Babe, Terror is a guy from Sao Paulo in Brazil who first came to my attention with a perplexing, but rather splendid EP late last summer. It was a weird confection of loops, overdubs and mal de mer melody. The debut album Weekend is even more out there. There is virtually no instrumentation on the album, save a few blasts of static on “Summertime Our League”. Instead the whole thing is constructed using looped, layered and manipulated vocals. On paper, it may sound like a fairly cheerless academic exercise – the reality is far from that.
Pitch lolls about like a buoy in a storm on many of the tracks. Few have anything that resemble lyrics (and those that do are unintelligible to me – probably because I don’t speak Portuguese, but maybe they’re not in any language anyway). Not everything is totally successful. Both “Weecandy” and “Punk Days” rely too heavily on reverb. And the restricted pallet means that one or two of the tracks don’t really stand out individually, but just kind of blend in with the general flow. The best moments, though, are outstanding.
The aforementioned “Summertime Our League” is built around a simple looped melody that has an angelic feel which resembles the Beach Boys mixed up with Medieval polyphony. The blasts of guitar static that puncture the reverie are almost shocking, and the reverb that is a little overused elsewhere becomes more and more extreme until the piece sounds as disorienting as harsh strobe lighting. “A Capital Federal” has a hymnal quality, again echoing Beach Boys tunes like the a capella “And Your Dreams Come True” from Summer Days and Summer Nights, before it dissolves into a simple repetition that is more akin to William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops series. There is almost a doowop quality to “Julebord”, although it’s a universe away from the world of diners, drugstores and Ford’s with huge tailfins.
I can imagine that this will be a record that splits opinion. You’ll either love its narcotic queasiness or absolutely loathe it. It’s not necessarily a comfortable listen, but there are moments of real beauty. It’s psychedelic in the purest sense of the word and sounds pretty much unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. That has to be a good thing, surely. Physical copies will appear in June, but I think downloads are available now.
1 Weecandy 3:39
2 Havai 6:49
3 Epicentro 5:19
4 Punk Days 1:23
5 Summertime Our League 7:52
6 A Capital Federal 6:36
7 Julebord 7:04
8 Um Desaparecimento 3:25