What does Pássaro sound like?
Warm Brazilian electronica mixed with acoustic guitars and folk instrumentation.
The review of Pássaro – Antes de Existir o Mundo
Following on from Pássaro’s superb debut album Pássaro Encantado, the Brazilian trio continues their exploration into Brazilian electronica. ‘Antes de Existir o Mundo’ is an exploration of how jungle rhythms and sounds can merge into electronica and transform it into something psychedelic. Put simply, there are few artists out there doing quite what Pássaro does. Their new album is one that I found rich in depth and ideas and each listen is a new discovery.
The title track opens the album like a walkabout of ideas. The plodding beats are overscored with thumb pianos (kalimba) and various guitars. Dissonant mumbling vocals flow disconnected from the plain like a call to the listener whilst woodwind caresses the ears with a warm embrace. Nothing sounds straightforward and the hyper-recorded percussion against a smudged backdrop of melodies makes the album feel hyper-real too. This idea continues into ‘Mata Virgem’ where the guitars, kalimba and shakers are all crystal clear but the animal calls and vocals are distant.
What separates out Pássaro from other South American electronica acts for me is their melting pot of sounds where it’s difficult to tell if they are organic or not. Tracks like ‘Bem-te-vi’ are almost entirely percussion led and yet different kick drums are warped or underscored with another instrument to create something unusual. Whilst the listener can groove away to their mid-tempo rhythms that sway like a heavy pendulum, your mind is wondering what on earth is generating the sound. It’s that lean into the psychedelic that is omnipresent and it creates Pássaro’s signature sound. Even when guest vocalists join in for the beautiful ‘O queue o Pássaro Cantou’, the guitars shapeshift and the flutes shimmer. This track is probably the best starter track to get into the album as it has clear riffs and melodies. Other track to do but this conforms to an easier-to-digest song structure. ‘Canoa Intergalactica’ is instead led by waves of synths and flutes that call and respond to each other. Glassy trickles of keyboards spin around your ears and water splashes are used as rhythmic patterns. It’s a lovely mixture of organic and computerised.
The album then concludes with two remixes. El Buho remixes the title track into a reggae track. The artist merges the vocal sections with saxophone elements and a laid back beat to create a totally new vibe. It’s fun and off-kilter. Psilosamples remixes ‘O queue Pássaro Cantou’ into an ethereal dream. Placing the tuned percussion front and centre with the vocals and turning the beats into handclaps and clicks, the piece shines in its serenity.
Whilst only clocking at 33 minutes, Pássaro once again shows a deft hand at creating South American electronica with a psychedelic edge. Each time I listen I discover new layers to tune into and it is an album that gives back every time you listen. Usually having songs that largely stick to the same tempo would be a criticism but here it really works. The constant beat zones you out and allows you to flip instrument frequencies and just enjoy the ride. If you enjoy South American electronica, this is a ride you’ll want to get on board with.
Recommended track: O queue o Pássaro Cantou
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