Ana D - Satelite 99
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Ana D
Satelite 99

Originally released only a decade ago, Satélite 99 is one of those albums that seems like an unlikely candidate for a re-release, although it did claim some some bigger-name fans (including director Pedro Almodovar and musician Dean Wareham. Nonetheless, it's now gotten the super-deluxe treatment from the Elefant label and is back with extra tracks and fancy packaging for those who didn't catch it the first time around.

The only official release from Ana D, Satélite 99 is a sort of strange cross between Antena, Stereolab, and Astrud Gilberto. The building blocks for the release are similar to a lot of releases that influenced it, but Ana D seem to have a bit more of an infatuation with analogue electronics than some of their counterparts (hence the Stereolab mention above). Tracks like "Más" blend warm acoustic guitar and the pitter patter of old drum machines, but also veers off into high-pitched tone generator ending section. "Galaxia" is just as trippy, with swirling organ and synth sounds accompanying Ana D's breathy vocals.

While the vocals (which are in Spanish) are fine enough, they're also one of the biggest distractions for me. It might not be apparent in the first couple songs, but singer Ana D is rarely not singing, and is often filling songs with wordless babble. This is especially noticeable in the longer "Carnaval," where long sections of the song basically go into repeat mode musically while she sings 'ba ba ba' over and over again. This song arrives right after "Selenio 2034," a song where the vocals for the entire song are 'la la la' (at least the later "Selenio 2035" changes them to 'na na na's'). I probably sound like a grouch picking on the above when I can't understand any of the other words on the disc, but it just ends up sounding lazy when it happens track after track.

In addition to the original album, there's a second disc of material featuring a couple covers, some live sessions recorded for the "Morning Becomes Eclectic" radio show back when that original release came out, and a couple other tracks. With the new arrangements, it's the radio sessions that add the most to the release, and the fancy packaging sticks out as well. When the group is on their mark (as on the almost Angelo Badalamenti-inspired weirdness of "Naufragio"), they really do sound like something new and unique, but in a lot of other places Satélite 99 doesn't really stand out from many releases that came both before and after it.

rating: 6.510
Aaron Coleman 2008-01-10 21:33:59