Brazil’s Discos Nada make very necessary introductions, where needed, to Jocy De Oliviera’s incredible avant-classical oeuvre, particularly her latter ‘80s/‘90s electronic operas, all available on vinyl for the first time - RIYL Pauline Oliveros, Lászlo Hortobágyi, Teresa Winter
Born 1936 in Curitiba, Brazil, Jocy was a prodigious pianist from an early age, which led her to the classical and avant-classical realms, and first performances of works by titans of c.20th composition - Igor Stravinsky, Oliver Messaien, Luciano Berio, Claudio Santoro, John Cage, Xenaxis and Karlheinz Stockhausen - during the radical musical shifts of the ‘60s. Naturally, she came to explore adjunct spheres of electro-acoustic and modal musics, also drawing on a love of poetry inherited from her poet mother, to conceive a rich artistic life that spilled into opera and multimedia, with a keen focus on the feminine sacred, ritualism, cosmology, and physics, developing a captivating, syncretic musical language in the process.
As implied by the title of this compilation, ‘Raga Na Amazonia’ showcases Jocy’s incredibly dilated, holistic artistic purview, as she innovates rhizomic links between far flung styles and ideas such as the mystic power of Indian Raga and Carnatic traditions, as well as the indeterminate music of John Cage, also drawing lines between Messaien’s transcriptions of bird calls and the Amazon’s abundant wildlife, and ultimately, the cosmic possibilities of electronic composition. This set renders for stunning examples of her work between the mid-‘80s and mid ‘90s, when she turned away from the piano and western music in order to explore live, improvised electronic composition, subsuming all the above into a remarkable style of electro-acoustic, operatic storytelling that prizes her chosen paradigm’s ability to transcend language and convey the mysteries of the unconscious.
Most crucially, Jocy’s music is guided by a timeless, storytelling tradition that makes it a real joy to explore. Opening with the aptly titled ‘Onirico’, a startling expo of her live skills with a Yamaha TX and DX7 synths, taken from the opera ‘Fata Morgana’ (1987), she bends times, space and minds with two necessarily durational ragas from the same opera, both flush with expressive Carnatic rhythms and beguiling tunings, and leaning more to Xenakis-like electronics in the 2nd, while the final work is taken from 1993’s ‘Inori À Prostituta Sagrada’ and expresses a sort of 4th world parallel to Pauline Oliveros, enriched with woodwind and brass, while Jocy’s synth really tickles the upper register timbres.