“Urpa i Musell (Snout and Claw in Catalan) is a record label that was conceived almost unconsciously throughout years of long lunchtime conversations at Discos Paradiso, a record store in Barcelona.

The label begins their journey with the reissue of El Sueño de Hyparco’s Ambientes Hormonales, originally released in 1990 on the Spanish label Hyades Arts.

Drawing on the Berlin School, particularly Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream, as a main musical reference, and having emerged from the cassette movement, Ambientes Hormonales represents the missing link between the 80s New Music movement in Madrid and the beginnings in the 90s of contemporary electronic music in Spain.”

Ambientes Hormonales follows multiple musical avenues which encompass euphoric synth pop, electro and minimal wave, as well as classical minimalism a la Steve Reich or Philip Glass (Leipzig). The result is a dense, rich and constantly evolving body of music which, despite its unhurried pace and somewhat mis-aligned “ambient” tag, plays out much more actively than a “typical” ambient LP. It’s a dizzying journey, bursting with idiosyncracies that scream for repeated listens. The lo-fi ringing bells on Undwandlung Tanz or the repeated major-minor shifts and neo-orchestral arrangement of Zauberer burst out of the speakers, while tracks like Dampfworten maintain a constant movement through their gorgeously – and perhaps improvisationally – composed melodies.

The prevailing aesthetic is certainly a(n excellent) product of its time, but the mood it evokes is eternal – emotive, melancholy machine music at its most immersive.

A wonderful LP full of gems, surprises, twists and turns.

 

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