12 September, 2006

Jose Gonzalez

For long, the classical guitar has been overshadowed by its electric counterparts, left to collect dust under the bed of popular music. But finally, thanks to José González’s latest album, Veneer, it’s back in the spotlight in a way that would make Manuel Barrueco proud.

Few adjectives have the ability to give the Swedish-born Argentinian’s music the justice it deserves, but suffice it to say that José González has tremendous talent. Never before have I come across such humble yet affective melodies exhibiting both skill and technique evocative of Nick Drake, Cat Stevens and Joaquín Rodrigo. But such comparisons cannot in any way deny the originality with which González writes and plays his musical prose, and his soothing voice singing such uncluttered refrains left me hitting repeat to listen to his album just one more time, again and again.

González mastered the classical guitar quickly after his departure from playing bass in the rock group Back Against the Wall, and released Veneer in 2003. According to his site’s biography, he grew up surrounded by both Latin American music as well as UK and American pop, and this cosmopolitan blend is largely evident in this debut collection. He has since been touring Europe and the US (I really regret missing his July show in London!), and has provided vocals alongside Sia Furler for Zero 7’s The Garden album. His song ‘Heartbeats’ (a cover for The Knife‘s 2002 single) was also featured in the now notorious Sony BRAVIA advert (more on that in an upcoming post), and he has also covered tracks by Massive Attack (‘Teardrops’) and Kylie Minogue (‘Hand On Your Heart’).

Several months ago, González performed songs from his album for Spin‘s SpinHouse Live, and as I can’t upload the original audio tracks here, below are the video clips for five of his songs that left me wishing I could grab my guitar and fingerpick with such beauty and ease…

Sarah Badr © MMVI

See also: José González on MySpace

Jozé González: Official Site

Track 6 Deadweight on Velveteen

Track 9 Hints

Track 3 Lovestain

Track 4 Heartbeats

Track 5 Crosses



  1. […] I had first come across this award-winner by word of mouth, in the midst of all the frenzy over letting loose 250,000 brightly coloured bouncy balls down the sloping streets of San Francisco (Neo’s idea of heaven). By the Danish director Nicolai Fuglsig, it features José González’s single ‘Heartbeats’, dreamily playing in the background as the balls bounce whimsically to the rhythm of nature’s gravity. And since then, I’ve been informed that there is yet another advert on the way (by British director Jonathan Glazer) featuring massive paint explosions, huge quantities of non-toxic paint, and requiring 250 people for a ten-day shoot. […]

  2. […] going through a host of interesting videos from The Knife (indie duo popularized by José González’s 2006 hit cover of their song ‘Heartbeats’), I came across an intriguing number directed by Brooklyn-based Japanese animator Motomichi […]

  3. […] pre-order imminent on the horizon. From the same talent behind various clips for The Knife, José Gonazález and fellow Rabid artist Jenny Wilson, this stunning feature was directed by Malmö-based artist […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: