Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Mata Atlântica — Retiro e Ritmo
(7d Media 2206, 2022, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2022-12-05
Many listeners likely know Markus Reuter from his work with Stick Men, where he operates more or less in the rock arena. His music also extends into the realm of ambient experimental music, with Centrozoon and others. But with Mata Atlântica, we find something different. Co-producer Mathias Derer, inspired by visiting the Atlantic coastal rainforest of Brazil, conceived of a project to evoke the atmosphere of the place as well as draw attention to its fragility (90% of it no longer remains). He enlisted Reuter, who assembled a large cast of players and singers from various countries to make an album of music inspired by the region. There are many field recordings threaded throughout the music featuring the sounds of birds and insects, and many Brazilian sounds pervade the album. Tobias Reber programmed electronic rhythms, and percussionist Andi Pupato fills out the grooves, which are further anchored by Raphael’s Preuschl’s nimble bass playing. Gary Husband plays keyboards, which are augmented by Reuter’s own synths and soundscapes. There are also contributions from Brian Krock (saxophones, flute), Luca Calabrese (pocket trumpet), Aralee Dorough (flute), and Colin Gatwood (oboe), along with several vocalists: Charlotte Pelgen, Zoey Gley, Graça Cunha, Lisa Fletcher, Deborah Carter Mastelotto, and Pat Mastelotto. The sound ranges from subtle washes of notes floating through the air with field recordings (something not entirely foreign to Reuter’s well-known work) to upbeat Brazilian jazz with lyrics in Portuguese (reminiscent of what you might hear from Airto Moreira with Flora Purim). One thing to note is that you’ll hear none of Reuter’s own playing taking the spotlight — he’s mostly supporting the other musicians here, and providing processing and treatments. The lead parts, aside from the vocals, go to flute, trumpet, saxophone, and oboe, but this music is not about flashy solos, it’s about moods and colors. It’s also thoroughly enjoyable, and an evocative blend of nature and technology.
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