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(33:00, ‘Pig Soul’)
TRACK LIST: 1. Intro 4:21 2. Chorume Da Alma 5:06 3. Koentro 3:07 4. Rano 3:55 5. Romanza 4:02 6. L’Amour 2:24 7. Wa a Api Vini 1:17 8. Cocktail 1:28 9. Epilogo 2:17 10. Taking Waves 5:02 LINEUP: Daniel Truares – electric guitar; trombone Rafael Montorfano – synthesizer, piano Gustavo Boni – bass Luis Andre – drums
Prolusion. "Chorume Da Alma" is the debut release by the all-instrumental Brazilian quartet PIG SOUL. The disc arrived to me along with a tiny sheet, which contains no actual info, only saying that the band’s official website is under construction.
Analysis. This ten-track CD is of the same duration as most of the classic Gentle Giant outings are, and so, like any of those, I consider it a full-fledged full-length album. One may argue that, with an average track length of 3:30, there is likely not enough time to properly develop themes, but that wouldn’t be correct. Even though the concluding piece here (I’ll touch on it last of all) leaves much to be desired, the other nine are all either good or excellent, and while they’re indeed comparatively short, lots of room is given to the musicians to solo. Besides, they follow one another without pause, forming a suite-like conceptually-monolithic continuum, most of the subsequent ones sounding in no other way than as fully logical sequels of their predecessors. There are two relative exceptions to this rule, L’Amour, the sole reflective piece here, and the properly titled Romanza, where the band shows empathy for the standard romantic Jazz-Fusion, though on the other hand the tunes can be taken as a bridge between their neighboring compositions, Rano and Wa a Api Vini, both of which are of a harsher, fairly turbulent, musical nature, as also are the remaining five tracks from the suite, Intro, the title one, Koentro, Cocktail and Epilogo. The basic style is in all cases avant-garde, often hard, Art-Rock with obvious RIO-ish tendencies, whose roots can easily be found in mid-‘70s King Crimson and – partly – in Van Der Graaf Generator circa “H to He…” and “Pawn Hearts”. Save Intro (which features few metalloids) and Rano (which is in turn full of those, often suggesting Metal-In-Opposition), all of these contain approximately an equal quantity of softer arrangements and ones that are driven by heavy guitar riffs. The sole track here that, in addition, contains a full-blown move in the manner of classic Symphonic Progressive, Epilogo is the most contrasting of the pieces, showing how the band can jump from style to style (as well as from mood to mood) and make the changes work for the benefit of the whole thing. Rano is heavy in an early 2000s Finnegans Wake kind of way with arrangements that are full of off-meter phrasings and stop-to-start turns and twists. The musicians fully embrace the arrangement, which begins with avant-tinged piano passages before transitioning into a heavy lick, featuring a menacing guitar phrase, etc. The other six main parts of the suite are full of surprises too, all benefiting from the great variety in the writing. Band leader Daniel Truares deserves special mention for numerous speedy over-the-top guitar solos, and when he adds a trombone to the mix, the instrument provides a Univers Zero presence in places. Gustavo Boni tends to lay down repetitive bass riffs, while Luis Andre often gets highly active on his drum kit. When switching from synth to piano (which he does very frequently), Rafael Montorfano sounds now a bit like Pierre Chevallier, now like Keith Tippet, now like anyone else. His piano is practically as prominent as Daniel’s guitar, particularly outside the heavier sections, where the men’s dual soloing often creates a really unique air. However, it didn’t manage without a fly in the ointment. Both the guitarist and bassist are at times too keen on eliciting effects from their respective instruments and pedals. And the final track on the album is really bad, representing a single, very simple riff-tune, which just repeats itself over and over again, all of the musicians playing in unison.
Conclusion. Overall, "Chorume Da Alma" is a very good offering from an outfit, whose creative activity only counts a couple of years and which has no commercial aspiration, to say the least. Repeat listenings reveal more to like about it and the album.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: December 3, 2012
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