Turn Your Soul On

By: José Manuel Simián

Prender el Alma, the debut of Ecuadorian electronic musician Nicola Cruz, is one of those rare albums that lives to the promise of its title. 

Because in its 10 tracks, by combining smart, often-minimal, electronic beats with wind and string instruments from the Andes, Cruz creates a truly spiritual sonic landscape—an electronic shamanism that with impeccable good taste avoids all the traps of electronic music that wants to take shortcuts to be "spiritual" (we're looking at you, Ibiza/Buddah/bad yoga crap...).

Take for instance "Colibria," the album's first single, titled (with a feminine twist) after colibri, the instrument used in the track. At 8:00 minutes, it's the longest track in Prender el Alma, and through the voice of vocalist Huaira, tells a story of a spiritual rebirth and blend-in with the elements of nature—a trip that is made more explicit here through the lyrics but that permeates every single one of the album's tracks, even those (like "Cumbia del Olvido") that consist of a minimal beat and a few acoustic elements.

Watch the video for "Colibria":

Both when it invites you to dance (as it happens when the tracks have deeper beats, like "Equinoccio" or the sleepy-yet-bassy "La Mirada") or when Cruz's music invites you to look inward, Prender el Alma represents a high point in the fusion of Andean folklore with electronic music—a masterful blow executed with exquisite elegance.

Listen to Prender el Alma on Spotify below:

José Manuel Simián is the Executive Editor of Manero. He used to be a lawyer and is probably listening to Bob Dylan as you read this.