Songwriter and composer QuinoBLN was born and grew up in Spain. After many years of making music there, he had the feeling that the country had become too small for his dreams and desire for adventure. After living in several European cities like Amsterdam and Cologne as well as travelling around a lot, he settled down in the very lively Berlin, which not only grew into his heart and his music, but its acronym became a part of his moniker. On the 14th of February this year QuinoBLN released his electro, dance-pop single, “Ein Jahr danach” through La Santa Compaña Records. From what I can deduce, the track’s title should translate to “One Year Later”. With the lyrics being entirely in German I could only pick up the gist of its meaning. The narrator seems to have been afflicted by a person, event or circumstance from which he has freed himself after one year.
While critics, fans, and websites engage in regular, never-as-important-as-they-seem skirmishes over whether this or that artist belongs to one or the other genre or is overrated or eve underrated, the music keeps piling up, waiting for a calmer moment when it can be properly assessed. Believe me, I know.
I’ve been reviewing records professionally since…well I can’t even remember and when I look back at the albums and bands I was sure were vital back in my youth—and the albums I either ignored entirely or publicly trashed, largely because they were popular—I cringe a little. But just a little. Being spectacularly wrong about music is an important part of growing up.
Hence when a polarizing act like QuinoBLN arrives on my desk and conjures the kind of synth washes and pop piano runs that could have easily pulsed across records during the mid-’80s, I know we’re in for another ‘never-as-important-as-they-seem skirmishes’.
What genre is this? How good is QuinoBLN? Is this retro synth-pop style of music still relevant? Heck, QuinoBLN even complicates things further by singing in German. So expect some more questions! Thank heavens I don’t give a shits about genres anymore, I form part of the old, and by now heavily cliched crew who believe music has only two genres – good or bad!
I may on the occasion use genre-labels for some people’s need to box things to better fit the limitations of their own minds. So having said that QuinoBLN falls into the ‘good’ music category, and for the genre-minded, he sits comfortably in the electro-pop classification.
A genre the Germans are masters of by the way, and which they’ve dominated since 1969 with the advent of the super-group Kraftwerk. So the Spaniard, QuinoBLN, has truly taken on all of the Teutonic characteristics, since his move to Berlin!
On “Ein Jahr danach”, QuinoBLN continues to develop and refine the template of the 80s esthetic, that splits the difference between new wave, synth-pop and club-ready dance music, with surprisingly positive results. The record’s carefully considered aesthetic and meticulous production featuring some unusual instruments bear all the hallmarks of an iconic work.