Wednesday, 24 October 2018

An ambient masterpiece of 2018 : Gimu - 'A Vida Que Deixei De Ver Nos Seus Olhos'

I already wrote a lot about Gimu in French, here of course, there too and other there, so it was more than time to give it a shot in English. Whatever language you'd use to search the internet, you wouldn't find many reviews of Gilmar Monte's tremendous body of work anyway - about 60 releases in 8 years, that i know of : "tragically overlooked" is therefore the first thing coming to mind about his music, which couldn't be further from our collective unconscious' idea of what Brazilian music is supposed to sound like.

No MPB, bossa nova, samba or tropicália here, Gimu comes from the noisiest side of the experimental ambient spheres and washes away his torments with flows of dark textures, droning synth radiations and haunted harmonies, sometimes with underlying beats (cf. Entre A Sombra E O Detalhe), bits of field recordings and manipulated vocals. His third release for the UK label Assembly Field, A Vida Que Deixei De Ver Nos Seus Olhos comes right after two of his greatest masterpieces, Gone Again, Haunted Again (Aurora Borealis) and Senses (Unknown Tone), and yet it doesn't disappoint. Not a bit.

Translated from Portuguese, the album title - "The Life I Can No Longer See In Your Eyes" - shows its intentions quite clearly, as well as track names like The Velvety Shelter Of Misery (almost a proper song, with Cocteau-Twinesque layers of dreamlike vocals floating within the humming and crackling drones and field recordings of a passing train), Era Só Um Ciclo, Terminou E Foda-se - "Just One Cycle, Finished And Fucked" - or Hora De Crescer (De Novo) - "Time To Grow (Again)". Gimu seems to have been through some painful changes in his life lately and the music on this new album translates this shakiness and frailty into sound with a crushing sincerity, from the swarming and seismic elegy of Era Só Um Ciclo, Terminou E Foda-se to the hypnotic arpeggiators of the melancholic closing track Abre!, whose retro-futuristic and rainy atmosphere somehow recalls one of the best scenes of the original Blade Runner movie.

Bleak and yet filled with the remnants of happier times (O Acaso Via TV), celestial and simultaneously massive and menacing like a scud of thunderclouds (Cerração), buzzing harshly over a background of delicate inner choirs (Atrás Do Tom) or slowly and violently disintegrating like radio waves crashing into solar eruptions on Hora De Crescer (De Novo), A Vida Que Deixei De Ver Nos Seus Olhos conveys the same visceral intensity blended into visionary experiments as Tim Hecker's or Fennesz' best works, 10 to 20 years ago, or Lawrence English's pinnacle Wilderness of Mirrors. A truely impressive experience of shattered emotions, fleshly experiments and cosmological magnitude, and one of the highlights of 2018 in music. Let's hope it finally gets this amazing artist the acknowledgement he deserves.

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