Strangelove`s first release plundered two pieces of Portuguese pop, and the New Zealand-based label finds itself back in Lisbon for its latest outing, Electricidade Estetica. The new LP collecting selections from the archives of DWART, the duo of Manuela and Antonio Duarte.
I think only one of the tracks has been released before. Mate featured on Música Moderna Portuguesa 2.º Volume, issued by Dansa Do Som in 1986. A set intended as an aural snapshot of Lisbon`s then underground scene. The tune is a definite highlight on Electricidade Estetica. A piece of downtempo alternative dance. Its combination of tribal tom toms, clipped guitar and treated vocals (think Die Dominas` Die Wespendomina) is eccentric enough to gyrate alongside the afro / cosmic of Kendang`s Born In Borneo. Or the proto-new beat of Jeff & Jane Hudson’s Mystery Chant.
Nothing else on the compilation is quite as groovy, except the short Swing da Rocinha. Whose bubbling, gurgling circuitry and edited guitar loops could be a funky post-Bush Of Ghosts Eno. A one minute burst of a strong flash of light. But the ambient remainder is no less interesting. Synesthesia is the kind of electronic experiment you’d expect to find on RVNG Intl. or Music From Memory. On a par with pioneers such as K. Leimer and Vitto Ricci. The “found sounds” on Aqua Alta – rushing water, crashing surf, whale song, and assorted seabirds, including loons – mixed with slow, courtly piano and synthesized drone, create an atmosphere that’s like Rex Illusivi`s Moon Cage suspended above the Iberian Peninsula. Opala is melodic kosmische. Boards Of Canada making over Harmonia or Cluster.
Wooden marimba, “electric Miles”-like wah-wah, and cicada buzz. Po das Estrelas pulls in fourth world comparisons. Keep In Touch (Far East Mix) is a glitch symphony. Twisting out of what sounds like a sampled Chinese state ceremony. It`s Fennesz fizz caught in crystalline echo, phased and made metallic. The sort of lush organic-electro that Black Dog used to do. Like an ancient ritual sent back from the future.
You can order a copy of DWART`s Electricidade Estetica directly from Strangelove Music. There`s a super limited run available in sleeves hand-painted by Manuela.