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Brasilian Report

Trio Ciclos Presents: Mobiles Vol. 1

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Trio Ciclos Mobiles Vol 1 CD Cover

While you will never hear the enormous struggle of the musicians of Trio Ciclos’ impulses to break free of some of the more binding shackles of tradition, there are more than broad hints of it described both in the short booklet notes by drummer Alex Buck and in the broken melodies, curved harmonies and jagged rhythms of their music. The kinaesthetic is mesmerising. It is music of mass and some density; so solid that you can not only visualise it but can almost feel it as its force draws you into the slipstream of the vehicular traffic of bass, drums and piano three mobiles in a type of moving sculpture, seemingly made with delicately balanced or suspended shapes that move in response to touch or the very air they are suspended in. This is the music of Mobiles Vol. 1 born of an acoustic that is impelled by the same currents that forced men like Anton Webern, Alban Berg and Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage and Morton Feldman to use their collective weight to turn the river of music against the mainstream of the entire Western classical tradition.

It will take more than a single volume of music to do the same to the Brasilian tradition, no doubt, but what a magical way to start. Bending sonic shapes – as the sculptor Alexander Calder bent geometric shapes in various media – Trio Ciclos have created more brazen and infinitely more amorphous musical shapes from the samba, marcha, Maracatu Nação, chorinho, and afoxé; traditional Brasilian forms virtually unrecognisable in this music yet there nevertheless. Here we find some of the most beautifully outrageous sonic excursions emanating ever so organically from the bass, drums and piano – all naturally unamplified instruments – bolstered by electronically produced sounds that impact not only the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic development of the music, but send it in unexpected directions just as the natural – and mechanically manipulated (by electric fans) – flow of air did likewise to Calder’s wondrous shapes in his celebrated mobile sculptures.

The music of Trio Ciclos comes from a colour palette of pitched percussive instrumentation creating a strangely hypnotic sound-world which moves back and forth between the African and the Caribbean sound-world, occasionally flirting with that of the broadly European one as well. Wholly original works created on the skins of the drums, acro and pizzicato roars and rumbles of the steel strings of the contrabass and on the keyboard, and inside the womb of the concert grand piano – sometimes embellished by electronically created impulses as well. And exemplary piece with instant allure is “Curaçao Mobile”, with its complex rhythmic structure and capricious bursts of instrumental crossfire that make enormous demands of the performers. Meanwhile “Koan n. 2” and “Mobile saudade” both with furious keyboard assaults, jagged lines and unremitting rhythmic pile-ups give something absolutely new to the world of contemporary music – Brasilian or otherwise.

Track list – 1: 3 Chances; 2: Curaçao Mobile; 3: Mobile Rock; 4: Koan n. 2; 5: Mobile Saudade; 6: Mobilibre; 7: Maxixe

Personnel – Alex Buck: drums and live electronics; Bruno Migotto: contrabass; Edson Santanna: piano

Released – 2017
Label – Independent
Runtime – 42:21

Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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Brasilian Report

Rique Pantoja: Live in Los Angeles

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Rique Pantoja

The West Coast of the United States has had a rather long – and celebrated – association with the music of Brasil. Rique Pantoja is tapping into the Brasilliance on his Live in Los Angeles album. Moacir Santos created by far the greatest series music when he moved to Pasadena, California from Brasil in 1967. He quickly began turning heads with his spectacular take on the lineage of the [post bebop] cool, melding it with the music of his home-state, Pernambuco, in his very singular mix of other dance forms from Brasil. Other influential Brasilian musicians whose artistry collided with West Coast Cool were Cesar Camargo Mariano, Airto and Flora Purim [when she was there once upon a time] to name a few Brasilians who influenced the North American West Coast sound.

Rique Pantoja: Live in Los Angeles
Rique Pantoja: Live in Los Angeles

Rique Pantoja, by virtue of his extraordinary musicianship, his long-limbed compositions that seem to roll along with their exquisite, naturally danceable rhythms, can also lay claim to this august line of musicians. His music, captured on this beautifully-recorded album seems to express the sheer joy – the alegria – of being alive and in love. The composer [and pianist] seems to indulge fully his predisposition for dreamscapes as he is on stage, allowing the lyrical saxophonist [and flutist] Steve Tavaglione to stretch and take extraordinary melodic and harmonic excursions with winding, lyrical lines of his own seemingly intoxicated by the enraptured emotions ensconced in the music.

The pianist’s poetic fantasies – such as we listen to on “Da Baiana” – evoke images of voluptuous eloquence in the form of a sultry, baiana, rhythmically hip-swishing her way down along fine white sand of the Coconut Coast in Bahia. With rippling keyboard grooves, Mr Pantoja conjures vivid, lifelike imagery of surf beating around us, while Mr Tavaglione’s flute, with cascading lines from the guitar of Ricardo Silveira wail and moan and whistle melodically. Meanwhile the percussionist – Cassio Duarte – and drummer Joel Taylor – re-create the sizzle and steamy seduction of baiana’s rolling rhythm along with the deep rumble of the bass played with extraordinary facility by Jimmy Earl.

“Arpoador” is one of the finest songs on the album that had already mesmerised the audience with its tintinnabulation of the keyboards introducing the opening strains of Mr Pantoja’s magical and mystical song. Even under the Brasilliance of “1000 Watts” the audience seems to be under the hypnotic spell of the music from then on… a spell that is only broken when Rique Pantoja and this marvelous ensemble gently awaken them with the balladic – and balletic – aural dreamscape of “Pra Lili”, to close a beautiful set that offers an astonishing insight into Mr Pantoja’s artistic conception.

Tracks – 1: Arpoador; 2: Julinho; 3: 1000 Watts; 4: Da Baiana; 5: Bebop Kid; 6: Que Loucura; 7: Morena; 8: Pra Lili

Musicians – Ricardo Silveira: guitar; Steve Tavaglione: saxophones and flute; Rique Pantoja: keyboards and vocals; Jimmy Earl: bass; Joel Taylor: drums; Cassio Duarte: percussion

Released – 2022
Label – Moondo Music [MDO-2022
Runtime – 1:08:13

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