Victor Gama
Pangeia Instrumentos

By The Felonious Punk

 
Just every now and then a record comes along that is not only an absolute pleasure to listen to but opens your mind once again to the almost limitless possibilities that music presents. Victor Gama's Pangeia Instrumentos is such an album. The Pangeia Instrumentos that lend their name to the album are Gama's own exquisite creations: bells, thumb pianos, chimes, gongs, rainsticks all built from merging traditional African instruments with commonly found local objects including, amongst others, soldiers' helmets from the recent period of war and upheaval in his native Angola. The project of building and refining of these instruments – each often played with two or more people – attempts to create a collective experience by tying together the old and new and removing political and cultural barriers and is as much a part of the process as the music itself.

Artistic context behind us it is the music that matters and it is the music that really doesn't disappoint. The sounds created on these beautiful sonic sculptures are hypnotic and otherworldly: percussive loops built from the barest of components that square the circle between gamelan music, the work of turn of the century composers such as Eric Satie, and the music of the twentieth century minimalists such as Phillip Glass.

At an hour long, you might expect an album almost solely comprised of minimal bangs and chimes to begin to drag after just a few minutes but that couldn't be any further from the truth. In fact for the first two days I had this album it was on constant repeat. The sound of instruments so fresh to ears constantly assaulted by all the sounds a modern studio can create was a joy: melodies pitched somewhere between a lullaby, folk songs and devotional music immerse the listener in a warm space that at once refreshes and stimulates the mind.
 
Without a doubt one of the most groundbreaking releases on Rephlex in quite a time, Pangeia Instrumentos is inspiring, beautiful and rewarding. A truly gorgeous record that makes you give thanks for a label like Rephlex that has the vision to look beyond the increasingly massed ranks of soundalike electronica artists and the courage to use their position to promote music that otherwise few would get to hear.
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