Num9, "The Glow-Worm's Resistance"

Coque Yturriaga has plenty of ideas, but lacks the methods necessary to execute them well. Sprinkled throughout his confused, often muddy compositions and flat sounds are brief moments of beauty and impressive innovation, but they are too rare to save this record from being more than the first, tentative steps of his solo career.



The Glow-Worm's Resistance reaches for a synthesis between pop sensibilities, romance, and the often mantra-less sizzle of electronic composition and in the process manages to detail the difficulty of accomplishing such a goal. Yturriaga paints his record with broad and impressionistic strokes, gathering together the lazy strumming of slow-core rock 'n' roll with the busy explosions of programmed drums, sampled speech, and computer generated instrumentation. He does so, however, haphazardly. The result is a collection of ten songs that sound familiar in some ways because they utilize techniques and song structures proven to be effective by other bands, but that also sound confused, as though they're falling apart trying to hold together two very different and incompatible sensibilities. The opening song, "Perfect," is an excellent example of this problem. Yturriaga's vocal delivery aches to croon, his heart set on ushering forward all the vigor and drama of a romance at the very precipice of exhaustion. Behind him is the dry bump of electronic effects pretending to be percussion and an all-too-straightforward and repetitive guitar. I can almost feel what Yturriaga desires to accomplish in this contrast, but the result is little more than a dry and somewhat confused song.

This can be contrasted with a piece like "The Wait." It opens ominously, determined, and with a clear goal. Integrated into the hum and warble of a distorted orchestra Yturriaga inserts recorded and manipulated speech, introducing the track with an air of mystery. The song quickly solidifies with the inclusion of a tasteful synthetic beat and simple organ part. His vocals come as a surprise, but they blend perfectly with the song in terms of both delivery and tenor. As new instruments are added to the mix the song fleshes itself out naturally, culminating in an organic and unified whole that makes sense from beginning to end. If Yturriaga wants to improve his song-writing ability he needs to pay attention to this piece in particular. He balances all of his influences quite well on "The Wait" and does so without sacrificing any of the attractive elements inherent in them individually.

Unfortunately this delicate balance only appears briefly throughout the rest of the disc ("Poema de la Resistencia" is fabulous throughout, but far too brief), rendering the project uneven and unsatisfying on the whole. Yturriaga is clearly talented and obviously has plenty of ambition, but he'll have to temper his approach in order to make good on that ambition.