Unfortunately my knowledge about Portuguese music is pretty much limited to the minimalist tones of sound sculptor Rafael Toral. A disc from the duo of Saturnia is a welcome addition to the collection. I am not going to claim that Luis Simões and Francisco Rebelo sounds like Beta Band, but they do share a similar predilection for blending older influences with modern beats. We get hypnotic dub rhythms over multi-layered concoctions of floating tones that nod towards the Pink Floyd era that started with "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" and ended with "Ummagumma." The opening "Chrysalis" is particularly Floydian with its airy waves of synth, levitating organ and hypnotic sitar creating the perfect sonic coulisse for the somber and dreamy vocals. "Still Life" is perhaps the most instantly striking thing here. It starts with almost bluesy, winding guitar lines before distinctive beats and ethereal flute playing completely take over the show, presenting the perfect balance between cosmic elegance, dub and prog.Synth and theremin meet in an aural discussion with a flock of birds in "A Trick of the Light" before the organic swells of the epic "Azimuth/Menadel" threaten to burst into life. But instead of turning up the volume they shift to a lower gear about halfway through the track, turning it into a stirring ambient floater. The harsher sound storm of the title-track is the most experimental and ominous thing on the record and brings things to a very interesting close. I'm quite certain that a lot of critics will mention the myriad of instruments that are used on "The Glitter Old" and I agree that it's an impressive list to present, but what's more important is how they use them. Every musical element elegantly segues into the next no matter how odd the musical combination might seem on paper.
Broken face #12 Mats Gustafsson