The Wire

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Global Ear: Brasilia

January 2019

Writer and musician Phil Jones compiles a playlist to accompany his recent report on the Brazilian capital

Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, has a small but energetic noise and experimental music scene, ranging from conceptual outfits like the Brasilia Laptop Orchestra, to devotional and political noise activists, to dark electro-pop musicians. Despite the range of styles, the small community is cohesive and often mutually supportive, collaborating on projects and shows. This playlist aims to give a snapshot of what is currently happening and the diversity of ideas and sounds among these musicians.

BSBLOrk “Holofractal Impromptu #22 At Galeria Alfinete, 2015” (extract)
The Brasilia Laptop Orchestra aka BSBLOrk was founded by Eufrasio Prates in August 2012, and is based in Eufrasio's Holofractal HTMI system, a set of camera controlled Max/MSP patches that allow the performers to play with hand gestures. But it has become a free-floating group of musicians who will bring other instruments, software and objects to the mix. In this performance, the orchestra was invited to the Alfinete Gallery to interact and improvise with a sound installation by the artist João Angelini consisting of a number of cathode ray tube televisions showing periodic, semi-rhythmic bursts of static. The lineup here consists of Eufrasio Prates, Eduardo Kolody, Ramiro Galas, Phil Jones and Elias Filho on electric violin and effects.

Biophillick “New Babies”
Biophillick is a Mexican musician and multimedia artist who has recently moved from Mexico City to Brasilia. Despite being in the city for just over a year, he has quickly integrated himself into the underground music scene through performances, exhibitions and collaborations. “New Babies”, from the EP Mono Solar, is a mix of desert shamanism, astral travel and voices from the ether.

Audiopoema “Ambient Guitar Session”
Ramiro Galas plays with BSBLOrk, Cigarras and is one half of Forró RED Light mixing Brazil's popular North Eastern folk-dance music with electronic beats. Audiopoema is his more ambient influenced side project.

Phillip Häxan “Hunting Witches (Demo)”
Phillip Häxan produces murky darkwave pop, a clash of digital cinematic orchestration slathered in lo-fi gloom and with Häxan's own disturbingly wobbly and processed vocals. Here is a sneak preview demo from an upcoming EP.

Malena Stefano “Ramadan”
Stefano's music is about asceticism and discipline. She makes electronic loops for spiritual exercise tapes inspired by St Ignatius of Loyola. Live, she improvises her own vocal chants and prayers over the music. But the EP that this track is taken from is purely instrumental: a toolkit for the listener to add their own mantras and creeds.

euFräktus “Marceline 1” (extract)
Under the euFräktus moniker, Eufrasio Prates mixes the software experimentalism of the Brasilia Laptop Orchestra with his other life as a metal guitarist to explore new territories in avant metal. Artificial intelligence algorithms are creeping into all areas of life in recent years, and Brasilia's music scene is no exception. Here euFräktus enters into an improvised duet with Google's Magenta/Tensorflow machine learning software.

SCLrN “Final dos Anos 70”
Formed in 2007 as an open ended multimedia performance unit, SCLrN are pioneers of Brasilia's current underground scene. They have now condensed to a core of three or four musicians, inspired by jazz, electro, post-punk and darkwave. This track is from their KKKK album.

Cigarras “Late Q Passa (Live at FUGA)”
An extract from the live performance described in the Global Ear article in The Wire 419, this is Cigarras in full strength, with vocals by Yná Kabe and Mayra Revolutionaif, electronics and beats from Vinhal and Ramiro Galas, and sax and trumpet played by Sombrio and Ayla Gresta.

MC Bicho Bicha “Santo-Antônio Trilobita”
Half drag queen, half forest spirit, self-styled "queer animal" MC Bicho Bicha's insurgent symbolism and poetry describes a carnival of animal-objects rebelling against human taxonomic hegemony.

River Of Electrons “Box” (extract)
River Of Electrons plays with diverse musical texture from different sources. "Box" is cut from long improvisations made with the lo-fi Arduino-based Groovesizer synth. In this quiet extracted section, we hear primarily a Pocket-CHIP running Sunvox software and another Arduino running Waveflavours synth software fed through guitar overdrive and other effects.

k[A]l3utun ov[E]rdriv3 “r[E]gr[E]ss0r [E]tÉr1l [A]nt1b[A]n”
“From every inch of this land. Two! Three! A thousand poltergeists at war!” That's the promise of cyberpunk storyteller k[A]l3utun ov[E]rdriv3's apocalyptic vision of an anarcho-supernatural uprising against occupying imperialist forces, set against a disintegrating wash of glitch and punctuated by overdriven bass drops. In life or in death, your souls will never be at peace.

Victor Hugo “Dente 2”
Victor Hugo is another member of the Brasilia Laptop Orchestra. In his solo work he draws on rituals from the Candomblé religion that he follows. Here traditional drumming and chants in homage to the spirit Orixa Exu are distorted and modulated by software effects, overloading them with new emphases and meaning.

Karla Testa “The Collapse Of Empires”
Karla Testa's haunting, house-y electro-pop anthem is a regular at shows and festivals, with its rousing, defiant celebration of freedom and love. It's a suitable and hopeful ending to our voyage through the Brasilia underground.

Phil Jones's full Global Ear article can be found in The Wire 419. Subscribers can access the feature via the online archive.


AMAZING !!!!! Congrats Phil Jones and everyone !!!! Pure LOVE !!!

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