‘KoKoro’ has been five years in the making. El Perro Del Mar née Sarah Assbring has been on a mission searching for an alternative to the average pop music which litters the airwaves.
An element which is certainly noticeable: there’s no overbearing synths and no auto-tuning. These common traits have been replaced with the flawless timbre of global instrumentals such as the Japanese Shakichachi flute, Arabic strings and Ethiopian rhythms which underlay, ‘Clean Your Window’ a positive track about looking beyond our differences and learning to understand others though you may not be from the same walks of life.
As much as the album is about self-reflection, it serves as a commentary on the regressive humanisation and morality in our society. On opener, ‘Endless Ways’ which begins with violins lightly playing it conjures up imagery of flowers blossoming, echoing Assbring’s own personal growth and development over the years as her delicate words intertwine with the fine intricacies of the oriental resonance.
‘Ging Ging’ sees her question the concept of happiness, “Let me know are we happy” stringently emphasising “happy”, it’s obvious that she has done some profound soul searching. Yet the lucid ‘BreadandButter’ brings to the forefront that we all are conclusively searching for belonging. Indian percussions heightens the sanguine nature of the title track ‘KoKoro’ making it intently poppy, as vocal layers overlap with various textures. It’s explorative in experimentation, juxtaposed against the morbidity of death as the topic in focus.
Unusual, refreshing and vulnerable ‘KoKoro’ is an album inspired by the political, environmental and the human conscious. El Perro Del Mar set out to produce something far from the western sound of music and pop songs of relevance and I think it’s fair to say she has accomplished just that.
Words: Lois Browne
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