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Jorge Antunes – Musica Electronica (1975) review

Jorge Antunes – Musica Electronica (Originally released on Mangione Edition in 1975; reissue on Mental Experience via Guerssen Records, 2016)

Antunes saved these recordings from the original magnetic tapes he recorded over 50 years ago. He carefully reconstructed the music for release in 1975 and at the time it was the first electroacoustic album ever released in Brasil. This reissue makes these important historical recordings available to a wider audience, with some politically sensitive material that was excised from the original recordings reinstated. The tracks can be appreciated both as experimental, minimalist drones or soothing, ambient messages from outer space. Either way, detailed liner notes explain the recording process and inspiration behind each recordings. The multipart opening suite was inspired by Vassili Vassilikos, author of the political thriller, Z, and finds Antunes building tension as he traverses through various sound frequencies. This may appeal more to academics, as there is really no “song” here to speak of, although the sounds he experiments with are very emotional.
     ‘Cinta Cita’ is a fun collection of bleeps and bloops that recall the sounds of an arcade room coupled with the robotic noises that Bebe and Louis Barron created for the soundtrack to Forbidden Planet. ‘Auto-Retrato sobre Paisaje Porteño’ finds fun and games with an old scratchy record Antunes found in a junk shop in Buenos Aires. Proving that a master sound manipulator can turn junk into art, Antunes plays with the inherent rhythm created by the lock groove the scratch in the record causes, manipulating the sound into a musical dance, an electronic, glitchy samba!
Granted, it is unlikely that the casual listener will play these tracks more than once, but historians and fans of the Conet Project, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and the eclectic OHM: Early Gurus of Electronic Music box set (on which Antunes does not appear) will thoroughly enjoy this intriguing collection of far out sounds from way out.

- Jeff Penczak
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