Sunday, 23 June 2019

Rodrigo Campos, Gui Amabis, Juçara Marçal ‎– Sambas Do Absurdo (2018)

Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Format: Vinyl
Label:  Goma Gringa Discos

Tracklist
A1. Absurdo #8
A2 Absurdo #7
A3.   Absurdo #6
A4. Absurdo #5
B1. Absurdo #4
B2. Absurdo #3
B3. Absurdo #2
B4. Absurdo #1

Credits:
Lyrics By – Nuno Ramos
Keyboards, Programmed By, Voice, Producer – Gui Amabis
Music By, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Cavaquinho, Voice – Rodrigo Campos
Voice, Art Direction – Juçara Marçal

Mesmo na curta duração de seus atos, difícil não se surpreender pela força das canções e grandiosidade de Sambas do Absurdo (2017, YB). Produto da colaboração entre o cantor e compositor Rodrigo Campos, a cantora Juçara Marçal e o produtor Gui Amabis, o trabalho inspirado no ensaio O Mito de Sísifo (1942), obra do escritor franco-argelino Albert Camus, faz da lenta desconstrução do samba e de pequenos absurdos do cotidiano o principal estímulo para a composição dos versos. 
Dotado de uma poesia particular, resultado da parceria entre Campos e o colaborador de longa data, o artista plástico e escritor Nuno Ramos, também responsável pela imagem de capa do disco, Sambas do Absurdo se espalha sem pressa, detalhista e provocativo. Versos alimentados pelo uso de temas urbanos, reflexões existencialistas, sexo e conflitos diários. Caos orquestrado com leveza, ponto de partida para cada uma das oito faixas do disco, todas intituladas Absurdo e numeradas de trás para frente. 
Em essência orientado pela voz de Marçal, o trabalho encolhe e cresce a todo instante, mergulhando na formação de temas confessionais, vide Absurdo 3 (“Ter você, ter você / Ter areia / Ter você, ter você / Ter a lua“), e questionamentos intimistas, marca de Absurdo 7 (“O nosso algoz / Dentro de nós / Não tem polícia / Na minha voz“). Poemas curtos, rápidos, porém, imensos quando observados de forma atenta, dentro da pluralidade de histórias, cenas e conceitos explorados pelo trio. 
A mesma versatilidade na composição dos versos se reflete na costura dos arranjos que cobrem o disco. Na trilha do último registro de inéditas de Campos, o temático Conversas com Toshiro (2015), Sambas do Absurdo encontra no uso de melodias orquestrais um fino complemento ao samba arquitetado pelo grupo. Pinceladas acústicas que servem de complemento ao canto forte de Marçal, reflexo da polidez a atenção constante de Amabis, por vezes íntimo do autoral Ruivo em Sangue (2015). 
Entre instantes de pura suavidade, marca de faixas como Absurdo 4 e Absurdo 1, Sambas do Absurdo encanta pelos momentos de maior experimentação. É o caso de Absurdo 6. Em um intervalo de apenas três minutos, guitarras enevoadas se espalham em meio a ruídos, batidas sampleadas e passagens breves pelo samba. O mesmo cuidado se repete ainda em Absurdo 5 e Absurdo 3, canções envoltas em uma atmosfera quase claustrofóbica, sufocante. 
Conduzido com leveza, a parceria entre Campos, Marçal e Amabis segue de forma curiosa, brincando com as possibilidades a cada nova curva do registro. Difícil não lembrar do primeiro álbum de estúdio do Metá Metá, lançado em 2011, efeito da permanente sensação de descoberta que acompanha o ouvinte durante toda a audição do trabalho. Da imagem de capa aos arranjos e versos, Sambas do Absurdo encontra na perversão da normalidade o estímulo para a produção de uma obra dotada de identidade própria. 
Cleber Facchi / Miojo Indie

Metá Metá ‎– MM3 (2016)

Style: Psychedelic Rock, Art Rock, Avant-garde Jazz, Jazz-Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Goma Gringa Discos, Jazz Village

Tracklist:
1.   Três amigos
2.   Angoulême
3.   Imagem e amor
4.   Mano Légua
5.   Angolana
6.   Corpo vão
7.   Osanyin
8.   Toque certeiro
9.   Obá Koso

