Melbourne’s Left Ear Records take a trip to Uruguay to release a collection of Candombe fusions. Music recorded in Montevideo by Mariana Ingold and friends between 1986 and 1991. The antipodean label, with considerable assistance from musical co-conspirator, Iowa`s Christopher J. Morris, has selected thirteen tracks from three of Mariana`s LPs, Todo Depende, Cambio De Lima, and Haace Calor. Recordings that document the freedoms allowed as the country moved from military dictatorship to civilian government. Combining then modern studio technology with traditional rhythms. This combination, on several pieces, bearing a similarity to the work of artists from neighbouring Brazil – Uruguay has Argentina to her west, and Brazil to her north and east – such as Maria Rita, and others captured on John Gomez` outstanding Outro Tempo compilations for Music From Memory. Tracks like Otros, Fue Ayer, Co-Autoria, and Cara A Cara – which gives this Left Ear collection its title). Electronic, avant, art pop, slow, sparse percussive mantras, that incorporate elements of ambient and new age. The strangely-synthed Ni Una Brisa actually reminded me of Robert Wyatt`s balearic / Amnesia favourite / oddity, his cover of Victor Jara`s Chilean protest song, Te Recuerdo Amanda.
But these more electronic tunes make up perhaps only one third of the album. It opens with the intricate acoustic picking and gentle organic percussion of Tiempo Leve, and closes with the whispered ballad, Asiestar. Both begetting further comparisons to Brazilian greats. In this case, Joyce Moreno and Mauricio Maestro. When Mariana`s collaborator, Eduardo Mateo, takes over vocal duties on Corazones Solitarios – an eccentric rhythmic experiment with squeezebox-like keys – they sound Tom Ze.
The remainder of the record is party of piano-led upbeat, uptempo jazz-dancers. Capitulos, La Del Domingo, Sin Tus Pestañas and Trasnoche. Joyful vocals, electric jazz guitar solos, and timbale timpani. If I`m allowed one more Brazilian reference then it would be Tania Maria.
You can find out more about Mariana Ingold`s Cara A Cara – with artwork and extensive sleeve notes by Christopher J. Morris – over at the Left Ear Records site. You’ll also be able to order a copy directly from their bandcamp page.