by Tyler Boudreaux
Photography by Colleen Mescole
Juliana Ronderos and Nicolas Losada—Hooli and Nico—cast a hypnotizing production as the indie electronic duo Salt Cathedral. Since 2013, they’ve been fusing Colombian dance rhythms with American pop lyricism and New York electronic culture to create a completely unique sound.
After releasing three well-received EPs, and a handful of remixes and singles to keep us going, they’re finally about to drop their debut album BIG WAVES // SMALL WAVES before the end of 2017.
Whereas their debut EP Salt Cathedral embraced a heavier guitar presence, and 2014’s Oom Velt EP emphasized catchier choruses, their four latest releases reveal the larger focus of the new album. With features like Matisyahu on “Unraveling’”and Jamaican dancehall legend Assassin on “Run For the Money,” it’s clear to see the duo is reaching for a global anthemic sound. Both singles highlight the hope of bridging cultures through music.
The cold opening to “Fragments,” featuring Ronderos’ isolated vocals, establishes a dramatic shift from their previous releases. It also illustrates Ronderos’ stunning control over her vocal cords. The lyrics on this track are expressive and create a force against the pull of Losada’s emphatic beat.
One of the duo’s strongest qualities is producing an intimate feeling, that’s also a universal experience. When Ronderos sings, “Calibrate your love the right way/ Don’t just sit there and watch it drain,” that emotion draws on a real understanding of desire.
Their single “Always There When I Need You,” their most streamed tune to date, is a perfect demonstration of their ability to orchestrate mainstream electro-pop dance fever. Their method of using repetitive verses and rhythms to create fragments of motion makes it instantly catchy, and a crowd favorite at the pregame and mainstream nightclubs alike.
The marriage of Ronderos’ dreamy vocals to Losada’s selection of worldly sounds (à la Jaime XX) reveal Salt Cathedral’s inherent mastery of melodies.
For the full story and more content, get your copy of Phosphenes #4 – “Music”