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Satanique Samba Trio


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siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars It's hard to believe that the Brazilian SATANIQUE SAMBA TRIO has been around since 2002 and still has the same five members which includes Munha da 7 (electric bass and regency), Gustavo "Don Chavez" Elias (acoustic guitar), Jota Dale (cavaco), Lucas "Sombrio" Muniz (bass clarinet) and Lupa Marques (drums). An unusual feat for a band so weird and outside of the box in their unique approach of mixing it up with rock, forró, samba-jazz, bossa nova, lambada and avant-prog and throwing into a blender and then throwing in a couple ounces of plutonium found at an abandoned reactor somewhere in Rondonia.

The band has caught on at least in the inner circles of those who really crave the weirdest possible and most avant-garde styles of sounds that grace this planet. The band has embarked on some world tours even and has become the darling of avant-jazz-core and in 2019 returns with another twisted and dynamic release called MAIS BAD (Portuguese for "More Bad.") SATANIQUE SAMBA TRIO has changed a bit since it hit the scene with its debut "Misantropicalia" which copped more than a feel of Coil's "Snow EP," but on the next album the band developed one of the most unique sounds in all of the experimental prog world with dizzying hairpin rhythmic turns made all the more roller coaster-esque with incessant time signature frenzies and labyrinthine song structures.

These guys have calmed down a bit in terms of throwing the avant-garde encyclopedia in the blender but still exist in a world well outside of the confines of the established paradigm (that being the Univers Zero, Present, Art Zoyd style of RIO.) MAIS BAD is a short beast hitting a running time of only around 19 minutes but packs in 10 bizarre and strange tracks. Entirely instrumental save a few vocal grunts and weirdnesses, SST has streamlined its sound to be a bit more accessible than in the older days. Now rhythms march in an easily digested linear fashion and don't make the listener feel like they've fallen into a wormhole and ended up inside the digestive track of an organic jukebox of something.

Each track is titled "Badtriptronics" followed by a random number and is rather unique sounding for an SST album. While at first focusing on weirdness for its own sake, now the band has taken on a rather experimental soundtrack quality of playing and recording. The tracks have an interesting production that simulates a bossa nova record from the 50s but teases out the compositions to include a plethora of experimental free-for-alls over the steady rhythmic drive. The music is simultaneously delicate and harsh but mostly surreal as despite the rhythmic drive takes a sort of no wave approach and excels in dissonance, freaky counterpoints and just plain weird avant-prog angularities. The unique mix of electric bass with drums, bass clarinet, acoustic guitar and the Portuguese stringed instrument called a cavaquinho or cavaco keeps it in the world of Brazilian culture only after someone spiked the water supply with who knows what.

MAIS BAD surely won't win over any newbies who haven't already swallowed the Kool-AId from this wild and wacky quintet who sound like they have been adding a little too much sugar in their coffee but for those who enjoy a unique set of punk infused takes on samba based avant-prog then you're in for a treat. This is a band i've been into for a long time and am still amazed at how utterly unique they are for as far as i know no others have attempted this bizarre amalgamation of musical styles so successfully. Not sure what's up with the short releases since the band hasn't had an album over 30 minutes long since 2011's "Bad Trip Simulator #1" but i guess leaving you hungry for more is perhaps the best strategy. Me like! MAIS BAD make mo good!

Report this review (#2262728)
Posted Saturday, September 21, 2019 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars There are 3 problems with the RIO/Avant Prog group that calls themselves the Satanique Samba Trio. They are not satanic, they do not play samba (at least not exclusively), and they are not a trio. They are, however, odd and experimental. In their 6th album "Mais Bad", which is a bit hard to call full-length at only 19 minutes and is also a 10" vinyl, they have created an odd collection of lo-fi recordings that were all recorded by a cell phone. This album is a sequel to the 2015 10" vinyl release "Mo Bad". There are 10 total vignettes here, or as the band likes to call them, "low-fidelity bagatelles". The band is known for taking the traditional rhythm patterns of Brazil, combining them with punk and free jazz styles, and then deconstructing it all. This was then all recorded by a cheap cell phone manufactured in the early 2000's.

The band line up for this album is Munha (bass), Gustavo "Don Chavez" Elias (acoustic guitar), Jota Dale (ukulele), Locas "Sombrio" Muniz (bass clarinet), and Lupa Marques (drums). The album is made up of 10 short tracks, none of them reaching a length of 3 minutes, and collectively with a run-time of just under 19 minutes. All of the tracks are named "Badtriptronics" with seemingly random numbers following the title.

Sounds intriguing, right? Well, it caught my interest since I love listening to things that are new and different.

Well, intriguing it is, for sure. The finished product after being recorded on a cheap phone doesn't sound too bad considering the odd result from these songs. Yet there is a lot more variety to the sound of each track than what you would think. The music is bizarre and original, yet quite appealing with all of the layers of sound, music and oddness, they are all really neat. How they can take something low-fi and make it all sound so interestingly different is quite amazing. The recording process ends up being an instrument in and of itself.

What you end up with is 10 tracks that sound like what Bela Bartok might sound like if he had composed music for modern rock instruments. The traditional Latin styles are there, but they are so manipulated and tweaked that it all ends up sounding like something completely new and original, which it is. "Badtriptronics #05" takes on a mid-Eastern sound with the bass clarinet taking the lead, but retaining the timbre of the tropical drums. "Badtriptronics #30" goes for the really strange when they take a loop of someone coughing and bury it amongst their instruments and make it sound like percussion as it enhances the beat of the track, and it comes across quite humorous. #26 takes the free jazz style and mashes it together with digital sounds and keys and pair it all with a rave beat that has gone haywire. #04 is what your barnyard would sound like if your animals got a hold of some instruments. # 28 sounds like your local mall's musak system got short circuited. All off this sounds quite whacky, but in reality, it is better than these descriptions allude to, believe it or not, it's just the easiest way to describe what is going on here. Hopefully it will intrigue you enough to check it all out, and you are only out 19 minutes anyway, so if you don't get it, then it's not like you are going to hunt me down for misleading you.

I find it all quite interesting and enjoyable. There really is a lot to hear on this album that only repeated listening will help unveil. The best part is that it really doesn't come across starchy or sterile like you might think. The songs all have their own personality. But only you can decide for yourself if you like it or not. It is 100% avant prog, so if you are ready for that, then you have already prepared yourself for this.

Report this review (#2262870)
Posted Sunday, September 22, 2019 | Review Permalink

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