Sunday, 2 June 2019

HHY & The Macumbas ‎– Beheaded Totem (2018)

Style: Dub, Tribal
Format: CD, Vinyl, FLAC
Label: House of Mythology

Tracklist:
1.   Wilderness of Glass
2.   A Scar in the Skull
3.   Danbala Propaganda
4.   Deep Sleep Routine
5.   Ergot Glitter
6.   A Scar in the Bone
7.   Swisid Mekanize Rejiman

Credits:
João Pais - Percussion
Filipe Silva - Percussion
Frankão - Percussion
Brendan Hemsworth - Percussion
Álvaro Almeida  - Horns
André Rocha - Horns
Rui Fernandes - Horns

Jonathan Uliel Saldanha chama a este seu projecto “cybernetic voodoo dub”, mas a designação só nos prepara para uma parte do que vem neste “Beheaded Totem”, o segundo título discográfico dos HHY & The Macumbas – aquela em que se enovelam uma electrónica derivada do ambientalismo (a cargo do próprio Saldanha e de Nyko Esterle), uma misteriosa e muito, muito escura dose de ocultismo tribalista, garantida pelos percussionistas Brendon Hemsworth, Filipe Silva, Frankão e João Pais Filipe, e o tipo de manipulações de gravação do reggae que resultou em todo um subgénero. Não nos prepara, por exemplo, para o que permanece nesta música das mundividências que Sun Ra aplicou na sua Arkestra ou de certas incursões pan-africanistas que surgiram nos territórios do free jazz – lembro-me, por exemplo, de “A Message From Mozambique”, dos Juju. 
Nada nos desvenda, igualmente, quanto à dimensão umas vezes de fanfarra bêbada e outras mais parecendo militar ou wagneriana, tal a sua pujança épica, dos sopros (Álvaro Almeida, André Rocha e Rui Fernandes), ou o que nos planos circulares dos temas reunidos há de devedor às estratégias do minimalismo norte-americano dos Sessentas e do rock alemão dos Setentas. Uma coisa é certa: fora dos domínios da música electroacústica “erudita” e da, experimental, que surgiu nas franjas do techno e da media art, este grupo propõe um outro entendimento da psico-acústica, o que quer dizer que é na nossa individual percepção que os temas se trabalham e se “resolvem”. Ou seja: é preciso escutar este disco activa e exclusivamente, não servindo como fundo para fazer a contabilidade doméstica, para viajar pela Internet ou para conversar. Ouvir apenas está hoje em desuso, mas este sincretismo futurista é nisso deliciosamente retro. 
Rui Eduardo Paes / jazz.pt

Lurking somewhere between Sun Ra's Arkestra and the Chemical Brothers is Beheaded Totem's jarring, rocky soundscape. Every turn seems to loop back on itself in a never-ending cycle of music. The wide expanses of the synth and percussion combo create a sense of openness and space. Of a plain of sound where the horizons stretch out in both directions. And the brass, more concentrated and precise, mirror the sunbeams that blister the ground. Their spare riffs colour the sound with flaming hues of orange and yellow.  
The hi-hat groove of "Wilderness Of Glass" puts teeth in its jaws. Broken glass fangs that sharpen the edges. While the hand-drums' circular rhythm is an earthy contrast to that bite. A grounded, tribal beat. That keeps the dirt between the track's toes. Even as the trumpets echo and the synths whirl like the milky way.  
As the industrial-strength beat of closing-track "Swisid Mekasine Rejiman" evokes images of deep mine shafts, the electronics float ghostly atop the rhythm. And the processed trumpet cuts the thicket of sound like a comet through the cosmos. The comic-prophet Bill Hicks said that space "both inner and outer" was humanity's to explore. On records such as this the first reconnaissance teams move into those territories. To map out their mysteries.  
The Kubrick-esque synths of "A Scar In The Skull" are percussion-less. Nebulous and spaced-out. Reminiscent of Wendy Carlos' soundtrack for A Clockwork Orange. But on "A Scar In The Bone" the synthesisers are stormy. Like a flood of radio static. Towards its end their pulsations intensify until they suddenly give way to the aforementioned "Swisid Mekasine Rejiman." A shocking, off-kilter shift. That curves one last bullet before the record moves towards its close.  
Between the album's bookends, "Danbala Propaganda" moves to a fractured rhythm. A single synth-note pulses in the background. That lures in the unwary with its hypnotic, mechanical exactness. Before the higher electronics rise out of the percussion's waters. Dragging the tension up as they ascend to the stratosphere.  
Rhythm is the central idea here. It's the common thread running through the tapestry. In lieu of melodic themes, HHY & The Macumbas have used rhythmic motifs. And those possibilities are explored to their fullest potential on "Ergot Glitter." It moves like Frankenstein's monster on a skewed 3/4 beat. Powerful, slow, menacing. With reaching hands and a synth-growl at the back of its throat.  
This is a unique record. Where technology meets tradition. It moves constantly in a hypnotic loop. But just as the sandman is descending it fires one of those curved bullets. Bullets that never miss their mark. HHY & The Macumbas have dared to meld disparate influences in an increasingly divided planet. As the free world's leaders try to isolate it from its brother-lands, HHY & The Macumbas seek to unite all cultures. So that those spaces, "both inner and outer," can be explored as one, universal race.
James Fleming / All About Jazz

HHY & The Macumbas ‎– Throat Permission Cut (2015)

Style: Experimental, Dub, Space-Age, Tribal
Format: Vinyl, FLAC
Label:  Silo Rumor

Tracklist:
1.   Isaac, The Throat
2.   Barbaron
3.   Gysin
4 .  Lewopa De Kristal
5.   Reanima Eléctrica

Credits:
Producer – Jonathan Uliel Saldanha
Written-By – Jonathan Saldanha
Bass – Rui Leal
Horns – André Rocha, Rui Fernandes, Álvaro Almeida
Percussion – Brendan Hemsworth, Filipe Silva, Frankão, João Pais Filipe

"If you're in to melt yourself down, you're gonna love this" 
— Mary Anne Hobbs | BBC Radio 6  
Hailing from Porto, HHY & The Macumbas is an ensemble comprised of bass, brass, percussion and electronics, written and dubbed by producer Jonathan Uliel Saldanha aka HHY.  
Comprising an ever-mutating ensemble of musicians from the Portuguese underground music scene, The Macumbas range from five to ten players on stage, presenting frantic and enigmatic live shows, between the film works of Kenneth Anger, the dubbing of Sherwood, the Portuguese melancholic marching bands, as well as the raw trance-inducing rhythms of Haiti.  
Their debut album, Throat Permission Cut, is a five track piece that captures the space-age voodoo turbulence of this oblique and one of a kind horde. 
Bancamp