Fresh off the release of Dissolve, Pablo Naranjo is giving us a track-by-track glimpse into the upcoming LP it lives on, Ecos del Frío.
Guitar aficionado and long-time composer/performer Pablo Naranjo has an LP coming next year. Not going to lie, we’re pretty damn excited for it. His recent single, Dissolve, gave us a sneak peek into the lush folk haven he’s been creating.
Naranjo began work on Ecos del Frío, (meaning ‘Winter Echoes’) as a form of therapy to combat the challenging isolation of Melbourne lockdown. Recording all instruments himself, the record is bound to be an immersive experience, straight from the heart of one creative who understands music’s healing qualities. In Naranjo’s words, this is a track-by-track rundown of Ecos del Frío.
Mount Ulysses’ Secret
I initially wrote this song as an interlude between two songs in the album. I wanted something short, instrumental and with lots of textures around the guitar to work as a prelude to the next song. When I was done with the recording and was starting to mix it, I showed it to a friend who immediately said it should be the opening track of the album. Once all the songs were recorded, I placed it connecting the two songs I had in mind, but my friend’s advice seemed like a much better option. I tweaked it a bit to work better as an intro and recorded the voices that fade in at the start. So I have to thank my friend for that!
Nightmare Shadow is probably the only song in the album with a grungy feel which is especially noticeable in the vocals. It’s darker lyrically and I played with different layers of distorted backing vocals which harmonise the main melody. I loved that musically, it featured the fingerpicking guitar which is predominant in the rest of the album, but had a faster, more upbeat vibe than the rest of the songs. It was one of the last songs written for the album and I was glad to include it because it brought some contrast to a largely pretty chilled and mellow album.
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I wrote this song inspired by Buddhist teachings and the concept of what ‘home’ is. It came to me in the early stages of writing for a new album and I knew it was going to be a single almost from the day I wrote it because it had so much potential to grow. It ended up being the song with the most amount of arrangements and took longer to mix than any of the other tracks. I recorded lots of layers of vocals, different types of drums, bass, piano, strings and acoustic and electric guitars. The choruses felt quite epic so I just kept on trying ideas to enhance them with new layers as the song progressed. It was a lot of fun but definitely the most challenging track at the arranging and mixing stages.
It was the very first song I wrote since my last EP when I didn’t even have a new album in mind. I wrote it at my parent’s farm and I liked the mood and simplicity of having the focus on the acoustic guitar and the vocals. It didn’t really need much more to be ready and have a distinct vibe that was different to the songs I’ve written in the last few years which almost always had a rhythm section involved (bass and drums).
I also liked that it came to me in Spanish and the whole thing flowed so easily. It really set the direction for the following songs I wrote and the fingerpicking on the guitar became a main feature in all of them. All that started with Luna Gris.
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Ecos del Bosque
I get a lot of inspiration from nature and places I’ve seen. Even places I’ve never been to but I imagine what it’s like to be there as I’m writing the music. So a lot of my songs come from this idea of being in a certain place and depicting it with music. Often a scene starts to take place in this imaginary space and that’s when all the other instruments or lyrical ideas start to come more easily. In Ecos del Bosque (Echoes of the Forest) I felt I was in a cold forest, somewhere like Alaska or Siberia, and could feel a real sense of calm and mystery at the same time. As the song fades out we are left with the sound of the bonfire as if to wake us from a dream, which leads nicely into the next song.
I tend not to write too much in the storytelling style but this is probably the closest I got to that with these songs. It talks about someone who society often ignores and deems as worthless, a homeless man who doesn’t have anything to show, but in reality, is an enlightened being capable of knowing and seeing things no one else can. It has a nice theme on the guitar which is the main hook, but as it progresses it becomes more dreamy and new textures start to emerge and take it in a different direction, more open and atmospheric.
The Plains of Aurora
Like Ecos del Bosque, The Plains of Aurora is an instrumental piece that is probably the most cinematic on the album. It doesn’t have a set tempo and it’s focused on the guitar opening up each chord as we hear the sound of a water stream in the background. The space between each time the guitar plays is where most of the magic is in this song. On that soothing echo and the faint sound of water in the distance.
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The most bluesy song in the album and one that didn’t need any more other than the guitar and vocals, although I did end up recording a second track of backing vocals in the last choruses. But apart from that, it was always going to be one of those songs that the guitar was so melodic and full of little riffs, that it was best to leave it alone and let those two elements (guitar and vocals) carry it until the end. It was pretty quick to record and mix compared to the others. It’s also a song that I love playing live now and the rougher my voice sounds, the better for this song.
It means ‘Ancestral World’ and it’s another song that came to me in Spanish. Like most of my music, the theme came first on the guitar and the words flowed from there. It’s got some nice imagery of an ancestral world to which we long to return, and was initially called ‘Templo de Hielo’ (Ice Temple) which was the initial idea for the words.
It’s one of the few songs in the album where I recorded electric guitars, very subtly in the background. The main theme, like all the other songs in Ecos del Frío, is in the acoustic guitar and always seemed like the right choice to end the album. A pretty chilled and slightly nostalgic tune which in many ways captures the overall vibe of the album.
In the meantime, listen to Dissolve below: