Music Reviews

Simone Sou, Guilherme Kastrup, Benjamin Taubkin

Sounds Of Life


Adventure Music

Formats available: CD

Sounds Of Life is charged with energy and innovative rhythms, but not in commonplace way. On it a very special cast of highly talented musicians create percussive haunting and beautiful music, but there is a caveat, the listener has to be patient (and this listener was not patient enough for one track) because it is not always familiar. The music varies from grand flowing piano to ringing percussion miniatures, from sampled voices to classical, it is jazz, it is samba, it is many things. The musicians who create all of the above are a very unusual mix of talents. Benjamin Taubkin (piano) has made an artform of unifying contrasting rhythms.  On Al Qantara/The Bridge he collaborated with Moroccan musicians. Here Taubkin shares the musical space with percussionists Simone Sou and her partner Guilherme Kastrup, but percussionist is a very loose description of what they do so well. It would be far more appropriate to describe them as sound creators who use percussion, sampling, mixing and voice to form enchanting rhythms and harmonies. I half expected to hear a theremin so diverse is their palette.

This album grows on a listener, it is constructed from what appear to be musical tales with chapters inserted in them, some of the tracks are made up of as many as three parts. The parts are related to one another but often quite loosely, but that hardly matters. The music is compelling from the very start, but each time the album is replayed it becomes more special and more compelling. There is a strong presence of jazz, Caribbean styles, samba and African themes. The interaction between styles that verge on the avant garde and native themes is constant. Yet it cannot be described as world music. The album mixes world sounds to create a unique individual signature of its own.  Sounds of Life is also well recorded, it has a live feel even though various electronic effects are constantly present. There are three stand out tracks: Pifaiada, Gota D’Agua and Mozambik Bembe. This is a very special album that’s worth every Grosch, Piastre, Lireta or Drachma you have to pay.

Reuben Klein


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