Uno (o el primero) 2020 by Sanchecito y el que se marea
The vocals on this 2020 album by Sanchecito y el que se marea (Sanchecito and The One Who Gets Dizzy?) finds Alejandro Sánchez-Galindo (who some may know from avant-garde jazz combo Malamadre) sounding like he’s been to that dive bar Tom Waits used to hang out in in the 70s and then spent some time in the places Waits never dared put into a song, more beat than beat. In the context of some late night downtempo jazz songs these tracks in both English and Spanish the vocals sound more world weary and emotionally fragile and vulnerable than defeated. As though the songwriter has hit what felt like the bottom only to find a further layer down for years and is reaching out to the things that make the most sense and enliven the senses and the fragments of passion left in the psyche after life has kicked you down the stairs seemingly multiple times so that you’re not sure you have anything left to hang onto. But the songs don’t sound melancholy so much as introspective with songs that have a feeling like Sánchez-Galindo is sharing with us a reconstruction of life while going through biographical artifacts, physical or mnemonic, and finding resonances of the good or at least meaningful as a chain to a way of feeling and being that feels more like living than the gray, dim state of the soul that is perhaps was the impetus for writing some of this material. The song “Gold leafed chains II” seems to especially make this explicit though in a poetic and subtle fashion. Sanchez explores the various ways one’s mind can trick you into going further into the dark, labyrinthine places of the heart but also how the same mind can serve the opposite purpose if you can take moments out to step back from that process. One might interpret the arc of the album as a pandemic record but these thoughts and emotional experiences seem to be an all too common collective reaction to how the world has been for many people for years now which the 2020-2021 pandemic simply amplified and forced more than the average amount of introspection on most people. What Sánchez-Galindo has crafted with this album is an astute and sensitive set of songs written with a rare delicacy of feeling that goes beyond mere desperation, frustration and anger and allows the underlying hurts to be expressed and honored so that maybe they too can be processed rather than once again buried left to fester like a lingering ghost forever sapping bits of your emotional energy. Listen to the album on Bandcamp where you can find links to follow the artist on his photo blog, video channel and his current musical experiments.