Track Premiere: Isabel Crespo Pardo Performs “Regando La Tierra”

Vocalist, improviser, and composer Isabel Crespo Pardo has a new song that’s worth your ears. We’re excited to premiere it on I CARE IF YOU LISTEN! Crespo “turn[s] toward the imagined, welcoming despair and delight,” according to their condensed, poetic artist précis. “They are entangling color, sound, metaphor and improvisation to create poem-songs and open spaces. They are soft chaos, a question, laughing with the rest.”

“Regando La Tierra” (“watering the earth”) is the first track from Crespo’s new album, el rostro (des)cubierto (“the [un]covered face”), out June 30 on Lobby Art Records. With a terrific structure and a tantalizing, disquieting sound, the song shows a more focused, short-form facet of Crespo’s songwriting chops, in contrast with their other multidisciplinary work. The instrumentation alone is fascinating: electric guitar, acoustic double bass, and qanun — a wispy Middle Eastern string instrument related to the zither, with strings stretched over a sound board. Crespo, who wrote all music and lyrics, joins them on vocals.

The song opens with an inward-looking, dusky vocal line that progresses at a measured pace, quickly joined by the shadowy qanun — Afarin Nazarijou‘s inquisitive plucking grows in intensity with tremolo and hand slaps, while Skyler Hill’s clean electric guitar blends in smoothly. A double bass by SeaJun Kwon — booming from the deepest end — joins Crespo and Nazarijou’s unison lines up and down a moody scale, while Hill adds shimmering chords to the texture.

The group — L-R: Afarin Nazarijou, Skyler Hill, SeaJun Kwon, and Isabel Crespo Pardo (photo by Adrián Crespo Pardo)

“Regando La Tierra” rises to a climax, with staccato thrusts on the words “lo más profundo” (“the deepest”), then slowly ebbs. Toward the end, Crespo’s vocals (sung and spoken) loudly inveigh variations of “lo más profundo va iluminando el camino/ y regando la tierra con ojos bañados de afecto/ se conoció, por fin, al rostro descubierto” (“the deepest gradually illuminates the path/ and waters the earth with eyes bathed in affection/ the uncovered face finally known”), as guitar, qanun, and bass pluck relentlessly, until the piece dies down to a close.

This is how Crespo Pardo describes el rostro (des)cubierto:

el rostro (des)cubierto is a collection of eight deeply intimate pieces oscillating between composition and improvisation to explore self and sociality. The development of this music required embracing the challenge of patiently listening to one another, striving toward interdependence, and reveling in all that it requires.

We crave the kind of unity that retains the individual voice, like a single tree’s rustling melodies, gently/violently shifting in the wind. We’re tracing back and reaching out through weeks and weeks of gathering to play and talk and try, envisioning all the different pathways we could take through these moments-made-song. And so we offer this: 40 minutes of wondering and wandering with hand over heart, aching in solitude, giving and craving forgiveness, marveling at tiny things, and always, always putting cardamom in our tea.

To preorder your copy, as a digital album or limited-edition cassette, click HERE.

About Isabel Crespo Pardo

Isabel Crespo Pardo (they/them) is a NYC-based Latinx vocalist, improviser-composer, and interdisciplinary artist. Rooted in conceptual clarity, their work actively entangles music, visual art, text and performance, always evolving to reflect the intra/interpersonal spaces they inhabit. Reveling in soft chaos, they embrace openness and specificity to create poetic work(s). Additionally, Crespo is consistently involved in collaborative projects. Presently, they are an active member of tilt (with Kalia Vandever and Carmen Q. Rothwell), tombstar (with edi kwon, Zekkereya El-magharbel, and Lesley Mok), Chatterbox (with Jolee Gordon and Priya Carlberg), and chululu (with Stephani Borgani). They also participated as a vocalist and improviser on SECONDARY, a five-channel video installation written and directed by Matthew Barney. This ensemble piece was developed in the collaborative environment of improvisational workshops with movement director David Thomson and composer Jonathan Bepler. The 60-minute piece will be on display at Barney’s studio from May 12 to June 25, 2023.

Institutions that have recognized and shaped Crespo’s artistic trajectory include MATA Festival, New Amsterdam Composers Lab, Van Lier Fellowship, Roulette Intermedium, Metropolis Ensemble, New Music Edmonton, New England Conservatory (MM), Institute for Musical Arts, Spiderweb Salon, Art & Words Festival, Greater Denton Arts Council, University of North Texas (BM), Siena International Jazz Workshop, The Boysie Lowery Living Jazz Residency, and the Conservatorio de Castella.


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