Updated: Jan 19, 2021
Marcelo Armani (aka. Elefante Branco) is an Experimental multi-instrumentalist, composer, sound artist, and composer based in Canoas, Brazil. Experienced in sound engineering and cinematography, the plethora of creative influences within Marcelo comes out greatly in his music. Released on Veinte 33 Records on December 4, 2020, his new album, Thanks for the Photosynthesis is an abstract work of art that I found to be very impressive. Filled with drums, percussion, synthesizers, creative basslines, samples, and glockenspiels, Marcelo interjects an abundance of Jazz Fusion, Ambient, Funk, and Latin American roots music influences alongside his abstract, atonal, progressive approach to Electronic infused music composition. Overall, it's an intriguing blend of sonic depth and unconventional tonal and sonic sensibilities that gives the album an atmosphere akin to a Sci-Fi/Action film in an urban setting
"Continent Dynamics" starts with a dark, swelling drone and a funky groove that swells in and out under a swirl of robotic, space-like synths. "Mistaking Time" takes things to a more low key, Psychedelic level where Minimalist-like keyboard samples fluctuate subtly over delayed rimshot drumming - something I found incredibly unique. The more straightforward track, "The Electron Dance", is less flexible in its style and trudges ahead in a mechanical, robotic direction that reminds me very much of Kraftwerk. There's some very cool synth leads that emerge towards the later half of the track, although I think it is just a tad too long. "I Don't Know How to Samba" picks up the pace in a strong way. The heavily percussive sensibilities of this track are repetitive while offering some creative nuances and variations that are catchy enough to hold one's attention. I can see this serving as an abstract Hip-Hop beat. "A Night Breathing" is an abstract piece carried mainly by glockenspiels with a few buzzsaw sounding synths that appear faintly yet unexpectedly. It reminded me of a bit of the minimalist era composers such as Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and La Monte Young.
Things become a bit more dense on "Nausea of Human Particles". This is one of my favorite tracks on the album, as I enjoyed the polymetric, odd-time, percussive nature of the drumming that served as a nice contrast from the eerie synth patterns that made me think of Binaural Beats. "Small Mutations" is a dream-like, robotic work. Drenched in a grainy, noisy atmosphere, I enjoyed the futuristic synth patches incorporated over a faint bass-beat pulse that complimented the arrangement well. The closing track, "Reticular Conversations as a Reactionary Method" ends things on a more somber, Psychedelic note. The tonal clashing of the glockenspiels and the more melodic string patches leave the listener wondering if they're in a dream or a nightmarish setting. Nevertheless, the musical arrangement gave the song a "to be continued" sentiment within me - a feeling where I just "know" by the first listen that I will be coming back to this album for many repeat listens.
If you're looking for music with a unique hybrid of styles, sounds, rhythmic grooves, and electronic experimentation under a mostly atonal framework, then I recommend Marcelo Armani's newest release, Thanks for the Photosynthesis. You'll certainly catch a full glimpse of the creative genius that lies within the mind of this abstract musical visionary.