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Quarteto 1111 - Onde, Quando, Como, Porquê, Cantamos Pessoas Vivas CD (album) cover


Quarteto 1111


Eclectic Prog

4.42 | 58 ratings

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4 stars Listen up RPI fetishists!

This album might feature the beautiful Portuguese language, but it shares a lot of similarities with the symphonic Italian scene. From the classical piano playing, that emulates the same sort of feel you get from Banco - the dramatic and slightly operatic touch that sounds so bittersweet, - to the lush and creamy surroundings here, this album just might be the equivalent of pouring maple syrup into your ears.

I personally know of Jose Cid from a record he did called 10.000 anos, which in all fairness is pretty close in sound to this album, if it wasn´t for one thing: It´s from 78 and it occasionally shows signs of disco and funk, - and especially the last number the mini-epic Vida is momentarily marred by this tendency. Onde, Quando... however, has that 70s sound, that I absolutely adore - those natural timbres of the instruments and a love for analog equipment, which emanate a warm, vibrant and sensual aura.

I hear no jarring bits - no scenes where the instruments assault each other and propel the song into some freaky semi jazz cacophony, like many other artists did at the time - especially when they were doing long pieces. Yes, King Crimson, Genesis all did this to some extent (some more successfully than others) and hell even Floyd went a little mad on Atom Heart Mother, much credited to Ron Geesin. Here however, there are no distracting and discordant aspirations. It´s pretty much all smooth and silky like flying a condor covered in vaseline, apart from a few rocking climaxes, where a seldomly heard electric guitar sweeps across the symphonics like a wild firestorm. These moments really feel like a healthy dosage of salt and pepper to the dish - transforming what could have been mildly interesting - to a masterly spiced serving from the Portuguese riviera.

The album is comprised of 2 long tracks, that share a red thread musically, but as I found out also lyrically. The album evolves around the newly formed freedom - emerging from the rubble of the 1974 revolution in Portugal. Now I can´t tell what Jose Cid is singing, but I can feel him right down in my toes no matter the lingo. He has a very original voice that flows from this raw and big booming lumberjack voice - to fragile and tender phrasings that at times invoke the balladry side of Italian singer Lucio Battisti.

His biggest treat is however the way he plays those synths, and to tell you how they make me feel, and how I think they sound like - fills my head with all kinds of weird images, but none really depicting anything resembling a guy playing keys... Sounds to me like cold margarine hitting a hot frying pan - oozing, melting, covering everything in some sticky coatings. - Or maybe they sound a little bit like hot glue running down surfaces(Don´t ask). Flowing underneath and over this delicious liquid margarine - and pretty much all over the place, are the mellotrons, which sound like gospel choirs consisting only of seabirds. This record should be paradise to the mellotron lovers out there!

To me it feels like the drums together with the bass guitar sums up perfectly the enormous differences between 10.000 anos and this album. Gone is the late 70s production - and everything is much more vivid and natural. The rhythm section here is basically the rock quotient of the band. They cook up an uncanny rock n´ roll element to the music, and are essentially the driving forces of a record, that otherwise would have sounded completely different, and perhaps all too ethereal and pastoral. It´s simple and tight, and covered in a very dry sound to boot - adding a somewhat wooden texture to both the bass and drums. They feel natural and very much in tune with what the album is all about soundwise: Large sonic sculptures that open up like seedlings to the sun - which on this particular release is substituted with the synthesizer, but believe you me, when I tell you that there´s infinite warmth to be found in Quarteto 1111´s third and final album. This album is very much about mixing things up - creating a balance between the high soaring pompous orchestrations to the earthy acoustic guitars that dominate both pieces. Just like the rhythm section, they too work as the earthy and rocking part of the sound - balancing things out nicely.

This is one of those records that immediately feel welcoming and strong, -well at least to me that is. I found it instantly wonderful - and my appreciation has only been rekindled by subsequent listenings. It´s not a grower but a "confirmer" so to speak...

So welcome to this floating and swirling universe, that sounds like it´s wearing wings, and in fact is airborne - basking overhead on gentle mellotron winds. If you´re into the symphonic genre or RPI, then do yourself a favor and listen to this gem - it is a truly wonderful record!

One of its greatest achievements is that, what just as well could have ended up as an oversweetened, buttery and all too creamy affair, - in stead sounds like the cream has been tapped freshly right from the sacred cow´s teat. Uhhhmm fresh and warm...

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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