off walls and twisting light in ways that most albums cannot fathom.

Take, for example, the haunted textures of “Los Dies les Coses,” which adds a trip-hop beat to synths that sound like funhouse mirrors. “La Paura” is the sort of upbeat, melancholy electronica that Radiohead has been mining for the last couple of years. The organ that opens “Dexase Apagar” bleats beautifully until Vacas, over the cleanest arrangement on the album, chimes in and lays down a lullaby. The treated guitars that feather the ground of “Faise Tarde” lay out similar terrain, this time providing a slight, chiming counterpart to an amorphous vocal melody.

As is often the case with atmospheric albums, this disc’s greatest fault is its uniformity and reluctance to push forward. For all of its successes, Fai is ultimately a very chilled and solemn album. There is little out-of-control joy to be derived from these soft tales, nor will driving with this music on carry you anywhere: your foot will slowly slip off the pedal, you’ll drowsily live in the right lane, you’ll go 30 in a 35.

Of course, it’s tough to blame an atmospheric album for not being pushy enough. Throughout its 40+ minute playtime, Fai establishes itself as a very believable and spooky play. The melodies won’t stick in your head, but leave them on long enough and they’ll stick the walls and the bed. The members of Mus are veterans of these sorts of airy, soft touches, a fact they prove again and again on Fai.