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Samuel Cadima - Cascata CD (album) cover

CASCATA

Samuel Cadima

 

Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 3 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars Having been on a big hunger for electronica--both past and present--it is quite appropriate and fortunate for this album to land in my lap. My first impressions are ones of joy: joy for the fact that another young modern artist is interested in picking up where the masters of the 1970s like Edgar Froese, Klaus Schulze, and Manuel Göttsching left off; joy for the fact that this artist wants to use guitars, bass and drums in his creations (over and above the usual use of keyboards/synthesizers); joy that the artist sees the blending of various sections into one cohesive whole as a desirable creative expression; and joy that this artist is quite serious in his study and respect of the techniques and songs that came before him (which allows him inspiration and courage for his own creations).

1. "Cascata" (22:41) opens with bubbling and popping as if we're at Yellowstone's "Mud Pots." In the second minute a slow pulsing electronic buzz begins to repeat about every eight seconds. Then a faster-paced arpeggio joins in from a squishy keyboard. Next a couple or three more keyboard tracks enter weaving together while a spacey warbling high-pitched synth takes the lead in a meandering solo. At the end of the fifth minute a human voice keens a couple of times from the background. The established weave fades out at the end of the sixth minute with bubbling sounds bridging our way into a new soundtrack?this one sounding much more traditional Berlin School with old synth sounds filling the fore- and background and wings. Three tracks begin but are then joined by some more palette-filling synths in the ninth minute. All the while a "harpsichord" like instrument has been playing a nonstop sequence of arpeggi since the bubbles faded away. Mellotron voices and Mike Oldfield-like guitar scream out from the background. Very pretty soundscape. At the end of the twelfth minute a more "soft-mallet" synthesizer sequence takes over providing the foundational driving force as more electro-pops and older familiar synth Berlin School electronic sounds fill in the tracks making the complete weave around it. Nice section with some interesting Kraftwerk-like industrial sounds as well. Then, at 17:00, a burbling synth saw cuts through all other sound and shuts the previous section down. Deep electronic bass pulses alternate with saw-like synth "trails" before a sustained though occasionally shifting high pitch eerie synth note steers the aliens on. The jet propulsion drive is the only other sound to let us know that there is life, that there is movement here, otherwise the ghostly single synth note makes us think that we're awfully alone. At 20:30 a slowly picked acoustic guitar begins leading us through some grounding arpeggi while the alien solo ship continues to fly above. Cool song that takes us on a widely imaginative journey?one that, I feel, will take many listens before a defined path is imprinted. I like the "tour through time" the different sections offer us. (8.5/10)

2. "Calado" (7:21) opens with heavily treated electrified acoustic guitars strumming away before Fripp-like sustained guitar notes join in. Hand percussion is next to join in as the twin Fripp tracks continue to pronounce the melodic theme over the strumming guitars. A second more crazed synth begins to join in in the third minute. It gets pretty psych-crazy in the fifth minute when the music shifts radically into Willy Wonka "Tunnel of Terror" realm. A few droning notes are all that keep us grounded for the two minutes of this ride until the guitar-strumming returns for the final minute. (9.5/10)

3. "Voo Noturno" (8:30) opens with a guitar picked "sequence" "loop" over which synth squeals, squirts, and burbles are interspersed. In the second minute, the presence of a heavily distorted bass "line" tries to make itself known while more synth lines, these more melodic, show themselves over the top, working their way into the weave. I am truly impressed with Samuel's use of acoustic guitar picking arpeggi to lay down the "sequences" in place of computer-generated ones! At 4:30 there is a HUGE shift as the music established fades and disappears while an "electron wind" bridges us to a section in which a screaming Edgar Froese-like guitar (think "Coldwater Canyon") solos over computer generated clicks, pops, and voice samples. This continues to 7:10 when the guitar fades out. At 7:30 a cheesy horror movie warbling synth enters over a saccharine electric piano solo. Weird ending. (9/10)

4. "Meia-Luz" (4:19) opening with pulsing computer-edited midi-ed sound slowly shifting chords over the first minute. In the second minute a distant, lonely, space "slide whistle" enters providing some melodic structure. In the third minute a meandering JOHN MARTYN-like acoustic guitar track is added to the mix. Very interesting but nothing truly engaging or memorable to bring me back to this one. (7.5/10)

My one suggestion for Samuel, should he wish to continue emulating the Berlin School and electronica masters that have come before him, is to not be afraid to stick with one set of sounds over the long lengths of song?or to more slowly blend less radically different themes or instrumental palettes. For example, the first guitar-based section of Voo Noturno could very easily have been extended to provide the background/base for an entire song of 8-15 minutes; the two radical shifts that occur in the middle and near the end were not necessary. And Meia-Luz would have been improved (i.e. become more engaging), in my opinion if the minimal weave had been thickened and smoothed by two or three more tracks.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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