Thursday, June 08, 2006

Uakti – Uakti [1987] @ 256 Amazing Surreal Tropical Ritualism

Uakti occupies a very special place in the celebrated brazilian musical scene. They make their own instruments. (See the scanning of the booklet and be amazed by the Glass Marimba, The Planetarium or the incredible Trilobite, a weird and futuristic multidrum designed to be struck with the fingers.)

Beyond the obvious attraction that people feel to alien instrumentation, Uakti members have really made deep contributions to the future of music. Among their admirers we could count the Blue Man Group, also builders of extreme percussion objects and Phillip Glass, with whom they published the internationally acclaimed Aguas do Amazonia, a tribute to the rivers of the biggest Tropical jungle of the planet.

Uakti is a quartet: the percussionists Decio Ramos and Paulo Sergio dos Santos and the multi instrumentalist Artur Andres, the fourth member Marco Antonio Guimaraes, brain of the group, creator of the instruments and musical director, no longer plays in the band concerts. He prefers to stay in the shadow, composing and creating new and more complex forms of music.
Actually Uakti is an experimental band in more than one sense. Guimaraes have also created a parallel musical notation, that uses mathematical and geometrical symbols to simplify patterns, durations and percutive scales. This experimental notation that they use along with the traditional one has been used by Physicist Maurice Brazin, to teach aboriginal Amazonians Music and Arithmetics with surprising results. Her says that this is a very practical and visual method that immediately connects with logic and intuition. For example a repetition of three patterns is represented by a triangle, and so on.

As we can see Uakti is an ambitious project that goes way beyond the content of this CD, which is actually their first published work. Nowadays, after more than 70 new instruments invented, a dozen of albums and several world tours, Uakti emerges as one of the most interesting, consistent and advanced experimental contemporary ensembles.
Nevertheless I must agree that the word experimental scares some people, and can actually be used to label a lot of inaudible and horrible cacophonic and chaotic noise collections.

This is not the case with Uakti. What the do is certainly nice music. It has the flavor of the old and the new. The indigenous and the urbane. Deep Future and Deep Past.
Uakti sounds like nothing else, and yet, it touches something arcane, deeply hidden in us.

I am a very lucky person. Five years ago I saw them in concert at Aula Magna, Venezuelan Central University. First row. Did I say lucky? Incredibly Lucky I would say.. because the very next day while walking near the Caracas Fine Arts Museum, I happened to come across Decio Ramos. I Identify myself as a radio producer,(yes I was that at the time) and we had a brief conversation that versed on Afro Venezuelan music, the actual Pop Scene, Einstruzende Neubauten, southamerican politics and brazilian garotas, more or less in that order.

If you think that as a south American I am not being too objective about this band, you better listen for yourself.

Be prepared to enter the depths of the tropical jungle of some other planet, which is Earth actually, but Earth as you have never heard it before.

Keep listening!!!

PS: This is their website. Do not miss the instruments page!


Anonymous said...

This is real nice, Thanks & Cheers!

PS said...

You can find another of their albums over at ....v.good

Anonymous said...

Thanks sooooo much for this album. I saw them live in Argentina in the 80's. They were the opening act for Milton Nascimento and their music was far more amazing than Milton's (who, by the way, was a little drunk that night). Un abrazo!

Anonymous said...

could you reup please?

thank you

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