If you’re looking for an incredibly ambient, electronic yet simultaneously engaging album of gut-wrenching emotion, then you must check out the latest release from Moreira, ‘Fin del Deseo‘ (End of Desire). Perhaps the first independent release out of Puerto Rico since it was devastated this year by hurricane Maria, Moreira, the musical moniker of one Jose Ivan, has delivered to the world an incredible message (one that Donald Trump may have missed: Puerto Ricans are still here, they’re still people, and they’re still connected to us all through humanity and music. There is an honesty both in the lyrics and vocals of Moreira’s latest release that really pulls the heartstrings, even without translation. And while much of the musical composition is synthetic it is almost reflective of the way in which we live our lives today; surrounded by our electronic safety blankets while we still feel the harsh realities of what it means to be human.
I simply cannot get over the fact that ‘Fin del Deseo‘ seems to deal very little with the tragic destruction of Puerto Rico and so much more with the story of simply being. True, the album has been in the works for a few years now but that doesn’t change the fact that the resilience of life is staggering and inspiring, and Moreira delivers an incredible album that is testament to that very concept.
I could go on about how amazing it is that this amazing music has come so quickly out of so much turmoil but hopefully you will understand and appreciate the gravity of that fact without having me harp on about it. The more important thing, regarding this review, is the music itself regardless of where it comes from. You can check out the interview at the bottom of this piece to learn more about the artist and the creation of ‘Fin del Deseo‘.
Within the synthetic and electronic-infused composition of this album, there is an incredible amount of variance. There is some awesome, hard-hitting rock with some scintillating solos. There are some amazingly funky riffs and licks, and then there is an ethereal and ambient quality to the entire album that vaults it far above the treachery of the world. I think it’s this vaulted quality that really allows the lyrical exploration of those aspects of life we all cling to – life, love, and legacy.
If I was forced to pick a favourite from this incredible album, I think I would have to choose ‘Como Nunca Antes‘ (Like Never Before). And I would do so without hesitation. Aside from the funk and the phat bass line, the vocals and lyrics are equally as sexed out as can be. If you were hoping to find a song to really move to on this album, then this is the one for you, hands down. This lusty track digs its nails deep into one of the core desires of life…sex. And it does so without shame.
The ability of Moreira to explore so many basic desires of our shared humanity is incredible and the fact that he can do so unabashedly makes the gripping honesty of this album all the more precious and phenomenal.
Now, I did promise an interview with the artist of the awesome album, so I will not disappoint on that score. I should say that I was privileged enough to have Jose Ivan reach out to me to review his work, and for that, I am more than grateful. Otherwise, I may never have come across this treasure trove of music. So, let’s discover together what Ivan has given us through his work with ‘Fin del Deseo‘.
Swept: How deeply has the recent disaster in Puerto Rico affected you and your music?
Ivan: Well, it hasn’t been easy at all. We’ve been without electrical power for over two months. Many people have died because of that, and the absence of purified water is still getting a lot of people sick. I run a practice and musical creation space in Rio Piedras, San Juan, which has been inoperable since the hurricane, and now I don’t even know if I will be able to stay with it. There has been very very little artistic and music production over this two months, also because a lot of people have fled to other countries seeking stability, which is an understandable action since our country has been suffering the effects of a bad and corrupt government for over 2 decades. So the adversity after the hurricane I think functioned as a catalytic for what many people already had in their minds. But nonetheless, the ones who stay are trying to make the best out of this situation, in all forms possible. Just trying to make the country function again. I think that’s an admirable attitude.
Swept: How important is it to you to be a Puerto Rican musician, pushing material about the disaster?
Ivan: The material itself is really personal I think. It was composed over the course of 4 years, for different reasons. So the content has little to do with the disaster. But the release itself I think its kind of an involuntary statement to show that music and art are still important through difficult times. I would like to think that doing this will hopefully be part of the motivation for our local musicians and our local scene, (which has been pretty strong and amazing for the last decade) to continue their labour.
Swept: What does it mean to you to be a Puerto Rican artist? Do you consider yourself American? Or is there a great divide in your mind between being American and being Puerto Rican?
Ivan: Well, I think there is a misconception with the “American” term. I consider myself an American as well as a Puerto Rican, but maybe not specifically a North American. I believe that the U.S has taken over that massive term to award it only to U.S citizens. It’s no secret. And I think it’s unfair. But aside from that, the influence of North American music and culture is very much a part of me. I feel proud to be a Puerto Rican musician because of the incredible talent that lives in all forms of art in this island. Some of it is known throughout the world, but I can assure you that the best of it is known by very few people, even on the island. Which is something that hopefully will change throughout the years.
Swept: What are your biggest musical influences?
Ivan: I used to listen to a lot of Rock n Roll when I was kid, a lot of grunge and alternative stuff. Things like Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. So that has stayed with me, and I still enjoy it. But now I listen to a lot of ambient, electronic and experimental music. Stuff like Tim Hecker, David Sylvian, Fennesz, Bjork, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Boards Of Canada, Kate Bush, This Heat. In no specific order, all of that music inspires me the most.
Swept: Do you typically work with ambient and synthetic music? Or is this specifically relevant to this album?
Ivan: Yeah. My first EP is much more electronic. Some chiptune sounds and lots of ambient-esque atmospheres. This is a much more “band” sounding album for me, but I’m still using a lot of sampling, looping, synths and synthetic beats. There’s a lot of layering between the band and the synthetic stuff, but at the end, I think we reached a kind of sounding “soul”, a certain colour, that makes the album feel like one cohesive thing.
‘Fin del Deseo’ has to do with inaction, with the decision of doing nothing. Also with the passing of time, and the self-guilt that could come at the end depending on our actions. I think the past elections in my country and the ever-growing dominance of technology over our perception of the world inspired that song, which I decided to use as the title of the album because it grasps my main concerns over the last few years. Among other things.
It’s always interesting to get the insight of the artist himself, especially when it comes to such an intricate and awesome album. Amazingly, I think this album of “inaction” will truly inspire a lot of people to action; at least to really move. I strongly recommend that you check out the album right over HERE! Right now!