Pamela Martinez: Untitled Volume One (EP)

Pamela Martinez

Independent release, 2004

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Pamela Martinez might be described as America's answer to Bjork, if more people knew of her. Not that her musical style literally resembles that of the art-pop princess from Island... but Martinez does show strong influences.

As you might have guessed, Martinez's music has rich textures of quirky electronic sounds supported by vague and fragmented -- and mostly electronic -- rhythmic percussive thumping. But she is primarily a violin player, and as a result her music also features prominent string arrangements. Martinez uses the violin much like the way the lead guitarist of a grunge band uses his guitar -- to create a distorting effect, which paradoxically acts as the most fascinating part of the music.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

On her independently released debut EP Pamela Martinez: Untitled Volume One, Martinez juxtaposes trippy electronics with crazy violin abuses, yielding a psychedelic mix of the natural and the artificial.

The opening number "Formless Scientific," which probably has the heaviest Bjorkinfluence on the record, substitutes the off-beat electronics of a Bjork number with some of her violin arrangements, and the beats behind sound like insect noises magnified, amplified, and synthesized to sound as unnatural as possible (which is so like the way Bjork does it).

On "Inzolen" -- probably the outstanding track of the EP -- the strings rise to a gradual crescendo from absolute nothingness, and just when you expect a climax to happen, the song is over; much before it should. This is the inexperience of an independent artist. Still, this track turns out to be nothing less than awesome.

Martinez knows her electronics very well, and she is a damn good violin player. Most importantly, she knows how to use them wisely so that they provide interesting textures. She sings well too, and has got what it takes to be weird: her face is seen painted with cryptic messages that try to say something that no one understands. All that is left is some more material from her to really prove her talent and gain her some well-deserved recognition.

[The Pamela Martinez: Untitled Volume One EP is available in its entirety for free download at Martinez's Web site .]

Rating: A-

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