Album Reviews

Apollo Nove – Res Inexplicata Volans

(Ziriguiboom) UK release date: 24 October 2005

With home studio boys like Prefuse 73 andL Pierre making some of the best digitalisedrecords of 2005, you may be forgiven for not lookingfurther afield for other master manipulators of musicsoftware. However, curio seekers may want to check outthe first album of Brazil’s Apollo Nove.

Res Inexplicata Volans showcases the soundscapingskills of the antique-synth nut, and over twelve lushpieces, the in-demand producer might even have aslow-burning crossover hit on his hands. Particularlyif the world agrees that its been waiting for dub andbossa nova recasts of Glen Campbell andAC/DC mothballs (Children Of The Sun and I’m ARocker respectively). And on this showing, there’s noreason why it shouldn’t.

Apollo Nove isn’t sailing this particular spaceshipalone of course. Ras Inexplicata Volansrecruits the help of chanteuse Cibelle, SeuJorge (City Of God‘s Knockout Ned),Air engineer Yann Artaud and is chops-solidwith Latin veteran players adding multiple shades oftechnicolour vibrancy.

Like Sue Jorge’s Cru album earlier thisyear, there’s more than a hint of a keen eye on theEuropean market, with echoes of Viennese music maker’sKruder & Dorfmeister‘s border-crossingsensibilities. Opener Mr Right Now exudes rootlessechoey exotica but is no more than a taster for whatis to come.

Deceptively diverse, Apollo Nove is capable ofshifting stylistic moods within the same track withoutlosing any narrative flow. Yage Cameras smoulders witheffects-laden afro-latino funk before Cibelle’s vocalsignals a gear change into David Byrne / Brian Enostyle shamanism. Joe Meek-ish moongazing issuggested before Inexplicta slips into its woozy,Hammond-infused presence, and while arcane drum loops(reminiscent of nothing less than Timmy Thomas‘classic Why Can’t We Live Together?) underpinthe Moon Safari textures of 86.

Though a world away from the fuzz-pedalpsychedelics of Sau Paolo’s Os Mutantes, ResInexplicata Volans harks back to the 60’s art /intellectual Tropicalismo movement once spearheaded byGilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso. And itsjust possible that living in the world’s mosteconomically divided city has had an effect on ApolloNove’s muse.

War, the obligatory dig at Dubya and his cronies(is it in the musician’s union that every album has tohave one now?), posits blissy atmospherics as anantidote for international aggression. Once you’veheard the pre-emptive strike of War’s balm-likekeyboards, you’ll know which is preferable.

And if Apollo Nove is keen on changing attitudes,he needn’t try too hard. Between his laser-soft synthpulses and the snowdrift churn of the bass, SeuJorge’s cooing vocalisms on Ensaboar Voce are of suchharmonic sweetness as to make Ian Paisley suck facewith Gerry Adams. And as slyly erotic latin spaceballads go, Ensoboar Voce is hard to beat.

Before the stellar similes get too much, it shouldbe noted that Res Inexplicata Volans (“unexplainedflying thing”) is Vatican lexicon for a UFO. At thevery least, Apollo Nove’s premier collection is proofthat it’s not such a lonely planet after all.

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Apollo Nove – Res Inexplicata Volans