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by MJ Guider

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  • limited edition lathe cut 7"
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Lathe cut by hand on clear plexi by Cryptic Carousel. Includes a fold-out insert and liner notes, printed, assembled, stamped, and numbered by hand, housed in a clear vinyl sleeve...plus a button.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Matanzas via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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  • 2nd press "Viñales Edition" limited lathe cut 7"
    Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Second edition with inverted labels and cover art featuring the Viñales side of Matanzas on an insert card made to suit - printed, stamped, and numbered by hand...plus a sticker.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Matanzas via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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Matanzas 04:32
Viñales 04:08


Although geographically not very far from New Orleans, my mother’s native Cuba has always felt like another planet. My knowledge of it had been filtered through snippets of family conversations and the politically tinted lens through which Americans are made to view Cuba. I knew the only way I would ever understand this place that accounted for half of my heritage - the only way I could ever know it - was to go there.

In 2017 my mother and I took the trip. Acute awareness of how rare and fleeting it was stoked my urge to document it, so I methodically snapped photos and recorded the sounds of Cuba on a small field recorder. If I could bring the images and audio back, I could take my time to process and glean understanding.

When I was finally ready to sit with what I had chronicled about a year later, I found it to be hilariously flawed. Many of the photos were taken from behind the window glass of a moving vehicle, my own reflection leaving an imprint on what I was trying to capture. My audio recordings were even further contaminated by near-constant unintelligible murmuring of fellow travelers chattering in English, and the sounds of my own awkward handling of the recorder while I tried to get a perfect take on the fly. It was absurd. It felt symbolic of the entire mission.

I still had to know, so I set about translating. If there was something to be understood in what I had gathered, I’d use the tools I have to find meaning. From bits of sound extracted and manipulated, I wrote two songs - one inspired by my mother’s province of Matanzas, and another for beautiful Valle de Viñales in Pinar del Río. This work was a brief aside while writing Sour Cherry Bell, so I finished the songs and filed them away. Later on, during the summer of 2020, I went back to them. I found, again, that the message was lost and I didn’t understand. Again I needed to translate. I remixed the songs, the remixes then became the songs, and the translations brought meaning - at least in the moment.

This release in its physical form mirrors the understanding that I came to through this process. Here, the medium is as much a part of the story as what is being told through it, like Cuba translated through me: the songs, and even the images are translated through hand-cut grooves in plexiglass, where the noise, imperfection, and obfuscation of the format becomes part of the message, changing it.


released May 4, 2021

written / recorded / produced +
design / photography by Melissa Guion

mastered by James Plotkin

dedicado a Ileana y Mirella

modemain 2021 / MODEM-01


all rights reserved



MJ Guider New Orleans, Louisiana

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