Nuno Canavarro

Plux Quba

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Plux Quba, a mysterious recording by the even more mysterious Portuguese musician Nuno Canavarro, was originally issued in 1988 only to disappear without a trace before being rescued from oblivion by Jim O'Rourke in 1998 for release on his Moikai label. It's easy to hear why the music herein would appeal to O'Rourke and also why it has come to be recognized as a seminal work of electronic music, influencing several post-modern groups that would gain prominence in the '90s, including Mouse on Mars and Oval. The general texture of the album's sounds tends toward the soft and bell like, with rhythms that flow in and out of strict time. There is also the recurring use of a melodica and taped voices, the latter usually altered and sometimes played in reverse. The voices are often very low in the mix, almost subliminal, and, indeed, some of the disc sounds eerily similar in approach to Robert Ashley's composition "Automatic Writing" in terms of the dreamlike, semiconscious feel achieved. Even the scattering of titles among the tracks with numerous songs left unnamed contributes to this dreamy character. There are also subtle hints of folk melodies surfacing from time to time, providing enough of an earthy linkage to ensure that the music never comes close to new age territory. Plux Quba is quite a fascinating release, both enjoyable and intriguing on its own, and also as a critical historical document making clear to the listener that certain ideas were in the air long before the public was aware of them. It's well worth picking up for the fan of exploratory ambient music, and for those interested in late 20th century experimental music in general.

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