Monday, 30 August 2021

VA ‎– Antologia De Música Atípica Portuguesa Vol.1: O Trabalho (2017)

Style: Avantgarde, Experimental
Formtat: Vinyl
Label: Discrepant ‎– CREP 35

01.   Live Low - Antiplot
02.   Negra Branca - O Espatelar Do Linho
03.   EITR - Cicuta
04.   Luar Domatrix - Bocadinho De Alentjo
05.   Gonzo - Agora Baixou O Sol = Now The Sun Is Down
06.   Tiago Morais Morgado - Laurindinha
07.   Filipe Felizardo - Sede E Morte
08.   Gonzo & Luar Domatrix - Já Lá Gritam No Calvário
09.   Calhau! - Pecunibal
10.   Peter Forest - A Maria Cavaca (Trad. Working Song)

Mastered By – Rashad Becker
Artwork – Ruca Bourbon
Layout – Gonçalo F. Cardoso

Gathered together on this new compilation series are Portuguese artists that stretch back into the past with the same inquisition as they press into the future, allured both by the original significance of tradition and the opportunity to reframe it. The theme of the first volume is “o Trabalho” (which translates as “work”), with the sounds here predominantly driven by steam and muscle and persistence: trains horns toot as they trundle through the countryside with cargo in tow, drums mimic the metronomic impact of axes and hammers, work songs liberate minds from the drudge of repetitious labour. These physical gestures are then smeared, serrated and bled into the apparatus of the modern day, with choral winds blistered by distortion (Filipe Felizardo), chants arcing over gentle synthesiser tides (Gonzo) and guttural throat-song set inside bitcrusher crystals (Calhau!). 
Despite the strong spirit of manipulation and collage, the general shape of those recorded historical artefacts are kept largely intact, which means that even the compilation’s most abstract flights maintain a connection with the earth below. On Negra Branca’s “O Espatelar Do Linho”, the present is a comet trail pouring out of antiquity: synthesisers follow the ascent of mass song as it breaks through the ceiling, buoyed by chimes and the patter of mallet percussion, imbuing the jovial rise of voice with the shimmer of the cosmic. Meanwhile, the intertwining vocoder chants of Tiago Morais Morgado – whose low notes blur into gigantic rumbles of synthetic voice, grinding against eachother tectonic plates – maintain a visceral, thoroughly human depth through their fizz of electronic filtering. In retaining the essence of their source material, all of these artists exhibit a fascination with not just the sonic qualities of these sounds, but also the historical narratives that have carried their significance into the present.

Propellerheads ‎– Decksandrumsandrockandroll (1998)

Style: Breakbeat, Trip Hop, Big Beat
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Wall Of Sound

01.   Take California
02.   Echo And Bounce
03.   Velvet Pants
04.   Better?
05.   Oh Yeah?
06.   History Repeating
07.   Winning Style
08.   Bang On!
09.   A Number Of Microphones
10.   On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
11.   Bigger?
12.   Cominagetcha
13.   Spybreak!

Producer – Propellerheads

Really, the title says it all -- Decksanddrumsandrockandroll is about as close to rock & roll as big-beat techno is going to get. Taking their cue from the Chemical Brothers, the Bath-based duo Propellerheads offer a set of pummeling, ultra-loud beats that may dabble in funk, house, hip-hop, soul, and rap, but which all come out sounding as aggressive as rock. Not that there's anything wrong with that -- at its best, big beat is as invigorating as any other music -- but Propellerheads don't have the finesse, innovation, or style of the Chemical Brothers, the leading proponents of big beat. When they shake the beat up, whether on the wah-wah-drenched "Velvet Pants" or the pair of John Barry/James Bond tributes (a reworking of their cover of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and "History Repeating"), it sounds like a tactical move, since they know they can't spend the entire album on thundering dance cuts like "Bang On!" and "Take California." That said, Decksanddrumsandrockandroll remains a strong big beat album, even if it ultimately doesn't reveal anything new, because the duo knows how to craft a hard-hitting, infectious rhythm track. And while that doesn't make them the next Chemical Brothers, it does make them the best in this style since the Chemicals.
Stephen Thomas Erlewine / AllMusic