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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

GUSTAVO JOBIM: Trapped in a Day Job (2011)

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

It's a must for fans of Kraftwerk and those of a curious nature it's an album well worth the time we dwell on it, especially at the price of $2

1 Let's Fly 10:35

2 Moebius Tape 16:57

3 Cat in the Blender 4:15

4 Nightlife in Mars 7:40

5 Arcade Times 1:59

6 Mindbender 6:48

7 Icecream Waves 7:11

8 Inside the Machine 20:14

(DDL 75:39) (V.F.)

(Indie, Düsseldorf School)

TRAPPED IN A DAY JOB was literally composed on Gustavo Jobim's working hours using a little synthesizer software, the TS-404 V1.05 Beta. The particularity of this software is to create small loops which can be used with other arrangements. After a few tries on this software, the Brazilian sound sculptor discovered its full potential inside long minimalist musical pieces. And that's how the album started to come out of its embryonic state. Using a sequential movement of 4 chords, Gustavo Jobim has concocted a most syncretic album where the music leaves all the room to a palette of arcaded sounds that roll in loops through a host of metallic pulses.

Let's Fly opens with heavy and resonant pulsations which evolve on a long minimalist structure embellished with chords turning in loops. Chords which subtly stretch their harmonies on a hard, stroboscopic and robotic beat where the heavy metallic pulsations sound like suction cups of aliens in a kind of techno that Kraftwerk would deliver on forbidden vitamins. And if there is a strong point to be made in this extremely noisy album is this subtle permutation in the harmonies which detaches us from a geometrically musical and redundant figure. Longer, Moebius Tape is also more harmonious. The musical skeleton is still based on metallic beats which resonate forever, but the limpid sequences are flowing with a more beautiful fluidity and form a strange paradoxical harmony with its multiplied double-keys' hits which shape a curious robotic ode, making you forget its pulsating metallic framework. Subsequently we fall into a series of short titles where beautiful jewels are hidden, like Cat in the Blender whose title says it all. We really have the feeling of hearing a cat meow in pain on a heavy, metallic and pulsating rhythm. The harmonious and rhythmic structures are in constant changes, giving even more richness to TRAPPED IN A DAY JOB. Nightlife in Mars comes out a little from the pulsating mold to offer a strange musical structure, straight out of an arcade game, which undulates among a growing panoply of alien noises, like in Arcade Times and its feverish loops which remind me of the automaton Plastikman's minimalist world.

After the brief interlude of Arcade Times, we dive into Mindbender and its semi spectral and semi-alien structure where the chords twirl symmetrically in a minimalism universe of discord. If I dared, I would go for a comparison between Mike Oldfield and Conrad Schnitzer. Icecream Waves is the softest track of this new album where the chords swirl without constraints on a delicate structure reminding me of Richard Pinhas' musical universe, especially with the East-West album. We are getting to the very long Inside the Machine! Beautiful and melodious, but still minimalist and robotic, less violent than Let's Fly and less harmonious than Moebius Tape, it ends this sound essay with a 20 minutes' minimalist passage with loops and pulsating chords in repetitive mode and which are overflowing with subtle twists. Strongly nuanced introversions which surprise and charm by the unpredictable nature of this Inside the Machine. It may seem long at first, but you have to get to the end to hear and follow the evolution and these fine changes that we didn't expected and which make the charm of TRAPPED IN A DAY JOB.

I read on Gustavo's site that this album would be a continuation of Cluster's works, that I unfortunately don't know. However, there are other references that jumped out at me, such as Daft Punk, Con Man (Conrad Schnitzer), Plastikman and Kraftwerk. TRAPPED IN A DAY JOB is certainly a strange opus where the musicality can seem doubtful, even if undeniably present, showing that from a simple contraption we can manage to create beautiful things. For Kraftwerk fans it's a must, and for those of a curious nature it's an album well worth the time we dwell on it, especially at the price of $2.

Sylvain Lupari (August 27th, 2011) ***¾**

Available at Gustavo Jobim Bandcamp

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