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With their breathtaking fifth album Cantos Invisíveis, the multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-everything São Paulo Underground sounds more confident and intrepid than ever, with a glorious program of music evoking lost haunts, enduring love, and the sheer delirious joy of making music together.
In many ways the music on Cantos Invisíveis is a celebration of camaraderie and the spaces that allow love and friendship to unfurl. Alchemical aural conspirators for some 10 years, the group has developed its own approach to structure, with slippery forms, unabashedly beautiful melodies and lapidary textures laced with disquieting electronica beats and stutterstepping improvisation. Rather than evoke a particular time and place, the music inhabits multiple planes simultaneously as ''a projection of sound that celebrates as well as mourns past, present and future times,'' Mazurek says. ''The vocal quality of this particular music shouts and hollers for love and compassion, the joy and sorrows of life. It's a street parade for everybody.''
The experience of listening to Cantos Invisíveis often feels like stepping through the fourth wall, as if you're in the room with the guys, watching the instrumental conversations unfold in real time. The production enhances the intimacy, creating space to enter the music rather than building a protective shell. It's a communion that can only develop ''as a result of a lot of beautiful time spent together working on music and ideas and then travelling together playing throughout the world,'' Takara says. ''I think there s a certain atmosphere that only living and spending time together bring, and the record captures that beautifully.
These singular players create music unlike any other ensemble in São Paulo Underground, which expands into realms seen and unseen on Cantos Invisíveis. The title translates from Portuguese as ''invisible corners'' or ''invisible songs'' or ''disappearing corners or songs.'' This music evokes the elusive nature of these songs, ''the way we make our music, always masking it in some kind of way, a disappearing through layering and sound manipulation,'' Mazurek says. ''The songs kind of disappear in a way like a cloud of pink in the sky. We create atmospheres that cause form and melody to disappear, and to reappear'', so that savvy sound explorers can join São Paulo Underground on an unforgettable journey.
São Paulo 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
São Paulo Underground's work - all of Mazurek's work, really - draws from multiple traditions, each of them already porous and absorbent, and combines ideas from each into something utterly new, while keeping it welcoming to almost any curious listener. --The Wire
Mixing the opaque with the diffused and blurring the lines between electric and acoustic, Rob Mazurek's wide ambition continues to race toward the outer limits of what is possible in music. --Something Else