Music Reviews

cover
Artist: Brasil & the Gallowbrothers Band (@)
Title: In the Rain, In the Noise
Format: CD
Label: Cat Sun (@)
Rated: *****
Now this is one strange and enigmatic CD. My first listening experience with it was late at night while I was working with attention not really focused on the music, which might be the best way to experience it. Brasil & the Gallowbrothers Band seems an unlikely name for this collective of improvisational experimental musicians; more like a samba or bossa nova outfit, and there is no Brasil, and no Gallow Brothers in the group! There music seems to be the furthest thing from that moniker. The group consists of Tomek Mirt ' Guitar, Mbira & Samplers; Rafael Michalowski ' Voice, Duduk, Flute, Wavedrum, Harmonica; and T.E.R. - Yahama CS5 and Kaossilator. They're from Poland and have about four other releases under this name, some of which I checked out, but none of which I cared much for. But this- 'In the Rain, In the Noise,' is different; an absolutely astonishing CD of electro-acoustic ambient music that is sublime alchemical magic akin to In Gowan Ring's earlier, more out-there stuff.

I don't know what the group mindset was for this performance (and it was recorded live April and May 2010 at Antonin and Poznan) but it turned out to be pure genius! First track 'Do You Remember Our Holiday Camp,' is a 20 minute trip into the psychedelic woods of your mind. The gentle sounds of nature, low duduk and/or flute, mellow synth drone and mysterious melody, occasional echoed plucking of a stringed instrument; a sporadic hand drum rhythm; a barely discernable vocal all combine to form an incredibly mystical sylvan experience. It is as loose as you could possibly get but works incredibly well together.

'Voice of the City and the Rhythm of the Dunes' has a repetitive but hypnotic rhythm and melody with a spoke-sung vocal that is absolutely haunting. Exotic sitar-sounding improvisation, a ghostly synth background and other noises fill out the rest. Wow! This is really unusual and marvelous stuff! 'Another Night in Cottage 21' is just too difficult to describe; drone ambience with the plinks of echoed mbira, but that hardly does it justice. In fact, trying to describe any of the rest of it is becoming a futile task. Words are inadequate for music that is more about mood and feeling than any structural analysis or description. Let's just say that there is something about 'In the Rain, In the Noise' that is transcendental, enthralling, even mesmerizing, and I'd strongly recommend that if you're into psychedelic ambient, you get yourself a copy before it disappears. (I also quite like Tomek's cover art for the CD.)

This is a limited release of 350 (plus 30 of the 'Special Version,' whatever that is) and it might be a difficult acquisition for those in the U.S. The only place I can find it is directly from Cat Sun (Poland). There may be other sources, but I can't account for their reliability. In any case, it would be a worth quest, as I've never heard anything quite like this.



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