Paula Rebellato - Tape Loops Vol.1 (Domina, 2021)
The concept of melding and meshing sounds together remains alive and well on this beautiful set of cassette tape experiments from the San Paulo based artist, with the music speaking to us through a spectrum of dreams, memories and visions.
Electronics and music have developed a seemingly unbreakable bond over the past 40 or so years, with the concept of using keyboards and drum machines elevated from a mere bit part player to being utilised as the primary instruments in the creation of sounds. They provide artists with unlimited creativity, where tonal outlines and expansive horizons seem endless and very much capable of doing anything, with all manner of parameters being defined then redefined constantly by ever shifting explorations through sonics and soundscapes. Rules on the understanding and perceptions of music would be forever changed when experimentalism converged with Electronic music, with the notion of utilising hardware only fuelling the visions of so many, and still to this day we continue to see plenty flock to it's unyielding potential. Applying notions of experimentalism into music always feels like streams of consciousness, a series of ebbs and flows that continually move with the times and despite creating a series of undulations and plateaus, there always seems to be a sense of direction for where streams end and begin. We are simply asked to dip our head in and take a look around, our hearts and minds encouraged to feel connected with the world being presented alongside wanting to get to know all that persists within, as little elemental features crop up at all the right moments to give over to us points to marvel at. Electronic elements make the grand only feel grander, as the scope of possibility moves and feels it's way past the established boundaries and spills over into the realms of dazzling lights, heavy set aesthetics and deeply interwoven intricacies, and we for one will forever feel bound to it's powerful embrace. We see songs and sounds not as traditional notions but as free flowing and engaging sequences, where interweaving melodies and time signatures blend and bounce off one another in a mesmerising display that could either start looping, start bouncing or simply move in any kind of direction. When these kinds of feelings prevail, the results are always very exciting, and that excitement often comes directly as a result of the artist behind it all, and the willingness that exists inside them to push the dynamics of their sound into weird and wonderful places. We see not just one but many tangents starting to surface, where worlds collide and fall apart with a beautiful sense of purpose and grace, helping to maintain our placement on the edge of our seats as we never know quite what to expect as time passes by, and it's this anticipation that keeps us going. Audial environments contract and divide, their forms and wavelengths manipulated and morphed into sequences that weave along our neurones and come out the other side, with a new sense of purpose installed within them that feeds into the wider consciousness. We always return to these artists because they offer experiences that not only sound like they exist within the realms of familiarity, but also that they reside firmly within the realms of the unexpected, a place where flairs and movements adapt and correlate in spellbinding fashion. Electronics unlocked the potential, but it is the artist who makes them do the most wonderful of things.
For some time now, Sao Paolo based artist Paula Rebellato has been exploring the further reaches of her expansive sound, and the results are always incredibly interesting indeed. Rebellato has showcased her abilities and visions within multiple fields of expression, with her varied and in-depth discography testament to that fact, with an array of differing genres being explored to their absolute limits within the numerous strands that persist within her musical universe. Even though the music she releases spans many fields and spaces, there is a definite essence that surfaces throughout all of her records, with this essence boiling down to the art of exploring, feeling and progressing, with compositions retaining a continual free form of sorts that moves onwards and upwards in all the right ways, and this attitude seems to run through her veins. It's this emphasis which helps to convey her audial identity to it's fullest, and means that we get to experience this inner thinking across a plethora of styles, which serves as a way to continually layer and add texture to the paintings within a gallery setting that make up Rebellato's intoxicating soundscape. Rebellato has concerned herself with more traditional band settings, which have mostly involved her exploring the outer realms of contemporary psychedelic, punk and indie music, all of which comes presented - as always - within an engaging and mesmerising package. These sounds arrived to us from group projects such as Rakta, Duplo, Hierofante, Rakta and Rakta Em Transe, with a significant volume of records being released by these groups since 2013, all of which point to Rebellato's ability to operate within a group environment and also showcasing her wide reaching tastes. Alongside these projects, Rebellato has explored the realms of atmospherical Ambient and Experimental music, which includes projects such as Acavernus and Mauna Kea, that look to highlight her reaches into even more expansive territories, and in many ways represent the final piece of the jigsaw to her craft. From these projects, there is plenty of amazing records to point out, starting off with the creatively executed tones of the self titled Rakta album (2013), and the moody breezes found in the 'Falha Comun' album (2019); from the Duplo project, be sure to check out the fuzzy and breathless excellence found on the 'Dor Dor Dor, BB' 7" (2019); from the Hierofante name, be sure to check out both the self titled debut LP (2014) and 'Música Electrônica Transcendental' album (2014); from the Acavernus name, our favourites include the beautifully considered 'S/T' album (2015), and the wonderfully energetic 'Carne Invicta' record (2020); from the Manua Kea name, both the 'Soundtracks for the Inner Machine (2014) and 'Vortex' (2014) are well worth checking out; and finally, from the Rakta Em Transe project, be sure to get to know the excellent self-titled EP from the group, which landed in 2015. In all, Rebellato has been as productive as she has been brilliant, with every record mentioned here and beyond all going above and beyond in getting us to see and feel things differently, be it the powerful embrace of the post punk records or the ethereal floating chasms that open themselves up to us within her ambient works, there's something for everyone. Even if you lean heavily towards one side than the other, you still feel the desire deep inside to check out more of the scope, to get to grips with everything she has to offer with her music and more, and that only comes when an artist looks beyond and seeks all that can be achieved through their music. We haven't really come across someone quite like Paula Rebellato before, and it's this immediate uniqueness to her diverse audial universe that invites you, and even if it offers you a door to leave, you can't quite bring yourself to. We throughly recommend you go check out her previous works, trust us when we say you won't be disappointed.
