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  • Writer's pictureThe Vinyl Hole

A Glimpse of the Past and Present of Silvania

Updated: Mar 13

By Andrea Coloma


As dedicated and passionate collectors, we have all experienced moments when we long, wait and hope to find that rare and special record to add to our collection. Sometimes, it seems unreachable, or we will even accept that it is unlikely to happen. Whether it hasn’t been repressed, never released in any analog format, or is particularly expensive. It can be difficult to obtain that particular album for various reasons. Well, I went against my sentiments recently. 


Not too long ago, I finally acquired the vinyl album I yearned for. This is the gem in my collection.


Photo by Andrea Coloma


"En Cielo De Oceano" (1993) by the Peruvian-Spanish duo Silvania is a remarkable and influential album that profoundly mirrors the whole essence and significance of what Shoegaze and, more prominently, Dream Pop symbolize. "En Cielo De Oceano," which translates as "In an Ocean Sky," lives up to the title; there is undoubtedly a sensation of depth, waves, peacefulness, and latitude in the music that is organic. Tracks such as "El Dia Del Cielo," "Trilce," and "Arcangel" are great examples. Each song grasps the same components while accompanied by the ethereal, noisy, melodic, and atmospheric sounds we identify with those genres. Coco Cielo's soft vocals (guitar, piano, cellos, rhythms) and Mario Silvania's (vocals, guitar, computer, synth) — assemble an outstanding listening experience that is certainly capable of capturing the attention of every Shoegaze and Dream Pop devotee. I hold tightly to this belief.


Photos by Andrea Coloma


"Un Cielo De Oceano" is one of my all-time favorite Shoegaze/Dream pop albums. My favorite track, "Un Bosque en La Memoria," is an aural venture that encircles peaceful scenery. Coco Cielo's and Mario Silvania's soothing vocals are instruments of their own that enwrap entirely to the other instruments. The whole arrangement of this track is captivating. The music generates ambient soundscapes that put your ears at ease.


Photos for Spiral Magazine (1995)


Silvania has been around since the late eighties and is the pioneer of Latin American Shoegaze culture, but has mainly embraced genres of Dream Pop and Generative Ambient Music, extracting influences from acts such as Cocteau Twins and Brian Eno. It is a clash that contributed to the evolution of Silvania.


Even though Peru is their homeland, they established themselves in Spain, settling in Valencia in 1989 and later transitioning to Madrid in 1991. Making this the primary location where they have been producing their music. In 1992, they released "Miel Nube Hiel" EP under the Spanish label Elefant Records, which was considered the EP of the year in Spain and has been commented to echo similar styles to Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. The following year, Silvania came out with their first full-length album, "Un Cielo De Oceano," which was deemed the album of the year by Spiral magazine and proclaimed by Radio Nacional de España (Spain's National Radio), which resulted in more praise from respected British magazines Melody Maker and New Musical Express (NME). However, these announcements did not stop there.





"Paisaje III," released in 1994, became an international success. These announcements led to a tour throughout Spain, supporting acts such as Stereolab and Moonshake in 1996. In this period, Silvania experiments more with ambient and electronic sounds, which Coco labeled "Electroclash." Silvania features futuristic remixes of present-day artists Autechre, Seefeel, Scorn, Scaner, and Locus. "Delay Tambor," released in 1996,  "Juniperfin" (1997), "Naves Sin Puertos" (1998), and "Campo De Spirales, Arboles y Secuencias Posibles" (1999) are excellent examples of this genre shift. The duo continued to impress magazines and radio stations as more music was produced. In addition, they embraced much of the underground scene in Madrid. As a result, Silvania continued to receive significant recognition in Spain and Latin America, generating more exposure for them on television, such as Spanish MTV, Peruvian television PLUS TV, and others. 





In 2008, Silvania's fate became an unfortunate event with the passing of Coco, creating a huge void in Silvania's music that put their music on a brief halt. However, Mario and Coco vowed to continue creating music despite all the obstacles.


After healing from this tragic event, Mario has been continuing with the project.



From top left to right: Coco (1990) Mario and Coco, (1995) (1990) and (2001)


Today, Mario resides in Lima, Peru, and has been releasing albums consecutively, leaning towards ambient sounds. Such as his latest album of 2023, "Aeolian" “Banda Sonora para Cometas y Halos Lunares” (Soundtrack for Comets and Lunar Halos) 2022, and “Todos Los Astronautas Dicen Que Pasaron Por La Luna." (All the Astronauts Say They Passed by the Moon) 2021. These albums weave a translucent environment with instruments of infinite varieties of analog synthesizers, theremin, violins, and much more. These instruments come together to build their own galactic atmosphere. You can even extract known sounds, such as psychedelic music from the 70s. This confirms the influence of these times on Silvania.



