Tag: Gilberto Gil

Closing Eyes · You Can Have Everything

Oslo’s Closing Eyes — Eirik Asker Pettersen, Magnus Asker Pettersen, Emilie Lium Vordal, Anders Emil Rønning and Jørgen Bjella — are a rising indie act, who has developed a sound and approach that’s inspired by an eclectic array of influences including Yo La Tengo, Stereolab, Spiritualized, The Velvet Underground, The Electric Prunes, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Gilberto Gil, The Magnetic Fields, and The Soft Bulletin-era The Flaming Lips. 

With the release of 2014’s debut EP Melodies for the Contemporary Mind, which led to them opening for Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier — and their full-length debut, 2018’s Soft Years, the act started to receive quite a bit of attention from the Norwegian press. Adding to a growing profile, the act played several showcases in their native Norway and they opened for The Brian Jonestown Massacre. They ended a big 2018 with the the 12-inch effort Reworked, which featured remixes from Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, Young Dreams and Serena Maneesh.

The members of the rising Norwegian indie act spent last year writing and recording their recently released Emil Nikolaisen-produced sophomore album Eternal Fidelity.  The album highlights a band that has grown more confident while crafting material that’s nostalgic yet modern, centered around big chords and sentimental melodies.  “Sometimes I try very hard to hold on to something but it just feels like it’s slipping through my fingers. Ideals, dreams, identities or friendships are all things that live so strongly and easily when we’re young but often seem to lose footing as we grow older,” the band’s Eirik Asker Pettersen says of the album’s overall vibe and themes. “Convictions that seem so solid can suddenly dissolve and become unresolved issues. I don’t think we’re too good at dealing with that. Mostly, Eternal Fidelity is about those feelings. It’s about trying to hold on, let go and make sense of it all. It’s about clinging to what’s important even though it might not be easy all the time.”  

Eternal Fidelity‘s latest single is the woozy “You Can Have Everything.” Centered around shimming and arpeggiated blocks of keys, boom bap-like drums, fuzzy power chords and an rousingly anthemic hook, the song manages to a woozy and achingly nostalgic song that evokes the rapid passing of time, as well as the constantly changing priorities and responsibilities of adult life. Life changes you after all; it does that very well.




Comprised of Adriana Giordano (vocals), Meese Agrawal Tonkin (flute), Rosalynn De Roos (clarinet), Jamie Maschler (accordion), Mike Withey (piano), Adam Kozie (drums) and Martin Strand, the Seattle, WA-based septet En Canto specialize in a sound that meshes several distinct genres of Brazilian music, including Forro, the dance music of Northeastern Brazil; samba, which is probably Brazil’s most popularly known and beloved genre; and choro within a repertoire that features both originals, as well as reworked and re-imagined covers of classic Brazilian hits. Interestingly, as the story goes the Seattle, WA-based septet can trace their origins to four years ago when the individual members were at a North American celebration of Brazilian music in the California Redwoods. What the-then future members of En Canto quickly noticed, every instrument and stage was dominated by men — the women in attendance were expected to sing, cheer or act demure. And what male maestros, audiences and fellow performers here and in Rio have quickly learned since En Canto’s formation is that the ladies in the band simply don’t do the demure thing. “We love this music because of its compositional brilliance, its original grooves, and its revolutionary nature. It has roots in post-colonialism, in cultural battles for class and racial equality,” accordionist Jamie Maschler explains in press notes “Why wouldn’t it also inspire gender equality?”

Primarily playing in North American venues, the Seattle-based septet have developed a reputation for being fiercely independent, challenging stereotypes within Brazilian music, while also helping audiences expand their comfort zones. As the band’s Adam Kozie explains in press notes “We make people dance. We routinely open our concerts to a room full of shy, awkward faces, and we close them to a sweat-drenched melee of bodies and smiles. We experience real joy when we play these songs, and people feel that, and they respond in kind, regardless of whether they understand the words or know the ‘right’ dance moves. It was the same for each us at one point when we first heard Luiz Gonzaga or Gilberto Gil—we were provoked and then captured by the music, and we feel honored to be able to offer our own interpretations of it.”

After spending a month in Brazil, the members of En Canto went into the studio to record their full-length debut Solto por Jeri, which translates from Brazilian Portuguese to English as Released to Jeri, a nickname for Jericocoara, Ceara, an old fishing village on the Brazil’s Atlantic coast, and a region of the country that adores Forro — the most popular genre of music and dance in Northeastern Brazil. Immersed in the culture that inspired the genre, the members of the band wound up in the middle of impromptu jam sessions, which then became writing sessions for the album.

“Elas,” which I have the unique pleasure of premiering here on this site begins with a slow-burning intro that has the band pairing Giordano’s gorgeous vocals with a breezy melody consisting of twisting and turning clarinet, accordion and flute notes punctuated with shuffling percussion that quickly turns into a salsa-like samba section consisting of gorgeous bop-era jazz-inspired piano, staccato percussion. The entire composition possesses a sleek, coquettish yet confident sensuality while subtly revealing the septet’s playfully and charmingly modern take on Brazilian music  and on genres that are largely unfamiliar to North American ears. Granted, as a native of Queens, NYC, one of the most diverse places on Earth, En Canto’s sound is familiar as it evokes the streets of parts of Astoria, Jackson Heights and Corona as well as my folks record collections — in particular my mom is a huge fan of Brazilian music, so I’ve heard a fair amount of it as a child. Bout my hope is that Seattle’s En Canto and contemporaries will introduce folks to  one of the world’s great dance music genres.