Often described as dark ambient, Sann Gusmão’s work deserves a less narrow classification. This new recording is more sophisticated than most everything we’ve heard from that subgenre in recent years.
That’s not meant to be a knock on other artists. It’s just that these nine new tracks reach beyond the conventions of any single style of electronic music. Emaranhado (which translates to mean Tangled) is powerfully imaginative.
“Memória de Uma Cidade Que Avança Mar” is up first. It’s an electronic storm of a track that is ominously picturesque. If it’s possible to distort the sound of wind, that’s precisely what we get two minutes in. This is a huge opener.
“Acho Que Comecei a Esquecer Pra Descobrir Como Voltar a Se Lembrar e Te Mostrar Como” follows with a gentler drone section. The peace and quiet doesn’t last though. By the end of the track, we’re in what may be the most intimidating jazz club in the universe. And it sounds great.
Throughout the album, we’re presented finely crafted electronics built to test our favourite headphones. As menacing as it sometimes is, the work is paced gently enough to allow us to enjoy each idea as it plays out.
“Para Todos Corpos de Puls(aç)ão Torta” for example, starts with a delicate dripping sound set against a kind of distant thunder. The contrast between the two is gorgeous. Gradually, an electronic buzzing washes over the piece, mixed eventually with a light drone. On and on the piece builds, moving from one new idea to the next. This is the kind of recording that’s difficult not to visualize. It’s a daydream maker.
The album’s major work, at over eight minutes, is “Reescrever Fotografias Sobre Dias Que Me Rasgam.” That one has a sharp, aggressively industrial tone. Peppered with whining metal on metal, it’s full of sharp edges. It’s not the album’s only brave composition, but it is its most challenging.