Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Review: Gui Boratto - Take My Breath Away

First things first: what a terrible cover. I really ought to apologise: there should have been some kind of warming before I foisted it so carelessly upon your undeserving eyes. Is that really the image I want curious visitors to see when they first alight here, blinking in the strange new light? I'm sorry.

Secondly: yes, yes, you've got me; I’m quite aware that I’m stalling, thank you, that this dust cloud of verbiage is the equivalent of endlessly rearranging the stationery so that I might avoid describing an album that achieves most of its effects by the exciting way it makes nothing happen. But what words would adequately describe the sensory pleasure that comes from following a melodic line meandering microtonally across an unwavering harmonic bass? Certainly not those words: ‘pleasure’, ‘melodic’, and ‘harmonic’ would all require extensive annotation, footnoting and hedging if they weren't to be flat-out misleading.

Let’s agree that the project of trying to describe Gui Boratta, a Brazillian DJ who specialises in a kind of rusted hi-gloss pop tech (cf. an airbrushed Japanese painting of a crying cyborg; The Tragical History of R2D2, perhaps, the Loneliness of the Long Distance Galactic Satellite, WALL-E’s difficult teenage years) is misconceived from the get-go, especially when you could just download the album from your download store of choice and decide for yourself. Wait, that was defeatist.

It was easier to describe Boratta’s debut album, Chromophobia, since it had something close to songs and, as any fule no, songs can be captured and pinned (have you ever tried making an insect collection? The saddest part is that the magnificent irridescence of the butterfly or the beetle fades when you kill it. There's a moral in there somewhere). It was lovely. So it didn’t have the unbelievable, frictionless surfaces of The Field’s From Here We Go Sublime or the fantastical ormolu of Booka Shade’s Movement. It did have “Beautiful Life”, what Dave Pearce would call a dance anthem but what I would call a deliriant, the feeling of too much champagne, the lusty fizz of anticipation made into music:

Take My Breath Away doesn’t really scale those heights, but "No Turning Back" kinda roars. Much of the album reminds me more of Efdemin than it does the previous album, which is a very good thing. Thrill! As a shower of synth lines fall like rain. Wow! As your ears are buffeted by a pressure wave of overwhelming bass. Swoon! as the microchopped vocals say something incomprehensible and sad. Sway! As the tension builds and is released by the asymptotic convergence of melodic lines in headphone space.

No it won’t do. The nonsense is creeping is creeping back in. This is a techno album, not the solution to a quadratic equation. It’s as good as the first album, possibly better. But, all in all, it’s quite different. Ultimately, it’s pretty good. Will that do?

[Editor's note: that was a guest post by Arela Dew. She won’t be coming back]

1 comment:

MisterBarrington said...

Bring back Arela Dew! She can squeeze a gratuitous "ormolu" into a blogpost far more deftly than your usual scribe.