Fabiano Do Nascimento: Tempo Dos Mestres

Awe-inspiring and all analog, Fabiano Do Nascimento fuses music and nature deep in the Amazon rainforest with enchanting results.

Fabiano Do Nascimento

Tempo Dos Mestres

Label: Now-Again
US Release Date: 2017-02-17
UK Release Date: 2017-02-17

Sometimes, perhaps too often, music becomes a competition, a race to be the fastest and the newest, to be razor-sharp and halfway to the stratosphere from the outset. Sometimes, fire and flash are the only ways for a new record to grab hold of an audience oversaturated with countless musical options, and what should be a release becomes another source of stress, a barrage of volume and media play.

Fabiano Do Nascimento doesn't fall into those traps. He neither overthinks nor overproduces on sophomore release Tempo dos Mestres, a transcendent work whose sounds take their cues from indigenous South American cultures as surely as they do the distinctly Brazilian jazz stylings of avant-garde legends like Airto Moreira (who counts himself among Do Nascimento's fans and collaborators) and Hermeto Pascoal. Do Nascimento taps into the spirit of the Amazon -- the river, the rainforest, the entire region -- and from it pours forth unfettered analog beauty, recorded straight to tape with no overdubs. To call it magic would be too dismissive of the work Do Nascimento has put into translating both the stunning natural landscapes and rich musical history of Brazil from his perceptions to this album. Blood, sweat, deep love all play vital roles in building the atmosphere of Tempo dos Mestres.

Central to the album is, of course, Do Nascimento's classical guitar work. On opening track "Planalto", he whips up a flurry of fast and varied notes, a solid two minutes of precise acoustic strings strummed so densely that, though clean and quick, the track is lush, a melodic canopy to fall into with eyes shut. From there, the strings continue, joined by backing vocals, percussion, sax, and flute, each addition more enchanting than the last. Sometimes, easy samba beats glide into the mix, as well; they aren't the strongest moments, but they still sparkle, and they give the album a light touch instead of letting it sink beneath the weight of its impressive atmosphere.

That atmosphere, though, is where the album finds its center, when the percussion sounds like jungle noises and the strings level out into simpler patterns. Drenched in emotion, love song "Já que tú" balances Do Nascimento's skill for sonic layering with a perfect amount of breathing room, and single "Louva-a-Deus 'Mantis'" portrays its titular insect with lilting flute skittering through a semblance of steam and rain, taking a close look at a truly tiny piece of a brilliant ecosystem.

Songs like "Baião", "Brasileirinho", and "Sambando" add a familiar warmth to the mix, something closer to jazzier, more internationally well-known Brazilian exports. "Canto de Xangô" and "O Tempo" channel the softer moments of the Tropicália movement, though Do Nascimento strips them down in keeping with his gentler style. The album ends with the wistful "Matrisadan", a song for humid nights, filled with cool breezes rushing through silvery windchimes. It ends with a clear view to the starry heavens -- a final strum across Do Nascimento's guitar.

To feel awe is to heal a human soul with wonder, to be immersed in something larger than day-to-day life. Tempo Dos Mestres is an album inspired by scenes full of awe, and one that puts those scenes and senses into music. Fabiano Do Nascimento has accomplished something truly monumental: a singularly beautiful fusion, organic and seamless, of skillful music and raw, immense nature. This is a break from the unimportant, an album to give into and to love.


Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.