Xisco Rojo – Transfigurations

Madrid’s Xisco Rojo crafted a psychedelic guitar record that feels less like an album, and more like a collection of rituals that celebrate life itself.

Written and performed entirely by Rojo on everything from six and twelve-string acoustic and electric guitars to Weissenborns and Greek baglamas, plus a whole plethora of other exotic and unusual instruments, this record truly sounds like no other. Each track is rich with rustic sonic textures, dreamy atmospheres and disparate instrumentation. These qualities, when melded together, give the album a vibe that is both ancient and universal.

While certain elements of the LP have the flavor of music from different cultures, like a taste of American blues on “11 Out of 10,” or the distinctively Middle Eastern tint on the droning “A Different Kind of Peace,” there isn’t a singular style nor cultural identity to be found. Instead, this is a stunning melting pot of musical influences boiled down to their barest components. This record is a stirring expression of just being human. Thus, it speaks to us all on a primordial level.

This is perhaps best exemplified on the rousing “Maia.” This exuberant number’s very rhythm is based around a recording of Rojo’s then-unborn daughter’s in utero heartbeat, which also bookends the song. What rhythm could all humans relate to more than the pulsations of their own infantile hearts? The track is an exhilarating celebration of life, filling the listener with the same undeniable joy that any soon-to-be parent must feel when they first get to see or hear their new child. You don’t need to be from any particular culture or country to know this excitement. It’s something that all humans share, and I believe this notion of a globally common form of love and elation is exactly what the album is aiming to express.

To refer to Transfigurations as an acid folk or psychedelic folk record barely does it justice. It is an album of handmade sounds linked closely to the human psyche that truly communicates the inner workings of mankind’s ubiquitous nature. Without a single lyric, this LP tells you that life is beautiful. Take the time to appreciate and celebrate it.

You can get your copy of Transfigurations today right here.

-KH


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Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and Thewaster.com and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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