Artist: Brasil and the Gallowbrothers Band
Title: Hi Brasil is where we are
Label: Monotype Records
Genre: Experimental Ambient / Nu-jazz / Tribal / Ethereal
02 Journey Begins
03 Connect to a Land
04 At the Coast
06 How is it to be Happy
Brasil and the Gallow Brothers Band is a fairly underground Polish Tribal Ambient / Psych project born out of the ashes of short-lived One Inch of Shadow whom saw releases consecutively on Nefryt sublabel Malachit and Perun, a label I only know for their release of Stone Breath's “The Long Lost Friend: A Patchwork”. When Brasil and the Gallow Brothers Band formed, their first release was on the surprisingly consistent Last Visible Dog Records with “The Band Plays on, The Dunes move on”. This is surprising for me as the style of music that Brasil play is a bit more structured and song-oriented than the improv / psych structures you can typically find with most of their artists. Regardless, after this release, Brasil found Monotype Records and, with the exception of one last release on Nefryt, began working solely with them, first with “Legionowo”, and now with “Hi Brasil is where we are”.
Hi Brasil is definitely a release that many will find trouble putting their finger on. Perhaps the few constants on the album can be narrowed down to ethereal, tribal, and jazz influences. There are a large array of percussive elements consistent throughout the release including bells, hand drums, cowbell, and your typical kit-styled toms and bass. Gongs, claves, and shakers are also present but seem to be utilized primarily in the climax moments of each track. Most of Hi we are Brasil showcase a very laid-back atmosphere behind the tribal drums that are put together primarily with Korg synthmods and keyboards, e-bow guitars, and trumpet with a nice amount of reverb on it. There are a number of instruments apparent in the booklet as well that I don't realize, but they're all certain to play their part in an educated manner.
The reason I know this is because unlike the sloppy and overly artistic nature that you are doomed to hear with most bands of this caliber, who often attempt a bizarre style of improvisation, Brasil and the Gallow Brothers Band seem to have mastered something new in combination. A textured appeal that will certainly appeal to fans of many areas of music. Shoegaze followers will find warmth in the gentle and delayed error displayed in the release, while artsy jazz / trip hop fans a la Portishead may really get into the minimal solo guitar and trumpet-laced melodies found throughout every track. The tribal drums will give addicts of a beat reason to be listening and will also appeal to the former jazz / trip hop fans who are more on the jazz side than the heavenly voice side. Vocals are present but they're mainly used as an addition to atmosphere as they're hardly audible.
This is an album that you have to give a chance, as it gets better as it rolls along and gets better with multiple listens after you figure out what the band is about. At first it can start sounding like a typical experimental walk in the park, but truthfully these guys really have it together. Its very, very tight, much like the avant-jazz ambient textures of Russia's Joan Silver Pin, but somehow less foreboding. Hi Brasil is where we are is strangely inviting, warm. I have to admit that I have no idea what the album artwork and the recurring monkey theme have to do with the sound that these guys create other than perhaps the tribal atmosphere and the use of the instruments that I'm not familiar with, but don't go expecting some run through the jungle because this is far from. Unexpectedly precise, and certainly an album that will go down as a lost gem.