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.
♫ Sagração… 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
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