Credits:
Bass – Marcelo Cabral
Drums – Sérgio Machadoá
Saxophone – Thiago França
Vocals – Juçara Marçal
Vocals, Guitar – Kiko Dinucci
Written-By – Juçara Marça, Kiko Dinucci, Rodrigo Campos, Siba, Sérgio Machado, Thiago França

With MM3, this Sao Paolo-based trio, active since 2008, are joined once again by a bassist and drummer for spastic, genre-defying blasts that place them in the center of a vibrant Brazilian music scene. The record skitters between post-punk, gruff, avant sax flutters, raw guitar pulsations, and an ability to shift tempo that's military precise. The Ex's more global excursions come briefly to mind, the back alley sonic-chases of Last Exit share some sort of distant genes, and UT's urgency at least flirts with some of this record's chugging intensity. But for those who hear Brazil and think samba, candomble, or Tropicalia's freakier moments, this record might come as a surprise. 
Sao Paolo has music to go with its infrastructure, poverty, and corruption. From experimental synth to Favela proibidao rap, Metá Metá, who initially stoked the fading fires of the country's traditions with free-jazz, are one more component of a scene that's at least partially a reaction to the chaos and breakdowns pervading their city. “Imagem do Amor,” also available live on video (see below) as part of their “no Cultural Livre” set, gets its strength from a narcotic, portending riff, where Jucara Marcal's voice nearly bursts at the seams before Thiago Franca's gravelly sax warbles dance over the fallout. 
And while this is a band intent on original material, this album's centerpiece is the nearly ten-minute remodeling given to the traditional Nigerian dance drama, “Oba Koso.” Kiko Dinucci's guitar enters in shards not unlike something heard on Sonic Youth's “Evol,” before being joined by the rest of the band for a subtle build on the riff. Dinucci chants the Yoruba lyrics over Franca's melodic underpinnings and croaks. Marcal finally appears moaning atop the chant for a performance building toward catharsis through noise and repetition. Finally, the dust starts to settle, and the band holds onto the tune's pulse as it ever so stealthily builds back up once again before slinking off into nothing. It's easily the album's most evocative track, and the band smartly saved it for last. 
Bruce Miller / Roots World

The Chameleons ‎– Strange Times (1986)

Style: New Wave, Indie Rock, Ethereal
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Geffen Records

Tracklist:
01.   Mad Jack
02.   Caution
03.   Tears (Original Arrangement)
04.   Soul In Isolation
05.   Swamp Thing
06.   Time / The End Of Time
07.   Seriocity
08.   In Answer
09.   Childhood
10.   I'll Remember
        Limited Edition Free Bonus Album
11.   Tears (Full Arrangement)
12.   Paradiso
13.   Inside Out
14.   John, I'm Only Dancing
15.   Tomorrow Never Knows

Credits:
Bass, Vocals – Birdy
Drums, Percussion – John
Guitar – Reg
Guitar, Strings – Dave
Piano – Beki
Producer – David M. Allen
Written-By – Fielding, Lever, Burgess, Smithies

