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Oeste A.D. Marthe Lisson , September 5th, 2022 08:11

The latest from Lisbon's Bruno Silva throws Marthe Lisson off balance

Half way through the first, nearly fourteen-minute track things get moving. Abruptly. We have been lulled-in by the sound of panpipes for nearly seven minutes; accompanied by, at first sporadic, then continuous deep, almost imperceptibly jittering synth bass. Then, all of a sudden, we are thrown into the centre of speedy drum rolls that run back and forth between our ears. Like Speedy Gonzales showing-off right in front of us, stirring up tons of dust. The sound of ‘Torres e Baldios’ is dry; no softening reverb, nothing smooth.

Despite feeling at the centre of this show-off-run, the beats roll so fast they make me lose my centre, my balance. A sense of vertigo flirting with trance states. I say ‘flirting’ because trance sounds like something pleasant; vertigo, I assure you, is not. Your brain being on a rollercoaster, somersaulting inside your skull while you are walking down a busy street. Try to keep a balance and not fall into passers-by, looking for something to hold on to.

‘Torres e Baldios’ does not offer anything to hold on to. Even the first minutes of panpipes de-centre with their deadpan downward melody on repeat. The drum rolls return on the closing track ‘Endless Domingo’. It gets seriously uncomfortable this times as they jump back and forth between your ears leaving out the space in front of you – leaving out, literally, the centre.

‘Torres e Baldios’ is followed by ‘Aqua Matrix Alternative Nation’. Aqua is just what we need after fourteen minutes of desert sound, but Ondness (aka Bruno Silva) is not giving it to us. We move from trance-like vertigo to percussive meditation and before we know it the panpipes are back on ‘Torres e Baldios II’. But it sounds different this time. The panpipes are blessed with some reverb and the drums stutter. Speedy Gonzales on crutches.

Musically, Oeste A.D. sounds coherent and unhinged at the same time. I find it cryptic, difficult to grasp. But sometimes music becomes accessible with the right kind of sensual foundation. You need to butter your ears. For me the album opened up after a relaxing mid-week evening sound bath. Some of the frequencies are not so different after all. A short-cut to Oeste A.D. I herewith recommend.