Wednesday, August 17, 2011

from São Paulo, Brazil

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Remember when a Brazilian post-metal band called Black Sea was band of the week? Back then I said "I've even got a couple of widely unknown bands from there of that ilk on the pipeline for future features," and one of those were actually Sobre A Máquina. The label on which Black Sea released their EP is called sinewave and it's pretty cool, they make available on their website, for free, a lot of releases from up and coming experimental bands mostly, and it's really worth it to take a look around, as you'll surely find something very interesting.

The band that most stood out for me at that time was this trio. Not only their artwork is of wonderfully good taste, but their first record called 'Decompor' was described as featuring "influences of bands tagged as: Drone Doom, Early Industrial, Post-Industrial, Dark Ambient and Post-Rock," so I naturally had to take a peek. Of course that's a bit exaggerated, and fortunately so - for a band to incorporate all that in full force, it'd have to be a fuckin' incomprehensible wall of sound. The vibe I got from Sobre A Máquina was mostly one of chill out. You know, not what is usually understood as chill out when it comes to music. No lounge chairs, people by the pool or elevator music where meaningless beats and dumbed down harmless easy-jazz pass as entertainment while people sip on drinks with umbrellas in them. Chill out as in music that really loosens your thoughts after all those sessions of mindfuck black metal weirdness or hideously deformed nihilistic sludge. The main difference between this and other kinds of chill out music is that I actually enjoyed this one.

You see, there's an important difference of chill outs, and it resides in that Sobre A Máquina don't do easy or simple music. It's relaxing but it's also challenging and forward-thinking and interesting. I waited until now to feature them because I needed confirmation that that first release wasn't just a fluke, not just some electronics beginner that hit the nail by chance, so now with a new record called 'Areia' (it means "sand", in case you're wondering) they've gone and totally proved their worth, dispelling any doubts I might have had.

Don't get all hung up on the fact that I find this relaxing, okay? You might not, and this is not easy-listening in any case. Their trippy use of electronics is actually pretty dynamic and varied. There's brush strokes of early industrial (just like that description said, see?) such as SPK and Throbbing Gristle on the harsher parts, a fat-ass bassline on the first song 'Língua Negra' ("black tongue" - that doesn't sound relaxing, does it?), brightly shoegazy Jesu-ish atmospheres at odds with the jarring noises that go on at the same time, some chanting buried among the beats on 'Foz' as the only non-totally instrumental segment, and a genuinely unsettling mood that rears its head on the last song 'Garça'. The mazey sound structures recall jazz above all genres, cut-up, electronically processed, 22nd century jazz, but jazz nonetheless. As much as I liked 'Decompor', I'm glad I waited a while. It's so much easier to recommend Sobre A Máquina with a huge upgrade like 'Areia'. They're both available for free, so there's no excuse to not check these guys out. While you're at it, check out the rest of sinewave too, and report back to me with your best findings. Get on with it.

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