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Pocos & Nuvens (Brazil) - 2002 - "Provincia Universo"
(58 min, "Musea" & "Rock Symphony")


*****+
Tracklist:
1. Provincia universo 1:19 (G. Werlang)
2. Copla 3:47 (Sleifer)
3. Vindima e ventania 4:38 (G. Werlang)
4. No inverno 3:38 (G. Werlang)
5. Vega 8:54 (S. & G. Werlang)
6. Neblina 0:37 (Sleifer, G. Werlang)
7. Inverno 4:10 (G. Werlang)
8. Cancao 4:41 (Sleifer)
9. Pocos e nuvens 7:17 (Sleifer, G. Werlang)
10. Milonguita 3:54 (Sleifer)
11. Noites nas ruas 4:50 (Sleifer, G. Werlang)
12. Incenso e chuva 9:49 (Sleifer)
13. Universo provincia 1:10 (G. Werlang)

Arrangements: by Pocos & Nuvens.

Line-up:

Edgar Sleifer - guitars; flutes; classical viola; vocals
Gerson Werlang - vocals; guitars; classical & folk violas 
Savio Werlang - keyboards 
Iva Giracca - violins 
Irwin Faller - bass
Rafael Bisogno - drums

Guest musicians:

Amaro Borges - cello (on a few tracks)
Paul Taylor - tabla (on a few tracks)
Luis Carlos Borges - accordion (on 10)
Joao F. Machado - trumpet (on 12)
Patricio Orozco - additional guitars; synthesizer, programming  

Produced by Patricio Orozco and Poco & Nuvens.
Recorded & mixed by Patricio Orozco
at "Merlin Wizard's Hat" studios, Brazil.

Prologue. Once again, I have nothing to say here but that I haven't heard of this band until now. After I listened to this album, however, I found Pocos E Nuvens one of the best Brazilian bands that I've ever heard (if not the best).

The Album. On the whole, "Provincia Universo" is an album of a unified stylistic concept, the main genre constituent of which is Classic Symphonic Art-Rock. (If not to count Angra and Sepultura, all the Brazilian bands that I've heard play Symphonic Art-Rock.) On the album, there are only three songs, namely Provincia Universo, Neblina, and Universo Provincia (tracks 1, 6, & 13) that differ from the other tracks. At the same time, however, these three short songs are structurally similar among themselves, as well as all ten of the remaining tracks. Both of the album's title tracks (one of which is written back to front) and Neblina are excellent by all means. By the way, all of them were played without the rhythm section. Neblina features only the 'classical' passages of acoustic guitar. The album's opening track consists of interplay between passages of semi-acoustic guitar and solos of cello, performed on the background of slow keyboard passages. The passages of classical guitar, performed on a similar keyboard 'pillow', are featured on the closing track of the album. Each of these three tracks contains also a tiny yet nice vocal part (lyrics are in Portuguese). All ten of the remaining tracks represent a real Classic Art-Rock, though three of them, bunched up in the first part of the album, aren't that intricate. These are Copla, Vindima e ventania, and No inverno (2 to 4). But then all six of the remaining songs are the true masterworks of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock: Vega, Inverno, Cancao, Pocos e nuvens, Milonguita, and Noites nas ruas (5, & 7 to 11). It must be said that the instrumental arrangements cover about two thirds of each of these songs. However, the only instrumental piece on the album, Incenso e chuva (12), which, in addition, is the longest track here, is an absolute winner. (So, it's clear that the best compositions of "Provincia Universo" were for the most part composed by Edgar Sleifer.) While the arrangements of all ten of the compositions, that were performed by the band as a whole, develop rather typically for Classic Symphonic Art-Rock, they, at the same time, contain a lot of innovative ideas. The active use of such chamber and folk instruments as various violins, violas, and flutes, along with the traditional 'Rock' instruments, throughout the album makes its overall sound very rich, refreshing, and impressive. On most tracks, the hard-edged and, structurally, rather harsh arrangements alternate the soft ones that can remind of Classic Academic Music. All six of the most impressive tracks of this album (5, & 7 to 12) contain the elements of uniqueness, though Pocos e nuvens, Milonguita (9 & 10), and of course, Incenso e chuva (12) are especially rich in them. The track, which is titled by the name of the band, has a distinct medieval feel to it. While Milonguita, which contains a few episodes, filled with interplay between an accordion and Brazilian folk viola, is about a folksy Symphonic Art-Rock that you've never heard before. The instrumental piece Incenso e chuva has a truly polymorphous stylistics, which represents a blend of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock, Fifth Element, and kind of Afro-Brazilian music with a few 'makewights' of Prog-Metal and Classical Academic Music. All of this is based on several different, unique and complex, 'twisting' rhythms, set by the hand percussive instruments. In fact, though, the unique rhythms can be heard on all six of the aforementioned compositions. Despite the fact that the CD booklet doesn't contain the English translation of original lyrics, you won't be upset with the vocals on this album. Perceiving the singing as a separate instrument, you'll be pleased with the combination of it and the parts of real musical instruments. Especially since the instrumental arrangements are intensive from the first to the last note of the album.

Summary. On the "Provincia Universo" album, Pocos & Nuvens look like a very experienced and truly innovative Classic Art-Rock band. Which, today, happens rarely within the framework of this genre. Doubtless, I find Pocos & Nuvens the best among those Brazilian bands that I've heard. I can highly recommend this album not only to the lovers of Classic Symphonic Progressive, but also to all those who are eager for any innovative manifestations of Progressive Rock.

VM. May 21, 2002


Related Links:

Pocos & Nuvens web-site: http://www.rockprogressivo.com.br/pnuvens/

"Rock Symphony" web-site: http://www.rocksymphony.com/

"Musea" web-site & online store: http://www.musearecords.com/


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