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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

GUSTAVO JOBIM: Deep Blue (2022)

We devour each track with our ears wide open!

1 Deep Blue 4:18

2 Evening Falls Over Neo-Tokyo 4:47

3 Exploring the Catacombs of Paris 10:07

4 The Stakeout 6:49

5 Racing DeLoreans 2:24

6 Stardust 5:13

7 Conjuration 5:58

8 The Sinking of Zealandia 8:31

9 Lonely Roads 5:49

10 Rio-Berlin 5:35

(DDL/CD-R 59:35) (V.F.)

(Dark ambient Berlin School)

Gustavo Jobim gave his music career a boost by sharing some of his performances and recording sessions on his YouTube channel in early 2019. The albums Inverno 2 (2019) and 44 Minutes of Your Attention (2020) were inspired by these sessions. It is in this wake that Portal Between Two Worlds, also on Cyclical Dreams, and Brain Records were produced last year. These YouTube projections allowed the Brazilian musician to see that his audience generally liked shorter and catchier tracks. Thus was born DEEP BLUE, a surprising album that shows that Gustavo is as much at ease with long structures of dark ambient music as with short tracks animated by melodic visions and catchy rhythms. In fact, the album is a selection of the best and most accessible tracks made for YouTube in the last few years, which can be see how the developed by clicking on this link.

And the album starts in a surprising way! On an electronic rhythm as sober as old-fashioned, the title-track makes us hear a beautiful melody with singing arpeggios on a kind of rumba that lacks some steps. It's very good and sounds like those old social dance ballads that Jean-Michel Jarre used to leave on the razor of time to complete his first 3 albums. Evening Falls Over Neo-Tokyo has a dystopian vibe. Its envelope is as dark as the vision of a dying man watching the city fill with smog under its neon lights. The dark and slow movement cogitates on a slowly moving ambient mass, while being tied to iridescent hums. In a melodic color less lit than in Deep Blue, the arpeggios let shimmer an atrabilious melody. The cosmic opening of Exploring the Catacombs of Paris gradually turns into an astral journey that stops on a breeze of drones. A point that brings us back in these territories of dark ambient electronic music (EM) with a small pastoral side by the murmurs walled in the cathedral walls blackened by carbon. Playing with finesse, Gustavo succeeds in making the spectres squeak that are silent witnesses of this fire while that all around, our ears can hear the firebrands crackling with a fascinating musical glow. The heat of the extinguished flames can be heard bubbling up in the cathedral's enclosure in a finale where the anger of the ghosts is heard with violence. This track demonstrates the Brazilian musician-synthesist's ability to create a link between his music and his vision that easily connects with those of his audience. This phenomenon also applies to the creeping structure of The Stakeout which is in symbiosis with the meaning of its title. Vampiric, it extends a moving shadow whose undulations forge an ambient rhythm. The bass texture in the sputtering loops instills a ghostly atmosphere that flirts with the luciferous zones of Jobim's usual signature work. The percussive effects, a kind of successive tapping, create an atmosphere of excitement, as well as tension, where the art of stalking can sometimes give a cold sweat, like a high rate of heartbeat. The aerial airs of the synthesizer add to this feeling of war of nerves that watch those who maliciously spy on the others.

Racing DeLoreans is a very lively track, like a surreal race in a video game landscape. It's a crazy electronic rock track with usual e-percussions and keyboard riffs. The synth sound is divine with a style that is not without recalling Larry Fast's boldness in Synergy. It's with airs of electronic nightingale rolling in loops that Stardust docks to our ears. If this melodious approach remains minimalist, with a few nuances near, its sonic shroud is filled with reverberations whose echo structures ambient beats. Stardust and spectral synth waves complete the setting while a bass line that bites into the ambiences adds a dramatic dimension to this track that turns our mind light. One listens to synth layers flowing and rolling like in a dark symphony à la The Phantom of the Opera and we can't help but wonder what Conjuration is all about in the end. Excellent music for a horror movie! The Sinking of Zealandia wastes no time in projecting us in a murky ambience with a machine that breathes by projecting pulsating breaths. The texture is more industrial than gothic, even if long threads emit sordid atypical tunes that freeze in a panorama of the end of the world and that some tones recall those of Tangerine Dream in the ambient harmonies of the synth. Lonely Roads is a track of the pensive kind. Its arpeggios illuminate a gloomy corridor with a melody for a sorrowful soul. We are in a texture of dark ambiences with a melodious side of the synth that is perfumed by the musical waves of Redshift. Rio-Berlin ends this fascinating and surprising album with a fiery electronic rock which surfs on good Berlin School coated by very good solos of synth.

What does a more accessible Gustavo Jobim give? A result more seductive than surprising with short tracks that do not take anything away from the depth and musical visions of the Brazilian keyboardist. Now available in both download and CD-R formats, DEEP BLUE is as good as we have a right to expect from a musician of such dimension. We devour each track with our ears wide open!

Sylvain Lupari (July 14th, 2022) *****

Available at Cyclical Dreams Bandcamp

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