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Samuel Cadima - Cascata CD (album) cover


Samuel Cadima


Progressive Electronic

3.58 | 8 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
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.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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