Mark Burgess and his band, The Chameleons, are an anomaly. Despite endless pop-rock appeal, a Mancunian post-punk pedigree and three perfect LP’s, they’ve received relatively little commercial success. Nearly every song the band recorded was anthemic; the soaring guitars, driving rhythms and Burgess’ compelling vocals coming together to form a wall of the most beautiful noise you’ve probably never heard. While I could be reviewing any of the Chameleons’ albums (Script of the Bridge and What Does Anything Mean? Basically are equally brilliant) I’ve been tasked with a brief, “Classic” review of Strange Times. Here goes nothing... 
First, before you read on, go to the bottom of this review and listen to “Soul In Isolation”. When you’re back, having been freshly bathed in all that dark, atmospheric, brilliance, ask yourself: Why haven’t I heard this before? The answer is long and complicated and involves bad luck with labels, the death of their manager Tony Fletcher and ultimately an overall lack of exposure outside of the UK. It’s too bad because The Chameleons boast some really intricate, bizarrely-tuned, guitar work, courtesy of Dave Fielding and Reg Smithies, which one moment is a sonic wrecking ball, demolishing expectations with dense layers of reverb. The next moment the guitarists fall into a complicated lockstep interplay, riffing back and forth, almost like a game. Few of their contemporaries had these chops. 
Speaking of chops, John Lever’s drums sound almost machined in their flawless precision and silvery tone. Strange Times afford Lever the opportunity to create some complex rhythms (“Caution”), some massive beats (“Swamp Thing”) and to simply show-off his versatility (“Mad Jack”) as one of the best drummers in rock. Though Burgess’ bass playing is often overlooked due to his frontman role, he and Lever created a rhythm section that rivaled contemporaries like The Cure. 
As for Burgess, though his lyrics are (deceptively) simple, and his voice (beautifully) imperfect, what he is, unfailingly, is clear. Listeners always know where they stand with Mark Burgess because he is bellowing it out to them with all the paranoid honesty of biblical prophet or a prisoner facing his third week of panoptic solitary confinement… William Blake meets Michel Foucault. 
“Oh, when you think on it, when you think of it/ we’re all souls in isolation/ Alive in here, I'm alive in here, I'm alive in here…” – “Soul in Isolation” 
“Now the world is too much with me/ Please leave, just go away/ Before I lose my mind completely/ Just leave, please go now/ Now nothing's sacred anymore/ When the demon's breaking down your door/ You'll still be staring down at the floor” –“Swamp Thing” 
The Chameleons were incomparable and accordingly this review has given them short shrift. Do yourself a solid and seek out a copy of Strange Times, or honestly, any of their first three albums. If you like loud, gorgeous post-punk rock you will be so glad you did. 
Jon Burke / Soundblab

The Chameleons ‎– What Does Anything Mean? Basically (1985)

Style: Alternative Rock, Post-Punk
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Statik Records, Virgin, Victoria

Tracklist:
01.   Silence, Sea And Sky
02.   Perfume Garden
03.   Intrigue In Tangiers
04.   Return Of The Roughnecks
05.   Singing Rule Britannia (While The Walls Close In)
06.   On The Beach
07.   Looking Inwardly
08.   One Flesh
09.   Home Is Where The Heart Is
10.   P.S. Goodbye
11.   In Shreds
12.   Nostalgia

Credits:
Bass, Strings, Vocals – Mark Burgess)
Drums – John Lever
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Reg Smithies
Electric Guitar, Strings – Dave Fielding
Producer – Colin Richardson, Steve Lillywhite, The Chameleons
Written-By, Arranged By, Performer – The Chameleons

The Chameleons have long been relegated to the position of footnote in the history of Manchester music, despite being the greatest band to ever emerge from Middleton.  They have become the Gaugin to the Stone Roses Van Gough, the Salieri to the Smiths Mozart.  With this reissue of the seminal 1985 album ‘What Does Anything Mean? Basically’ they attempt to re-establish their musical legacy.  The album is an amalgamation of all the classic 80s sounds.  If it were released for the first time this year you would call it an excellent pastiche. 
The twelve album tracks incorporate every meaningful band from the North West in the 1980s.  From Echo and the Bunnymen to the Smiths, Stone Roses and the Fall.  It even finds time to make a playful reference to the Beatles.  The albums fifty-one minutes are layered in synths, echoes, reverb and obtuse song titles such as ‘Intrigue in Tangiers’ and ‘Singing Rule Britannia (while the walls close in)’.  Lyrically the band even finds time to launch attacks on Thatcherism through the poetic verse.  It is perhaps apt that the final track on the album is titled nostalgia, almost as though it was written with the reissue in mind. 
The nine rough-cut demos found on disc two of the release are for devotees only, allegedly found on a C60 cassette in guitarist Dave Fielding’s garage, they serve only as an excuse to repackage the original album and place it in the forefront of record shop windows.  But that is no less than this album deserves. It is a historic album, both in terms of its quality and longevity.  Any album that has influenced the likes of Interpol, White Lies, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Editors and Spiritualized has earned a position in your record. 
Ian Snell / Silent Radio