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CD Review: Sao Paolo Underground - Cantos Invisiveis

Sao Paolo Underground

Rob Mazurek – Cornet, mellotron, modular synthesizer, Moog paraphonic, OP-1, percussion and voice

Mauricio Takara – Drums, cavaquinho, electronics, Moog Werkstatt, percussion and voice

Guilherme Granado – Keyboards, synthesizers, sampler, percussion and voice

Thomas Rohrer – Rabeca, flutes, soprano saxophone, electronics, percussion and voice

On its sixth release, Cantos Invisiveis (disappearing songs), the innovative band Sao Paolo Underground performs nine originals that are vibrantly fluid and brim with spontaneity. The dense and dramatic music stimulates with its kaleidoscopic patterns and moves with its haunting atmosphere. Multi-instrumentalist Thomas Rohrer joins the usual trio, adding another exciting dimension to this intriguing record.

The dynamic and multifaceted “Estrada Para o Oeste” starts with Rohrer playing a tender melody that meanders within the electronics’ heavy ambience. It dissipates, as the tune gets increasingly dissonant. Drummer Mauricio Takara’s crashes and thuds usher in cornetist Rob Mazurek’s ethereal and melancholic horn that blows warmly over otherworldly pops and screeches. A lyrical duet hints, and Brazilian folk influences. Keyboardist Guilherme Granado’s resonant and echoing chords, and then the group chanting and percussion, add an otherworldly spiritual edge.

The quartet celebrates with exuberant singing and riotous and angular beats on “Violent Orchid Parade.” Over this procession, Rohrer’s flute flitters while Mazurek’s fiery cornet concludes the track on a passionate note. Equally ethereal and dynamic, “Cambodian Street Carnival” is an abstract, impressionistic piece with hypnotic Eastern motifs mixed with a lullaby like refrains.

Moments of angst are exquisitely expressed on such titles as “Desisto II.” The latter features synthesized sonic effects that alternate with roaring percussion, creating an expectant ambience. An ominous feel permeates the song, particularly with the distorted spoken words and gritty, ardent horn lines.

The cinematic “Falling Down From the Sky Like Some Damned Ghost” closes the disc with a futuristic fantasy, rich with whimsy and nostalgia. Overlapping harmonic fragments culminate into a serene, astral aura that frames a gentle and agile nocturne. The acerbic and otherworldly ensemble play ushers in an eerie dawn that ends on a high note.

Cantos Invisiveis is a unique and provocative work that makes for a thrilling and delightful listening experience. The seamless and singular mix of international themes and musical genres gives it a definite cerebral and emotive appeal.


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