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Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Brasil and the Gallowbrothers Band - 'Legionowo' (Monotype)

Polish atmospheric psychedelic indie-rock certainly is a field I could stand to learn more about, being that my education pretty much starts and ends with Brasil. This quartet of Warsaw artists certainly do a lot to set the vibe with the crimson and golden CD artwork. All moody comic-style drawings by Brasil's trumpeter, Tomek Mirt (who also has a solo disc we'll get to in the M's), this immediately conjures the dark, post-war Europe that Poland in general makes me think of. The golden dusk radiates throughout these six tracks, which are structured around a singer-songwriter who really speaks more than sings. The vocals are in English but really felt more than heard, with the sibilence of the human voice creating a great after-effect for the low-level white noise samples and effects-box hiss that coats everything. It's probably all the better with lyrics like "i pack my things / and leave capitalism", but I shouldn't pick on people who don't speak English as a first language. There are no drums here - it's rock because it has guitars, and the two most immediate comparisons are Labradford and Talk Talk. There's an obvious love of all the 90s post-shoegaze guitar calm, such as Bark Psychosis and Hood, but without any trace of rock, really. The unfolding, billowing soundscapes are lifted from the Laughing Stock playbook, and the trumpet is played in a purely Spaceheads way, never swampy but definitely wet. Instrumental 'The Town' brings in some synth beats and a more prevalent role for the (cheap) keyboards, but it's really on the last two tracks where Brasil paint their most unique canvas. 'Far From the Rest''s lyrics are a bit rambling, but it's all couched in a gallon of slimy soundpaint. At the end of this 11 minute+ track, a recording of someone from Pink Floyd talking is brought in, which is a pretty daring move but it's amazingly successful -- amazing, because I actually wasn't really listening so I couldn't even tell you which member it was or what they were talking about. And instead of going back to check for you, dear readers, I thought it might be better to just let it slide over me and become another instrument, which is what was intended. The dissonance is rare - every gesture is delicate, and only occasionally do the synths and electronics really create a buzz. I'm not sure how open these structures are, but when Brasil want to, they are capable of a pretty magical ambience. White noise is here much more than you'd think - unless it's my air-conditioning acting up again. The 90s had some great moments, though I suspect this came in the following decade. That this is named after an otherwise forgettable Warsawa suburb makes it all the more unusual that such beauty can be strived for, and in moments, really achieved.