And now we arrive at her latest effort, the first of two releases in the 'Tape Loops' series, which arrives via the Brazilian imprint Domina. The concept behind this record stemmed from channelling cassette tapes through a loop pedal, and tinkering around with layering, slicing and morphing, and the results very much have this tangible quality to them, as if you can feel the tape revolving round your mind. There's this beautiful heaviness to the music, a physicality that runs through to the core of the experience that hits right in the heart strings, as if we ourselves are lost in it's infinite loop, as layers slide in and out of time with such charm and grace. Aside from the delicate notion of the loops, the tune selection is excellent, with a mixture of all kinds floating our way that help to reinforce the concept of tapes/mixtapes firmly in the dashboard mirror. Mysterious, echoing, tangible yet invisible all at the same time, there's a real force that moves right through the core of this record, and in many ways it's just another piece to the puzzle which Rebellato continues to add to, one piece at a time. On that note, lets dive into this truly unique piece of music....
Up first comes ‘Atom Voix’, and this one begins with the clatters and chatters atop an ominous synth line to get us going. The keys grow and flex as time goes by, doubling up ever so slightly as the scope and volume increases, but maintaining their shape very well indeed as we continue to be feed all this little intricacies and feels from across the spectrum. As the clatters become slightly more prominent, another layer comes into the mix, and this one stands out particularly as a new elements to delve deep within due to it's high line feel, rising up above the other feels to capture our attention as the reel comes back round again. The track continues onwards into the night, as vocals seep in from the right hand side, their plaintive and beautiful serenade really capturing the imagination underneath the melodic drones that occupy the mid sections. It's captivating in it's hazy serenity, the feels completely at one with themselves as the slightest of undulations keeps our eyes open, ready and eager to capture all that this song has to offer. Beautiful stuff. Up next comes ‘Hold On To The Wind’, and we can feel the Jah Wobble feels on this one, oh yes we can. The light drumming pattern holds the pulse through the middle, as the chordal blemishes are amped up and really emphasised, like a jolt of energy that runs through you as the sounds swirl around us, like we are caught in the wheel of the tape as it goes round. The textures that persist within the middling spaces are simply stunning, their presence adding much to the revolving progression that again seems so happy to remain in a vibrant stasis, as we continue to look around, amazed at the loop in which we are caught in. What a wonderful embrace this track is, simply glorious. 'Sinos Do Lamento’ comes next, and this one begins in slightly more up tempo territories. The drums are full of beans and simmering along with a hint of passion, with a bass line chugging along for the ride underneath it all which provides a sense of depth and dynamism, as chiming percussive swirls occupy the space on the left hand side of the pan with a real sense of momentum. The track remains in it's place, effortlessly keeping itself steady as time passes by, and from that looping structure we see distant chords and keys start to emerge from afar, their airy presence floating and dipping between the ever present drumming patterns, as we reside ourselves deep within the mixture, content to sway this way and that. The track sees itself out with a tidal wave of sound, as flickering elements keep their poise amongst the rush of frequencies and wavelengths, as we drift into the sonics and the spheres beyond. Brilliant stuff.
Up next comes ‘The Second Season’, and the loop on this one comes to us with a very interesting set of dynamics indeed. The drums move across the bottom ends with a brooding intensity, as the organ like chords present themselves to us above the rhythms, as a mixture of reverbed vocal lines and samples mingle themselves in and around the blends. It's a deeply intriguing mix of sounds and tones, with plenty of elements to investigate and get to know as time passes by, as the relationships which are forged then begin to grow and grow remain a sight to behold. We simply stand in awe, ready and willing to jump in and swim around, taking it all in, and it's something that you can come back to time and time again. To wrap things up, we have ‘Tape Loops Vol. 1’, which is a remix by Os Fata, and this one begins with a cascade of vocal movements to get us going. The samples move through the octaves and the deliveries with an incredible intensity, with a view it seems to always understand how one sequence will transition to the next, and it all starts to settle around the 1 minute mark as the samples become these intense explosions on the sampler pad. An explosion in energy then arrives to push the composition into some very engaging spaces indeed, as we continually feed off the energies being presented, our life force feeding into the music and vice versa. It remains a fitting note for the record to finish on, one that feels like the physical notions of chopping up tapes blend together with emotional and spiritual engagement with these actions, and it's mesmerising right from the first loop through to the last vocal snippet.
Electronics and the creative visions of a musician can go a long, long way, and with this record, Paula Rebellato simply provides that with a healthy dose of imagination, you can make something truly remarkable. From the word go we are plunged right into the heart of a rhythmical journey that feels so interlinked, the pulse of the music revolving around a tempo that moves up and down, left and right as time passes by, with this hypnotic physicalness mumouring underneath as we feel the music come from all sides. It's a feeling that never leaves your side, and as one track blurs into the next we continue to feel involved, always locked into the next loop to see if little layers might slide into view, or if time simply continues to move onwards, as the universe maintains this delicate momentum that feels unstoppable. This world feels like it has more to offer, and from the sounds of it, Rebellato isn't quite finished yet. Remarkable stuff.
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