Boomkat Product Review:
The reissue you see before you is a real gem of an album, with original copies apparently trading for between $1000 and $1500 dollars. This is most certainly one of those albums you'd have a hard time classifying, but the words 'psych' and 'jazz' combined with the phrase 'rainforest vibes' would probably stand you in good stead. Each side of this delectable double vinyl gatefold is themed around the four elements (as in the classical ones: earth, fire, air and water, not the proper ones on the periodic table). Air, or 'Ar', begins with some suitably breezy, respiratory sounds. While elaborate acoustic guitar picking holds the first piece together, whistles, the sounds of breathing, flutes and birdsong all contribute towards an overwhelming sense of lightness and the passage of air. This only serves as a warm-up for the pysched weirdness that's around the corner though, with sax-based jazz flourishes and a general policy of tangled confusion coming across like a particularly outlandish Vanishing Voice CD-R. Over on the 'Terra' side, proceedings get underway with an almost Goblin-like bass groove, only for tribal rhythms and searing, acidic electric guitar leads to take over on the next track. As a final piece in the Earth cycle, a piano and flute duet fires up in ballad form, eventually embracing the duelling acoustic guitars from earlier, which adds some considerable technical muscle - unlike most psychedelic 'jam' records, this one is made by guys who can really play. The sounds get freakier still on the 'Fogo' side, with krautrocking distorted bass pulses and great, fuzzy guitar soloing. Yet another mode of performance is uncovered by the final 'Agua' sequence, with tribal a cappella vocal pieces, sitar ragas and what comes dangerously close to conventional folk songwriting. A befuddling, beautiful piece of work from mid-seventies Brazil.