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Black Bombaim - Black Bombaim with Jonathan Saldanha, Luís Fernandes & Pedro Augusto CD (album) cover


Black Bombaim


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.00 | 1 ratings

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4 stars Black Bomaim is the name of a group from Portugal that was formed in 2007. The band is made up of 3 individuals that have remained together since their formation. The musicians are Ricardo Miranda on guitar, Tojo Rodrigues on bass and Paulo Goncalves on drums. This is a simple core group that has been labeled as a psychedelic / space rock group, but in reality, they have experimented in many different genres and worked with several different musicians and producers on their albums in order to really expand their sound. They have released 7 full length studio albums since 2010.

On their latest effort, which is titled "Zone of Resident Bodies", there are 3 names included in on the album cover of this album: Jonathan Saldonha, Luis Fernandes and Pedro Augusto. These are 3 different electronic composers, and each one of these three are featured on 2 tracks each, one long track and one shorter track. The tracks are also recorded in 3 different facilities: with Saldonha, the tracks were produced in an old workers auditorium, with Fernandes in a large empty space inside of a post office building; with Augusto, the tracks were produced in a reverberation room built in a university of engineering. This obviously gives distinct sounds and timbre to each of the tracks.

The first track is the title track "Zone of Resident Bodies" which is done with Saldonha. This is a behemoth of a track that lasts over 23 minutes. The track is quite minimal with heavy, pounding drums and the bass mostly following the drums in slow patterns. A drone slowly develops under this minimal start / stop pounding pattern. The drums continue on 2 beats at a time (usually) as the drone varies in loudness, sometimes changing tone. There are occasional echoing notes from the guitar. After a while, the pounding pattern stops, but the low notes of the bass continue alone, then the instruments start to divide into their own respective parts after 8 minutes, yet the music remains quite minimal and the tempo plods along slowly. After 12 minutes, there is a sudden change in the percussion as effects are added, the rhythm levels out to a more persistent beat and reverb is mostly cut off. Then in a few minutes, the effects disappear as it returns to the original sound. You notice little variances in the slow notes that come from the bass and guitar as the reverb is played around with. Its amazing the little differences you notice in such a minimal track, and this all surprisingly goes by faster than you would expect. At the 18 minute mark, the track goes very minimal with droning noises ebbing and flowing, then a sudden onslaught of drums and percussion which seems to wake everything up as the guitar, for the first time, tries to pick up a psychedelic melody and this continues to the end.

"Three Axes" comes next with the long track featuring Augusto. This track is 14 minutes long and starts up with electronically enhanced and produced percussion that this time around moves forward quite fast in a repeating pattern that carries on through the entire track except for a slight variation towards the end of the track. Slow bass notes play and soon a drone-like guitar chimes in. The improvised guitar furnishes nice effects, plays sustained, drone-like notes and throws in short notes and strumming randomly while the percussion pattern continues to pitty-pat along. Reverb creates the psychedelic atmosphere and definitely feels quite trance-like. Bent tones in the sustained notes also keep things interesting.

The next longer track is the 11 + minute collaboration with Fernandes called "Refraction". This track offers another side of psychedelia generated off of guitar feedback and manipulation, which flows into a main drone as other layers of noise are added in. Around 4 minutes, the drone continues as the feedback drops off. Listening closely, you can hear various tones try to escape from the swirling drone. Tones continue to separate from the layers and a subdued thumping noise becomes apparent. The intensity lessens around 10 minutes in as a repeating percussive pattern tries to break up everything.

Following this are the 3 shorter tracks. The order of the guests go in reverse order from before with Fernandes contributing first to "20180224". A driving beat immediately comes out with loud screeching guitars creating a stoner style sound. Later, the beat gets subdued as the guitar continues to lay out tones and textures and then everything builds back up again. Even though these are the shorter tracks, the 2nd collaboration with Augusto, titled "20171216" is still almost 10 minutes. A nice heavy bass line is established, tinkling cymbals and pounding drums come in to establish the moderate rhythm, followed by whining and groaning guitars. The final track is the last collaboration with Saldonha titled "20180415". An interesting and quick electronic beat is established and looped under crying guitar layers and a fast, but repeating bass line and pounding drums. This is very Krautrock sounding. Chopped up electronic tones join later with drones and chiming chords play over the top of it all. This all gets messed up into your head and leads you out of the album feeling a bit shaken, but also feeling like you have experienced something quite out of this world.

All of the tracks are quite psychedelic, spacey and exploratory, but each one is so very different and they don't only just that you on a trip of the different styles of psych rock, but bring you into head trips that you have never been on. The most surprising of these tracks is the extremely long first title track, with its slow moving, yet appealing sound. But each track is distinct and takes you to another place. The music is exploratory, no doubt, and some might find it to repetitive in places, but those that understand psychedelic and space rock will get it, and they will also be excited with the amount of exploration and innovation involved with the wild soundscapes here. No doubt that you have to be in the right mood for this, but the innovation apparent in these collaborations make this album fresh and exciting. For the genre of music represented here and the expanding of the sound, this is a great album that deserves no less than 4 stars, and with time, might prove to be essential to the sub-genre.

TCat | 4/5 |


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