Saturnia is a Portuguese one man band that has released his fourth album Muzak on Elektrohasch label that has been steadily garnering a great reputation over the years with bands like Hypnos 69, Colour Haze, Josiah, Rotor and Sula Bassana producing quality music. This music is creative and challenging, a true joy to hear. The first listen was extremely satisfying and subsequently listens were no less satisfying.
Except for the rhodes electric piano and the exquisite flute playing on “Organza”, which are handled by Francesco Rebelo and ex-Hawkwind Nik Turner , acoustic six- and twelve string guitars by Joao Alves on “Kite” and “Analepsis”, everything you hear on Muzak comes from this Portuguese miracle worker. Luis Simoes employs a wide variety of instruments (guitars, sitar, tampura, baphilicarda and hammond organ, synths, theremin, bisel flute, vibraphone, dulcimer harp, gong, chimes, samplers and sequenzers) and it shows his obvious skills as a versatile musician.
Muzak features what I would call a hypnotic sensual musical landscape whereby the listener often loses sight of where a song began once the song concludes, the leadoff track “Mindrama” is a good example of this. Many of the songs on this album point towards the direction of Pink Floyd especially from his lush vocal arrangements and his hypnotic booming pulsating rhythms, while several tracks point towards Air and Material , for example the excellent dreaming “Aqua” and “Syrian” with narration by Daevid All(i)en which have clear similarities without ever being hollow imitations, while the groovier “Organza” can't make up its mind whether to be Tuatara or Gong ! Tracks “Utterly luminescent” and ”Infinite chord”, both heavily tinged with Indian atmospheres thanks to tablas and sitar, are stunning masterpieces of ambient psych. I would describe “Kite” Serge Gainsbourg composing a track for erotic cult movie Vampyros Lesbos.
Muzak is impressive and the most pleasant surprise of 2007 (with Minsk ) that I've heard so far this year.
Concrete web 26-02-2007 Cosmicmasseur.