Photo for Magazine Siete (2014)


His latest album, “Aeolian” is a mix of electropop with astral soundscapes. It generates uplifting sensations that undoubtedly have an impact on the listener. It transmits melancholic but joyful sounds that forge a beautiful juxtaposition between them. “Aeolian” brings together sweetness, vitality, and nostalgia, along with the echoing sounds of pacifying voices; It adds a magnificent touch to the album. You definitely have to experience the splendor of “Aeolian.”



Mario Silvania (2016)


His latest albums are not available on any platform. You can reach out directly to Mario for the digital albums. Make sure to say Hello! Mario is a lovely person and is very welcoming to his fans. 


You can contact him by WhatsApp at +51 980873806 or on his Facebook


Here is a taste of "Aeolian"


“En Cielo De Océano” full album available in Youtube


Check out other excellent covers by Silvania:



FACEBOOK: @silvania.cielo


The Vinyl Hole had the privilege of interviewing Mario. Make sure to read the rest of this post to learn more. 



 



Interview with Mario Villaizan

by Andrea Coloma


*This interview was originally in Spanish; it has been translated for this article. 


AC: After living in Spain for so long, and now residing in Peru. How did both environments influence Silvania’s music? Do you think, in a sense, that Silvania’s music can be the product of the environment?


MV: Well, yes, it influenced it a lot because since we were kids, we had, I think, the luck to listen to very good music, either by my cousins or by Cocó’s parents or by my mother's or so on. We grew up with beautiful music, and we listened to it. Of course, we remembered groups like the Belkings and the Silvertons. Cocó’s father made him listen to a lot of classical music. He would sit him down. I remember Cocó in the living room as a child, and he would play classical music for Cocó to listen to. And that's what it was. It was an amalgam of music and so on, but also the sunsets of Lima, the ocean, that limeño barranquino where we also walked a lot with Cocó. The Malecón before me, years ago, Larcomar existed. And we used to walk a lot. And those colors of those Limean sunsets, too. All that has influenced us in the music of Silvania. And that was what we took to Spain, with its punk attitude because new wave was in fashion, underground rock was in fashion. So that's where we took off, where Cocó first went to study in Milan, and then I went to live in Geneva, Germany, and then I came to Spain, and we got together because we always had the idea of making music. And that's how Silvana was born in 89. And look, the first song we recorded to be played on the radio at that time was Amor Imposible, by the Belkings in plain shoegaze, which I have seen posted on YouTube.


AC: Nature appears to be a big implementation and theme in your music; how is this embraced in Silvania?


MV: Yes, very, very, very much. It's a very... it's a very soulful thing. I don't know. I don't want to get corny like that. Not only that, but it has influenced us tremendously. Because look, we, good musicians, have never been, right? No, no, I don't know more than seven chords, and Coco doesn't know more than seven guitar chords, the basic ones. So, what influenced us? Well, the sea, the... the ocean, the landscapes, space. And that’s how we illustrated the music of Silvania. Like... like drawings. Many chords have been invented. A lot of sounds, too. Practically all the sounds of Silvania's music are also invented because we didn't know how to play. Right? As I say again. No... we didn't know more than seven chords, and what we learned was to make up sounds. I used to make sounds all day long, and that is how the music of Silvania began to be created, especially in the songs. We had some beautiful vocal games, but we were very influenced by groups like the psychedelic era of Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Left Banke, and The Zombies, all that music that was called baroque pop, which later became psychedelia and those vocal games of the 60's we had recorded in our heads. We could make incredible vocal games in a single chord. And that was what began to make songs like Sueño Aerostatico, Sé Girasol, and Trilce. You know? Yes, nature has helped a lot, but as I say, everything around us, too.


AC: What has been the principal influence on Silvania’s musical development?


MV: One of the things that influenced us a lot was Brian Eno. Brian Eno's atmospheric records drove us crazy. Also, Krautrock….Tangerine Dream, Can, Popol Vuh, Kraftwerk, Neu! really drove us crazy. Of course, we noticed those groups made songs of ten to twelve minutes, but we wanted to make songs of three or four minutes to play on the radio. So it was by chance that in a store called Harmony Discos in Valencia, I bought the Byrds record… The Notorious Byrd Brothers by the Byrds. It opened our minds. We said this is what we want to do. The song, Draft Morning, starts with arpeggios like Cocteau Twins. The singer's voice comes in, which is very soft, and then, in the middle of the song, about a minute and a half into the song, some synth noises start to come in. He plays and finishes, and the arpeggio with the Byrds' angelic voices starts again. And I remember Coco and I looked at each other and said this is what we have to do. That record blew us away. We learned a lot from that record, and that's how we started to develop a way to record our first albums... Miel Nube Hiel, En Cielo de Oceano, then.


