Pional – XME
Madrid-hailed Miguel Barrios possesses a rare singer-producer combo that has enriched both sides of the coin. Working under his Pional moniker, he has spent the last decade featuring on a number of respectable underground labels. Most recognised from his fellow Spaniard John Talabot’s ‘Destiny‘ track, his vocals hold an empyrean quality that would grace the lead of an indie band. The chameleon-like approach to production, likely owed to his multi-instrumentalism, ensures his production is forever on a mission to reinvent itself.
Young Turks associate’s latest release ‘XME’ is his first on Phonica Records, a label that holds a special place in our hearts. Displaying his signature sound that fuses morose with rhythm, its comes as A1 track of the EP. In the spirit of releases from his fellow Hivern Discs compatriots, tracks from Pional tend to brandish drum patterns that sound greatly agrestic. The tribal drum used in substitute of a snare on the track gives it a verve that feels Mother Natured. Warping, low cutoff bassline cambers in rhythm, giving guidance to the synthlines that dazzle the show. At times moving in spontaneity of a shooting star, the key progressions ending in minor create a sense of downheartedness. This is a common-trait of Barrios, with his Ninja Tune release ‘Casualty‘ being down right depressing. The redeeming beauty of Pional’s production, however, is his use of ambient soundwaves. Handled with precision of Hans-Joachim Roedelius (in fact ‘Inselmoos‘ sounds like an influence), it evokes an element of straying wonder.
It is noticeable upon a repeated listen that each element of the track has been meticulously mastered to the smallest detail. This in turn gives every component an individual character of its own. Barrios’ mastery, however, takes this kaleidoscopic colour palette and paints something sublime on the canvas. It is a gentle reminder that sadness often inspires great art.