Mujer de sal junto a un hombre vuelto carbón (1985)
Liner notes by Guilherme de Alencar Pinto: “Jaime Roos and Estela Magnone met in mid-1982 and had an affectionate relationship until the latter part of that year. In February 1984, soon after Jaime’s permanent return to Uruguay, they resumed their relationship as a couple with a more solid base: They would be together for 15 years.
Estela’s musicality, especially her harmonic sensibility, impressed Jaime from the beginning. Schooled in a family of musicians, Estela started performing as a solo artist in 1978, within the context of Canto Popular. En 1981, along with Mariana Ingold and Mayra Hugo, she would form the Travesía trio, and they recorded for the first time in Jaime’s album Siempre son las cuatro (1982). Travesía’s only record, Ni un minuto más de dolor (1983), was coproduced by Jaime and Carlos da Silveira. The album includes Estela’s first compositions, including her first lyrics (‘Andenes’) and her first co-authorship with Jaime (‘Carbón y sal’).
Within that context, they had the idea of making a duets album that would also be a couple’s album, with equally shared responsibilities: Music by Estela, arrangements by Jaime, and lyrics by both. It is, obviously, a peculiar album within Jaime’s discography, and the production decisions emphasized that feature. Jaime was living a moment that was impregnated with Uruguayan popular roots: He worked as an accompanist for El Sabalero, was a member of Repique and was preparing the Brindis por Pierrot album. Mujer de sal junto a un hombre vuelto carbón, for him, was like a stylistic oasis, his opportunity to venture into different musical worlds suggested by Estela’s compositions. These compositions were highly refined, but Jaime reworked them (in certain cases radically, as in ‘Casi tu cara’ and ‘Es como II’) or added counterpoints that expanded its tonal range. It was also an ideal place to channel his fascination with Béla Bartók, his favorite composer during his recent Amsterdam exile. All of that was part of the search for a ‘European’ and Autumnal feel for the album, characteristics Jaime associated with Prado, Estela’s neighborhood, known for its parks and old aristocratic stately homes.
Another premise was a rigorous ‘demo’ aesthetic, stressed by the option of playing without ‘tuco’ (that is, without those semi-improvised elements that help convey a sensation of warmth and looseness).
Within the record’s sound there is a bipolarity between mechanical-technological elements (the Roland Juno-6, a programmed drum machine) and ancient ones (the vertical piano at Estela’s house), and even primitive ones (the organic sounds in the accompaniment of ‘Tras tus ojos,’ complete with body percussion, breathing, clicking sounds and voices uttered in unusual ways, the only exceptions to the demo-like approach).
Among Jaime’s albums, after Candombe del 31 this is the one that used less hours of studio (about 100). The cover photo was taken in front of a soon-to-be demolished abandoned house on Capurro street.
Completed in the Spring of 1985, the album was released at the same time as the massively successful Brindis por Pierrot (recorded almost immediately after). This, coupled with the particular stylistic conception, contributed to the album being overshadowed. In fact, it’s the least commercially successful album in Jaime’s discography. ‘Carbón y sal’ would eventually have a good impact after being re-released on a Jaime compilation called Antología (1988), which went Platinum. The whole album was released on CD along with Vals prismático (1993, Estela’s first solo album, also produced by Jaime). This is the first complete digital release, since it includes ‘Tras tus ojos’ in its entirety, unlike previous CD editions.”
Next page: 7 y 3 (1986).