Multi-instrumentalist/composer Rob Mazurek is no stranger to the avant-jazz world, and he's contributed many albums over the years to the Cuneiform label, either as a solo artist or fronting the ensemble São Paulo Underground. Cantos Invisíveis is the latest release from that band, which sees Mazurek (cornet, Mellotron, modular synthesizer, Moog Paraphonic, OP-1, percussion and voice) once again joining up with Mauricio Takara (drums, cavaquinho, electronics, Moog Werkstatt, percussion and voice), Guilherme Granado (keyboards, synthesizers, sampler, percussion and voice), and Thomas Rohrer (rabeca, flutes, soprano saxophone, electronics, percussion and voice) for nine tracks of offbeat jazz mixed with dissonant & angular avant-garde sounds.
Describing Cantos Invisíveis is 'un-commercial' would be quite the understatement, as there's nothing here even remotely accessible to the casual music listener, but, for those with an adventurous ear, there's plenty to sink your teeth into. The opening, near 14-minute "Estrada Para o Oeste" is a nightmarish miasma of cacophony, bleeping synths, bleating cornet, ominous Mellotron, quirky percussion, sparse vocalizations, and various effects all fighting for supremacy, at times its's somewhat jazzy, and others just noisy and unsettling...but it works. "Cambodian Street Carnival" is a marvelous piece that really does its job by putting the listener right in the middle of a busy street event in Southeast Asia, the weaving waves of sound all perfectly setting the mood, while "Lost Corners Boogie" has that quirky, complex, yet zany quality that we came to expect from Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. The same can be said for "Fire and Chime", a brief little exploration into free jazz and the avant-garde, filled with zig-zagging sax and cornet blasts supported by rumbling percussion. Another ethnic flavored piece, "Olhaluai", features the South American fiddle the rabeca, and it's quite majestic and upbeat, while the album returns to its noisy, dissonant beginnings with the lengthy closer "Falling Down From the Sky Like Some Damned Ghost", another epic jaunt into raucous free-jazz, avant-garde, and even rock, with multiple instruments battling for the spotlight and creating one hell of a wild party.
As you can probably guess, Cantos Invisíveis isn't going to be for everyone, and I can safely say that if well structured, melodic music is your thing, then steer clear away from this one. However, if you don't mind cluttered, adventurous sounds that give a big 'F-U' to commercial music and don't allow for any restrictions or focus, then the São Paulo Underground have just the album for you.
1. Estrada Para o Oeste (Takara, Mazurek) 13:44
2. Violent Orchid Parade (Mazurek) 1:51
3. Cambodian Street Carnival (Mazurek) 6:45
4. Lost Corners Boogie (Takara) 6:02
5. Desisto II (Mazurek, Granado) 3:36
6. Fire and Chime (Takara) 2:38
7. Olhaluai (Takara) 5:51
8. Of Golden Summer (Mazurek) 4:14
9. Falling Down From the Sky Like Some Damned Ghost (Takara, Mazurek) 16:20