Artist : Andre de Castro & Leandro De Los Santos
Title : Quinta do Lobo
Label : Kowa Records
Release date : June 2016
Link : https://kowarecords.bandcamp.com/album/quinta-do-lobo
Reviewer: Wayne Rex
Everyone has a certain style, some of the greatest musicians in the world are known for playing with power or finesse , imagination or solidity etc.. the list goes on and is individual to the individual. Then there’s some who can play all styles combined, each style as strong and passionate as the next. They can control and use this skill, to the highest plateau of musicianship and can never and will never be pigeon holed. These few musicians are the masters, the Samurais of music, they are rare and all powerful but all too often looked unsung to a more commercial or easier to access musician. Here we have following, a review of an album by a Samurai master saxophonist and his equally talented and skillful noise and atmospheric conjuring cohort.
Quinta do lobo is an 11 track album, released on Brazilian Label, Kowa Records, by Andre de Castro and Leandro De Los Santos. This isn’t just an album of music, it’s a recording of sounds and ambience that goes beyond music and takes the form of a spiritual entity. You don’t just listen and feel this album, you become it or should I say it takes over your mind, body and soul and you are one with it’s sounds and vibrations. Yeah, I know that all sounds a bit like hippy twaddle and no, I have not been smoking anything stronger than strawberry flavoured vape, but please, take my word for it and listen to the record and you will understand what I am talking about.
The opening track is Capitolina, A Loba, Atende ao Chamado and being an Englishman I am oblivious to other languages other than my own so have not the foggiest idea what it means in Portuguese. Yeah, I could use Google translate but my point is that sometimes you don’t need to know what a title or words mean in your own language. It only goes to detract from how you hear and translate the music you’re listening to and feeling by understanding a title, you’re instantly detached from how you’d interpret it. Anyway, I digress, back to the review. This track is haunting and eerie and encapsulating with fear and hope that we all have inside. The two musicians are playing together and off of each other like their life depended on it. It’s masterfully composed / improvised and for an opening track sets the mood and feel for the ten more tracks to come.
Next up we have a silky smooth, dark, sci-fi feeling number called Ode… Saturno. There is a most gloriously minimal but atmospheric cello being played throughout, like a creeping shadow, following you through you most fearful nightmare but never going to destroy you as the fun is in the chase. This has wonderful classical music qualities to it. It’s hard to define and describe atmosphere but this is a musical dark cloud, a musical in trepidation, a musical piece that surrounds you, whether you like it or not.
O Rapto das Sabina is up next. This has some mind blowing free sax playing and piano/organ combo that together is like a squabbling family on holiday, travelling in the car and arguing but deep down so comfortable in each others company that it’s just another for of expressing love in the human form. That’s how I heard this track anyway.
Apuleio e o Asno de Ouro is track four. The playing here is some of the best that has been recorded or at least the best I have heard and being a recluse and spending free time surrounded by music listing and playing I have heard more recordings than you can shake a stick at. There’s many different instrument being played here but all mixed together perfectly and all played with class and precision. It’s a recording that is like birds and animals communicating in the jungle. It’s a track that takes you away from the greyness of life and you’re escaped to a simpler and better animalistic world for a few minutes.
Next up we have the title track. Quinta do Lobo is just mind blowing. It has an 80’s sci-fi feel to it and a guerrilla undercover warfare vibe too. Take a rogue soldier who has gone awol because the war has ended and is now on his own mission to fight for what he believes in and stands for and is high on herbal hallucinogenic that to him are like a force field of protection to the enemy. The outside world.
Privincia de Vagharshapat, Atual Armenia (what a title, eh?!) has a Buddhist feel to it. Opium ingested meditation, musical levitation, peace on earth.
O Estandarte e as Legioes do invisivel is the following track and a gloriously strange track it is too. It’s like when ghost hunters try and record the spirits in a room and these spirits are musicians in Asia and are being accompanied by living musicians. It’s surreal and beautiful in equal measure. What a track!!!
Na caverna da Lupercalia is a crazy free track, with a sax that isn’t being played it’s being possessed and playing like nothing you have heard before. It’s so emotional you really feel like you need five minutes to yourself after listening just to contemplate what you have just heard and experienced.
Dura Lex Sed Lex is track number nine. It’s minimal soundscapes of percussion and noises to make a track that is like Autumn to a tree. The leaves turning brown and falling and colours changing all around. Settling into the future winter and looking forward to spring.
The penultimate track is Foricatrices Nocturnae and kicks straight in like a mischievous, hyperactive child, wreaking havoc to their surroundings or a cat, high on catnip, chasing it’s tail and darting up the stairs, or a human screaming into the void like medicine for the state of their mind. Musically it’s superb, with blistering free improv sax and some utterly stunning jazz guitar techniques. Speed and 8.4% cider in the form of music.
A Preparacao da vestal is last but by no means least. A creepy subterranean musical narrative, like a predator spying and waiting for their unfortunate pray or is it just all in your imagination? Like every track on this album, it’s played by both musicians to a degree or musicianship like no other. Also, I should note that the production value on all eleven tracks are of the highest quality and engineered / mixed to perfection so a complimentary mention of the highest praise should go out to the producer too.
This album is hard to define but easy to sum up. It’s a rare beast. It’s like you have not heard before and played by people who should be world famous musicians and revered the world over. It’s highly listenable and accessible to most ears. I’ll shut up now and let you listen for yourself.