Album Review: M.Takara & Carla Boregas – Grande Massa D’Agua : exhilarating earth-beats and electro-acoustic energy from the Sao Paulo duo.

The Breakdown

Fermenting another potent mix of jazz, dub, electronics, global beats and kosmische, there's something elemental about the music that the two collaborators have created on their latest project. It doesn't bear missing.
Hive Mind Records 9.0

You might remember a couple of years ago the first offering from this pair of Sao Paulo experimentalists Linha D’Agua ‘ which sneaked up from the underground and demanded attention with its fluidity, inventiveness and dynamism. This was the sound of sustainable energy, a musical relationship thriving on an intuitive connection with the synth circuitry of Carla Boregas coiling around Mauricio Takara’s percussive fibres. Not that releasing such a powerful debut was completely unexpected. Takara and Boregas have been musical counterparts for over a decade in the boundary pushing electro-psychedelic trio Ratka but in this partnership they seemed to have given themselves permission to take a tighter focus and work with more intention.

Now with the release of the duo’s second album Grande Massa D’Agua, out now on the irrepressible Hive Mind Records, the signs are that such initial momentum has been more than maintained, it’s shifted to another level entirely. So while this new record retains the racy improvisational energy of their debut, here Takara and Boregas have taken that potent mix of jazz, dub, electronics, global beats and kosmische and fermented it further. As a result no single element dominates, everything flows and the distinctive personality of their shared music rises to the surface.

The unsettling opener ‘Desenho #7’ makes for a bold introduction to the duo’s evolving sound. An atmospheric point of entry, through icy percussive drips and creaking electronics, the track takes a ritual drum throb and plunges deeper into some cavern. There’s a thrill in this descent, an expectation and mystery that Takara and Boregas keep in fine balance throughout the album’s onward passage. Take the uncurling dynamics of ‘Massaguacu’ where a stamina sapping drum and drone cascade eventually recedes to reveal a becalmed melody glistening within some warmer beats. Exhausting and exhilarating, this is music experienced through an almost tidal ebb and flow.

Similar aquatic undercurrents may have rippled through that previous Linha D’Agua release but on this latest record the influence feels more fundamental. Reflecting the two musicians’ home at the time on a rainforest beach which Takara describes as “between the ocean and a waterfall“, Grande Massa D’Agua or ‘Great Body Of Water’ is immersed in these natural surroundings and feels so alive. Consequently the threatening synth chord ascent of ‘Aurino’ uses the urgency of the frantic timbale rhythms plus a stoic tune cycle from Boregas to lift the tune beyond any established electronica trope to somewhere fresh and original. Then there’s the heavy drilling ‘Jundu’ which takes a pounding locomotive trip to a place of melodic fluidity and blooming synth foliage. There may be hints of Beak> muscularity here as well as hovering electronic orchestration from the Sven Vath era but reference points are of only minor significance set within the thrill of this impressive soundscape.

Perhaps it is the confounding, extended ‘Densenho #5‘ that best emphasises the scale of the ambition and achievement on Grande Massa D’Agua. Fractured cut up noise injections, discordances and metallic scrapes get dubbed around an electric pulse until the rhythmic drive rolls in. Those surging brass sounds even conjure the ethereal majesty of late period Jon Hassell as they rise above the torrent of beats and syncopated cymbal lashes. The great Fourth World musician himself couched his final recordings as “seeing through sound” and on this record Takara and Boregas edge close to that lofty aspiration.

Yes there’s something equally elemental about the music that the two collaborators have created on their latest project, nothing appears without substance and there is little room for dreamy fluff or float. The landscape they present here is real and vibrant, sometimes brash, sometimes beautiful, rarely bland or ambivalent. The droning oppressive buzz of ‘Areia Preta’ clambers with a rhythmic trudge deep into a humid other world while closing cut ‘Principio’ pits Takara’s split-second rim-shots against a sombre organ processional to pursue an anxious countdown to a place that hints of urban decay. Such a coda leaves you with a sense that on Grande Massa D’Agua the duo’s kinetic understanding tips the infamous hip hop sample on its head, turning sound into a journey.

It’s been an exceptional year for electro-acoustic music, Valentina Magaletti’s solo and CZN expeditions, Szun Waves new layered complexities on Earth Patterns as well as the peerless Jessica Moss delivering her extraordinary Galaxy Heart LP. Now as a closing chapter for 2022 M.Takara & Carla Boregas have pitched in with their own mighty contribution and it’s a story that really doesn’t bear missing.

Get your copy of ‘Grande Massa D’Aqua’ from your local record shop or order direct from Hive Mind :

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