NEW York is synonymous with musical duos. Throughout the history of the state, there is a rich vein that constantly pumps out and supplies every corner, genre and listener with something identifiable and emancipating. Simon & Garfunkel providing disconsolate lovers with a soundtrack of regret, the fronting up beats of east-side hip hop outfit Mobb Deep, the electronic splicing which engineers a broken beat through French Horn Rebellion that serves to groove and please in ample measures; every one an example of the state’s sustained success.
But what’s most striking is New York’s latest duo – Salt Cathedral.
Comprising of Columbian-born musicians Juliana Ronderos and Nicolaas Losada, it’s a struggle to remember the last time something as forceful and enchanting had reached from a debut single. ‘Fragments’ is a contorted electro-ballad that evokes seeds of St Vincent and the beauty of Charlotte OC. It explodes from an early hum of Ronderos’ voice which eeks out like a fragile Lykke Li. And bang. Like Glass Animals, the power behind Losada’s beats enlivens Ronderos and it becomes a warped celebration against the troubles of 2016.
“Fragments was written in a year that the general public are calling the worst year ever,” Ronderos recalls when reflecting on the track.
“War, mass killings, civil unrest and violent populism are now all-too-common features of life in a global society.”
And this is ‘Fragments’ strength. It emboldens not just those of American decent, but practically every community on the face of the earth.
With the duo’s debut album ‘Big Waves/Small Waves’ slated for release this year – featuring collaborations with dancehall singer Assassin (the familiar voice which stars on Kanye West’s Yeezus) and dub legend Lee Scratch Perry, the early promise ‘Fragments’ serves will surely become a reality.
Words by Clive Hammond