Nuno Rebelo – Sagração Do Mês De Maio

Nuno Rebelo – Sagração Do Mês De Maio 2xlp front cover
Nuno Rebelo – Sagração Do Mês De Maio 2xlp back cover
Nuno Rebelo – Sagração Do Mês De Maio 2xlp spread
Nuno Rebelo – Sagração Do Mês De Maio 2xlp disc1 side 2

Portuguese improviser and composer Nuno Rebelo, born 1960, first performed in pop bands Street Kids (1980-82) – with Nuno Canavarro – and Mler ife Dada (1983-89). If this is any indication, both Rebelo and Canavarro studied architecture. In the late 1980s, Rebelo turned to improvisation and experimental music. He founded Plopoplot Pot (1990-92) and Poliploc Orkeshtra (1993-95), the latter specializing in silent film music. Apart from his regular bands, Rebelo plays guitar and electronics with leading improvisers and composes music for choreography, art exhibitions and theater. See his official website.

Sagração Do Mês De Maio was Rebelo’s first solo LP, published in 1989 by Portuguese label Valentim De Carvalho in a joint venture with EMI, of which VDC was the official Portuguese distributor at the time. The music, commissioned by Associaçao Cultural Manobras for their 3rd fashion show titled Manobras de Maio, was recorded between February and May 1988. The title means Rites of May and refers to Stravinsky’s Rites of Spring (1913). The subtitle is Primeira Sinfonia Falsificada, or First pseudo-symphony.

Nuno RebeloSagração… is entirely composed with MIDI sounds and programming. The Musical Instrument Digital Interface protocol allowed easy programming of any number of tracks together and portability between MIDI-compatible machines, like synthesizer, drum machine or sampler. It was favored by musicians wanting to experiment with multi-track programming on several electronic instruments at the same time. Each side of Sagração… consists of 7 to 8 parts combined into one long piece without break. These epic compositions blend gracious, even elegiac melodic lines with strong, often asymmetric, time signatures with rhythm provided by synth or drum machine. The opening sequence, with its flute-y meandering sounds, does indeed recall the solo bassoon’s high notes in the Rites of Spring‘s introduction, and one is tempted to imagine other comparisons with Stravinsky’s pagan ritual. But Sagração… is also comparable with other MIDI- or sequencer-inclined musicians of the 1980s, like the Dead Goldfish Ensemble or L.G. Mair, Jr., or even Rimarimba‘s Chicago Death Excretion Geometry.

Sagração Do Mês De Maio (Rites of May)
1ª Sinfonia Falsificada (First pseudo-symphony)

01 Disc 1, side 1 (19:54)
02 Disc 1, side 2 (20:26)
03 Disc 2, side 1 (15:48)
04 Disc 2, side 2 (18:02)

Total time 74:10
2xLP released by EMI-Valentim De Carvalho, Portugal, 1989


.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .    .

More Portuguese music on Continuo’s:
Telectu – Rosa Cruz >
Rafael Toral – live recording >
Vítor Rua et al. – Vidya >
Antologia de Música Electrónica Portuguesa >

* *

11 Responses to “Nuno Rebelo – Sagração Do Mês De Maio”

  1. 1 Joaquín Mendoza Sebastián June 20, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Very interesting album! …I’ll look for some Dead Goldfish Ensemble… any recomendation?

    thank you as always


  2. 2 continuo June 20, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Unfortunately, there are no Dead Goldfish Ensemble cassettes currently available on any blog. Some mp3s are offered on this page and two excerpts are uploaded on this Russian page, and a complete cassettography can be found here. I had the delicious Music For Bowls back in the 1980s, but not any more, unfortunately. Stephen Hartwell, the man behind Dead Goldfish Ensemble, is still waiting to be discovered by music bloggers.

  3. 4 continuo June 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Glad you appreciate the effort.

  4. 5 Joaquín Mendoza Sebastián June 21, 2011 at 4:13 am the 80’s I was just a’s a shame nothing is avaliable…

    I’m currently working on a MIDI ‘percussion’ composition, so this record is a nice auditive inspiration.


  5. 6 continuo June 21, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Good luck with your MIDI project.

  6. 8 continuo June 21, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    If that’s not lobbying…!

  7. 9 Stephen Hartwell February 12, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    As it says on the website you can have the entire works of the Dead Goldfish Ensemble on CD for a modest fee (just email It is always nice to discover some-one who had one of my cassettes – they really are quite rare!

  8. 10 nuno rebelo July 23, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Thanx for your comments on my now-distant-music! It was so long ago and my music changed so much since then! Anyway, just wanted to comment that in those days MIDI was at the very begginning and home computers too. The entire work was composed with a yamahaCX5M computer which had a software that allowed to sequence up to a maximum of 8 monophonic tracks, by placing the notes on a staff with the mouse. Another huge limitation was that it had only 2 modes for playing: from the beggining or from a certain point of the piece, although in this last case it would be silent for a lot of minutes untill suddenly start to play (sometimes i had to wait almost 30 minutes to hear the last developments i did to the music). So, actually, it wasn’t that easy… It was a lot of work, a lot of patience and persistence!

  9. 11 continuo July 24, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Hi, Nuno. Thanks for your comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: