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Samuel Cadima - Cascata CD (album) cover


Samuel Cadima

Progressive Electronic

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars An emerging young artist from Portugal, Samuel Cadima has immersed himself in an enviably wide and varied collection of psychedelic, Krautrock, progressive-electronic/Berlin School, ambient and experimental music over the years, and his own work on his 2017 debut `Cascada' reflects a devouring of all those sounds and styles! Sam offers lengthy instrumental compositions frequently in the manner of Manuel Göttsching/Ashra, Agitation Free and the Berlin School vintage masters, all peppered with unpredictable direction changes and an eclectic diversity, as well as an emerging voice all his own.

The near-twenty three minute multi-sectioned title-track suite `Cascata' is a confident way to start the set, but Samuel already displays great understanding and appreciation of many of the above mentioned styles that weave in and out of this lengthy piece. It opens with hypnotic Berlin School spacey sounds of bubbling ambience, panning drones, gurgling electronics, intangible effects and cavernous voices that suggest the man has been soaking up the recent Cosmic Ground works and Klaus Schulze's `Blackdance', before continuing into darker mystery with spectral Mellotron choirs that turn oddly uplifting and comforting. Breathless machine clanging and bouncing sequencer pattering hold the whipping snap of classic period Tangerine Dream, crystalline guitar trills weep and siren-like wails cry from the dark, and ultimately deep-drone chasms of stark Steve Roach-like ambient serenity and gentle placid acoustic meanderings close this journey.

The raga-rock eastern acoustic guitar flavours and sitar-like groans of `Caiado' call to mind everything from Magic Carpet, Italian collective Aktuala and even modern groups like Saddar Bazaar once it diverts into dusty bluesy bursts. It heads into Agitation Free territory as it starts introducing whirring electronics, and some deep space vacuum-like ripples wouldn't sound out of place on an Řresund Space Collective LP. Manuel Göttsching-like guitar chimes loop, echo and ring into infinity around Jean-Michel Jarre-esque soothing prog-electronic drifts in `Voo Noturno', but the piece quickly lunges into hallucinogenic distortion collages and dirtier psychedelic guitar soloing before culminating in a eerily reflective and softly melancholic piano solo. The album then wraps on `Meia-Luz's crudely pulsing electronics over faraway shimmering electric guitar wisps and Ashra-like mellow soloing that even brings the most fleeting reminders of Pink Floyd.

Despite a few little expected rough edges here and there, `Cascada' holds a good balance of influences and emerging personal artistic flair, and Samuel's pieces show an understanding of unhurried space, supreme atmosphere and colourful variety well beyond his young years. This is a superb vinyl length debut that Samuel should be immensely proud of, and it will be exciting to discover what (multiple!) directions he moves in from here.

Four stars - and bonus points for David Guldbrandsen's vivid cover art.

Report this review (#1801958)
Posted Monday, October 9, 2017 | Review Permalink
Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars What the hell, such a great electronic album by such a great electronic creator is just around me. This is one of the most fantastic discoveries this year for me. Samuel CADIMA is a promising electronic musician / multi-instrumentalist, and at the same time our prog mate in Progarchives. Cannot help getting happy such a electronic fantasy was released, inspired by lots of progressive electronic vanguards respecting Berlin School.

Actually his soundscape is just like his gentle character and terrific, powerful efforts for digging, grabbing the mind of the audience out. Slow, smooth but hard-edged development of melodic polarity. As if we would get intoxicated with expensive bottles of wine filled with long, comfortable aftertaste, we can get completely immersed in his inner space. Not weird nor queer but gorgeous and attractive melodic repetitions of his creation remind me of an Italian delightful electronic obscurity 'Midnight In Space' by Hydrus.

My favourite track (and maybe one of his longest masterpieces) has electronic variation ... dark, bubble-bobbled, clear and catchy (leaning towards Yellow Magic Orchestra or so), dissected (but pretty matured), or crazy disappearing (like the last chord of 'A Day In The Life') ... even only this track should be purchased, and should make us look forward to his next creation. Yeah hell what!

Report this review (#1849111)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2017 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
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.

Report this review (#1911243)
Posted Sunday, April 1, 2018 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars It's funny how we can be superficially familiar with someone for years and have nary a clue as to who they really are and what they are actually capable of as an artist. Case in point, as a member of ProgArchives on the PSIKE evaluation team, i have been working with a colleague under the pseudonym of Meltdowner for a few years now where we carefully evaluate new band prospects for psychedelic rock, Indo-raga, Krautrock and progressive electronic for inclusion on the PA database. Little did i know that Portugal based Meltdowner who is really SAMUEL CADIMA was quite the crafty musician in his own right with a developed appreciation for not only progressive rock in general but a particular fondness for the spacier side of things.

So in 2017 he announced that he was releasing his debut album CASCATA when he introduced it to us on the PSIKE team and of course it was an instant YES for inclusion due to its no brainer progressive electronic influences from the greats of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching and Jean-Michel Jarre. The album emerged when it did due to personal tragedy of losing his mother and the ultimate escape from the prolonged experience was to record this debut album which takes a few cues from the classic Berlin School world of Germany's progressive electronic scene from the 70s and includes the more sophisticated auras of the French scene. The result is a mature sounding orchestra of analog synths, effects and equalization that didn't even require a post-production.

CASCATA (Portuguese for "Waterfall") is a retro album through and through bringing the lush soundscapes of the 70s into full retro revival with the suave sophistication of Tangerine Dream's arty drifting from one soundscape to the next along with catchy hooky melodies that reverberate into psychedelic hypnosis. The album consists of four tracks but the lengthy opening title track swallows up more than half of the running time as it jets near the 23 minute mark but in reality zigzags at a snail's pace through many different stylistic changes in its long journey. The introductory oscillating synthesizers that provide a rather Tangerine Dream retro backbone for the bubbling rhythmic drive churns on for several minutes with layers of contrapuntal synthesized ambience building up the tension with eerie melodies echoing from the clouds. I love how the changes are gradual and overlapping and introduce new ideas before old ones fade out of the picture. A stellar track that doesn't wear out its welcome despite the lengthy run time. Nice acoustic guitar outro.

The following three tracks are much shorter although they range from over four to eight and a half minutes. "Calado" takes the album past the blatant Berlin School influences and adds an interesting mix of acoustic guitar strumming with an Agitation Free ethnic vibe that includes Middle Eastern drumming with the ambient electronica glazing the sonicscape on the back burner. Well at least until the middle section when the acoustic guitar stops and the electronica gets all crazy on you. It turns into a wild ride like something off "Dark Side Of The Moon" with turbulence fluttering around like a quantum soundtrack for the album cover! It also reminds me a bit of Achim Reichel's wildest Krautrock moments and then a reprise of the acoustic guitar along with some distant joyous vocals from the distance. Great melodies and nice mix with the electronica. "Voo Noturno" continues the echoey space effects in a more homogenized way as the track sticks to the playbook of a steady stream of cosmic fluttering until half way through it transmogrifies into a dueling off-kilter guitar lick and a hyperactive electronic jitteriness and then changes again into a piano and theremin. Bitchin' cool!

The grand finale "Mela-Luz" is the shortest just over four minutes but packs the most punch. A choppy series of synth stabs sounds as it's almost going to break out an 80s new wave hit but in reality is much like Agitation Free's first album and instead finds spacey synthesized atmospherics playing peek-a-boo but finally find enough confidence to come out and play. And then a guitar joins in. It's a very interesting mixture of melodic repetitive synths on speed and a nonchalant guitar slowly strumming along. Overall, this is an impressive debut that never allows the listening experience to become tiresome. While the influences may be blatant, the mixture of how they are stitched together is quite compelling. While i prefer the following album to this debut, there's no denying that this is an excellent slice of atmospheric admirability.

Report this review (#2168912)
Posted Tuesday, March 26, 2019 | Review Permalink
2 stars Eclectic/Electronic Prog.

Samuel Cadima´s Cascata (2017), touches on different stylings music composition wise. Its first track which gives name to this release is a showcase of influences and proposals. From early electronics like patterns, TD´s like pulses and atmospheres, an electronic/acoustic pastorale section, another TD like pulse passage & an acoustic guitar closure, in that order to be exact. Although an irregular ride it has some enticing moments and as mentioned a shape of things to come.

Caiado, the second track is divided in 3 sections in its opening it displays a bit more of Cadima´s skills on the acoustic guitar and a kind of a not so secret reference to Symphonic Prog´s flavors followed by some experimental electronics which sound kind of naive, as in the first track, and closes with a coda of the acoustic guitar riff.

Voo Noturno track three, embodies in its first section ,of a track of three, some nice original and foreign ideas put up together at once and when it does not remind me exactly of their names the electronic composition works out fine . The following part is promising due to the electric guitar debut but stays short by those annoying by now electronic noises which are neither original nor interesting. The track closes with a short, old sounding piano and human whistle, tune which is not exactly an original idea but better than the previous noises.

The last track Meia-Luz suffers the same fate of most of this release´s better proposals, it is self sabotaged by the same glitch/pulse noises which still keep on sounding and still keep on sounding poorly creative and repetitive and really self indulgent to say the least.

What could have been great is self limited or spoiled by the not yet consolidated style of a young & promising artist, very skilled in playing guitar, but clearly still on the making as far s music composition goes.

**2 PA stars.

Report this review (#2186195)
Posted Wednesday, April 24, 2019 | Review Permalink

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