Outro Tempo: Electronic and Contemporary Music from Brazil (1978-1992) is an incredible collection of sonic experiments that mash-up genres with post-punk abandon, and could only have come from Brazil. It dazzles us, by turns, with cool ipanema pop, deep samba rumbling and Amazonian sounds and rhythms that capture the kinetic melody of colourful creatures we never knew existed, or will ever see. Amazing stuff.
Priscilla Ermel appears twice. She is an anthropologist, video artist and musician based at the Laboratório de Imagem e Som em Antropologia (LISA) in University of Sao Paulo.
In her ethno-musicological researches, she has studied the indigenous Tupi Mondé people of Brazil, as well as the Dogon in Mali- yes, the same Dogon who, as myth has hit, descended from the Sirians, and were soundtracked by Craig Leon in his Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music.
We were thrilled to discover this geo-cultural connection between Ermel and Leon’s work, because we had already sensed it intuitively when listening to her songs, epic drum odysseys that could have been produced by humans equipped with alien technologies, or vice versa. Either way, they activate hidden urges inside us, they make us long for strange frontiers, selvatic horizons traversed by Giacometti giants.
Today, we leave you with Gestos De Equilibrio, which is nothing short of extraordinary. Inside it, intricate oriental melodies swagger with a gaucho twang, and a spiral staircase of irresistible Basil Kirchin beauty descends into a basement full of tropicalia bangers, ammunition for DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing if it had happened in another place, in another time.
It has been too long since we posted any releases from our beloved RVNG International, so let us start addressing that omission with last year’s Tumblers from the Vault, by 1970s Toronto jazz-funk psychedeleans Syrinx.
As usual, you can read about their historical context and activities in RVNG’s excellently researched collateral. We will focus on the vibes, because the vibes are strong in this here place.
And what vibes are they?
The vibes are totally nuts, that’s what they are. Syrinx really sound like nothing else. They crash through Cartesian conceptions of the mind/body divide with a wild mix of crunchy fleshiness and spiritual grandiosity. There are enough weird noises here to make us think of Wolf Eyes if they were nice people, enough orchestral lushness to remember (and grieve for) David Axelrod, if he had been raised by gypsies, and enough syncopation to make us accelerate like Squarepusher, if he stopped here and there to throw us off balance and make things feel even crazier.
We’d be remiss if we made you believe that these tumblers are chaotic. Nay, there is a logic at work in these tumblers, even a narrative. We use some free association tricks to fathom it. The result is an impossible gestalt that brings together a hassidic Shaft, a symphony of urban complexity adapted from Jane Jacob’s theories, a musique concrete straight out of the pages of a Will Eisner comic, or Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual transplanted to American shores.
It’s all about the multiplicity of layers, the fractal epic you will find in the tiniest of gestures, and a pan-psychism devoid of platitudes, a pan-psychism you can feel in your bones. These tumblers are a powerful psychic weapon arrived from the past to help us find our way to a future we want, a future we need.
Get it on vinyl from RVNG.