Review by Artemi Pugachov (Encyclopedia of Electronic Music, www.pugachov.ru/eem
"Belles Alliances" sees Gustavo Jobim collaborating with other musicians worldwide, both famous and not so famous.
The first track is done with the Chorlton Radiophonic Workshop from the UK. It's a relatively short, 5+ minute piece called "I Tasted Jobim". Yeah, right. It starts with a great resonant sequence, until some melancholic sounds and a bit of Mellotron strings appear. Some reflective guitar playing can be heard, as well as some tasty experimental sounds. The piece has a hazy, ambient feel, in spite of it being fairly rhythmical and active. Floating pads come towards the 3-minute mark and then suddenly a voice appears, reciting an English text, shifting duties with a vocoder. Interesting stuff...
"Joan Mitchell's Ici" is next and at 16+ minutes it is the longest composition of this album. It was created in collaboration with That Hideous Strength from the USA. Low synths and drones start this spooky piece, as experimental electronics add a nice touch. Real drums appear, together with fuzzy guitar sounds. This is some intense, doomy music which is half synthetic and half guitar-based but is totally out-there. If you liked some of the heavier moments of Hawkwind, you ought to like this as well. After 8 minutes the track shoots itself into space with upbeat sequences, heavy drums and heavily processed guitar. This is a Space Rock fan's dream!
An untitled track with Nathan Siter comes next. What we hear here are basically some spooky effects and drones. So, this is the Dark Ambient piece of this album. And not a bad one, too. If you're into the genre - check it out. Beware, that there are some pretty grating and harsh textures towards the end of the piece, so I suggest that you don't listen to it at high volume.
Another untitled track, this time with Conrad Schnitzler, follows. It's a short piece that only slightly exceeds the 2-minute length. It features avantgardistic piano playing and... this is it. Pretty simple but a nice interlude all the same.
"Musica Sem Nome", recorded with Helder Correia (Portugal) is next. Electric piano is combined with some growling synths and a bass throb. A nice melodic theme is introduced to what sounds like the most accessible piece so far. Some heavy bass sequences are introduced and the track becomes urgent, rhythmic and repetitive. A superfast bass drum rhythm is added to what now sounds like an outtake from a Hardcore / Gabber compilation. Nice try.
A short piece "Crepusculum" is next, done in collaboration with Brazilian Amyr Cantusio Jr. (aka Amir Cantusio aka Alpha III). Cosmic synthesizers arranged in cyclical patterns are heard. Background melodic pads and piano clusters add a nice touch to this very harmonic and enjoyable number. Pity it's too short, though.
"Will-o'-the-Wisp" with Robert Jaz (USA) is next and it's a much more experimental affair, with repeating bass notes and synth improvisation on top.
"Summer Breeze" is done with someone from Germany who calls himself "Member". Organ chords reveal beautiful clusters of piano notes. A Froesean guitar is heard but the main sounds (the chords and the piano) remain rather static.
An untitled track with Daniel Bordini follows. It features a repeated melody and some heavy wind effects. Very soon an acoustic guitar sound appears and a slow dubby rhythm chugs along nicely in a relaxed and serene manner.
And yet another untitled track with Brazilian Leandro Theodorico follows. It's full of absolutely crazy sounds and effects. This avant-garde and somewhat chaotic piece reminded me on some Robin Julian Heifetz stuff I've heard on a few samplers released by Electroshock.
"Abstract Painted Train" is next. It's a piece done in collaboration with Norwegian Noise artist Ronny Waernes. Accordingly, this piece is quite intense and heavy, with distorted sequences and grating sounds / effects. Well, to be exact, this track is basically a barrage of noise. There are different sounds here, but they are processed to the point where they become a painful wall of sound.
"Cyprinodotinform Manifesto" is a short piece of abstract electronics and English text recited by Justynn Tyme from the USA.
"Belles Alliances" has something for everyone and with a variety of styles displayed here, it's difficult to recommend it to any particular group of listeners. However, it's difficult not to recommend it either, as there's some top-notch stuff in there. Best track: undoubtedly, "Joan Mitchell's Ici" with second best being "Crepusculum".