AC: In a YouTube interview, I recall that you mentioned wanting to release reissues of previous albums on vinyl. Is this something you still have in mind?


MV:  I would love to, but the problem is always the music labels, you know? The music labels think they own what you have achieved, you know? And it's not like that. That's the problem with Elefant Records, I guess. And because I think Silvania's music belongs to the people, it belongs to the young. Let's take Silvania's last two albums, Todos los Astronautas Dicen que Pasaron por la Luna and this last one from 2022, which is called Banda Sonora para Cometas y Halos Lunares and it has been bought by young people. You know, people 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 years old. I have been dumbfounded by that, Andrea, and ...and they are the ones that have once again put Silvania in front again. You know? Some magazines have registered these two albums as albums of the year. Tesoros mundanos, Peru Avant-Garde, El Comercio, Tercer Parlante, Rock Achorao. You know? It's incredible. And the sales have been great. And what have I done? Sell it myself. You know? So, hmmmmm. I will have to think about reissuing Silvania on vinyl. You know? Because, as I mentioned, Silvania's music belongs to Silvania, the young people, and the people who support you. Not to a record company that doesn't do anything. You know? They do nothing at all, waiting for the money to drop, and that's it.


AC: How was your experience in the production of "Aeolian"? 


MV: Every morning when I get up, I start the day by reading. One day, I read that in ancient cultures, when a girl or boy played an instrument, and it reached the ears of the other person, they called it Aeolian. That is, the path of the air or the wind carrying the music to other people's ears; they called it Aeolian... I loved it and said I think that's what Silvania's next album will be called. I also thought of another name, "Synesthesia". Since I am a synesthete, I can see and transform a color into music. In short, I can hear the colors. I've had it since I was a child, I was mocked and even insulted by them. .. but with time, I will learn to carry it and be happy with it. Aeolian consists of 16 songs that play a lot with memory and to close your eyes to see that almost sunset color inside you. They are distant melodies but also electronic, in the Dream pop style… it is also very 70s. It's just pop music.


AC: How would you describe Silvania to our readers who might not have heard of Silvania yet?


MV:  I would tell you that Silvana's music has always had that play of voices, melodies, harmonies, that it is a music that... That is easy to listen to because it is pop too, you know? You can pick up an acoustic guitar, and all of Silvania's songs can be played by Marlene from the Galaxies. It's an mi and a la. Do you know it? Trilce, is this a... A C and an E minor? You know, Señor Estático is a re. A G with an E and a C minor. It's so simple. And that makes people who listen to Silvania for the first time get trapped. Know? It's a world. It's a planet. I created this world because I had a very bad time with my family as a child. And when you have so many problems in your childhood and all that, well, you always look for a world. You make your own world. You are looking for a refuge. I remember that time that one day I opened the door and saw there, on my street in Barranco, my grandmother's house. Drug addicts and hippies abandoned on the corner playing the flute. I didn't want to do that. Know? I wanted to be like…like James Dean, like John Lennon. Like Elvis, like a Marlon Brando. Know? I wanted to give what I had and get inside my head and my feelings. And it was the music. Know? So I would tell people who will listen or listen to Silvania's music for the first time to see it as, like a planet that is where they put you, where you can also take refuge and find what you want to find with its angels and demons too, of course. It's very simple, you know? I am very practical. I think Silvania's music is like that, too.


AC: Lastly, would you like to say something to your fans?


MV: If I want to say something to the fans, Astronauts, how are you? [Laughter]. But speaking a little bit more seriously. Well, yeah, I think I could never make commercial music that is so cheap and nasty. No, I can't. Lately, the music has been so horrible that you are speechless. You know? But you don't know how proud I feel. How good I feel. But how tremendously proud. Don't you? To... to have worked with Autreche... with Seefeel. To have produced the Catervas record, the Laikamorí record, "Solineide" by Blue Velvet. Working with Subliminal… with all these alternative groups. For me, that's a beautiful thing, you know, because this type of alternative music is great. You know, I feel extremely proud to have worked and played with, I don't know, with Jesus and the Mary Chain, with Beach House. And I wouldn't trade it for the world, even if I'm starving to death and they come to me with 10 million euros to remix any reggeaton…. that does reggaeton and stuff. I would never do it. I don't care if the next day I don't have to eat, you know? Because I feel tremendously proud to have worked with all these people, and I'm never going to break it. It's art, you know? It's magic. It's art. Making alternative music, painting, collage...it's...it's one of the most beautiful things that life can give you.





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