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Riveting turns of rhythmic psychedelia from Lisbon’s Serpente, pursuing the spirits of Alice Coltrane and Don Cherry via Fourth World gateways and spiralling broken beat vortices on their debut full-length for Ecstatic following that killer Prince/LinnDrum session last summer.
A masterful example of his take on Black Atlantic energies and cultural sub-currents, Bruno’s Silva’s Serpente draws thrilling, jagged lines between the ground-breaking jazz fusions of the ‘60s-‘70s and the Afro-Futurist pinnacles of ’90 Detroit and UK-based techno and their offshoots; broken beat, jungle, and “IDM”. Serpente’s style broadly collapses the psychedelia of his work as Ondness (Where To Now?, Holuzam, Sucata Tapes) into a more ravishing and arguably vital sound that frames a modern state of mind between utopian communism and dystopian paranoia.
Like last year’s cultishly acclaimed tribute to Prince’s ‘Parade’, Serpente’s follow-up comes to restlessly fulfil a physical and spiritual need for this kind of music right now. Looking back to go forward, it sidewinds into mazy multiples of polymetric rhythms, hypnotic drone and curious folk hooks that somehow gel with a fractious, rhythmelodic coherence that rudely acknowledges all that came before it.
Track to track he recalls the kaotic harmonies of Derrick May as much as Anthony Shakir’s sleight drum edits in ‘Novel De Fumo’, and the Reinforced cosmic rolige of Colin Lindo (Alpha Omega/ Nubian Mindz) or 4Hero - who were no strangers to the promise of spiritual jazz music and the Afro-Latin codes of Brazilian music - in ‘Em Sendo’, while the reticulated hot steppers ‘Visiticao’ and ‘Escalpe’ seamlessly bind roots and futurism in a singular, headlong style and the scudding ‘90s techno/IDM tone of ‘Razia’ surely recalls the rhythmic ingenuity and modern blueness of early Autchre.
This record feels unlocked and cosmically free compared with so much rictus, floor-based music, but with a grit and colour that can’t be denied on (currently imaginary) dance floors.