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Album Review

Uakti's second album continues their string of undefinable work. As usual, they sound vaguely like Philip Glass, J.S. Bach, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and a random representative of electronic music as they bang and blow instruments that they mostly invented themselves. Although some of their creations are truly strange, like the "aqualung" (which is played by running water through it), most are variations of the xylophone, tuned drums, piccolo, and fiddle. They use the discrete sounds of the percussion instruments to build a background of rhythm and counterpoint, while placing the continuous sounds of winds and the occasional fiddle with slow, droll melodies in the foreground. The effect, as on "Dança Dos Meninos," is like a toy symphony. Sometimes, as on "Trilobita," the pattern is broken by the omission of the normal melody instruments: everything is percussion, creating a sound that is fast-paced yet eerie due to the low, hollow sound of some of the tuned drums. The title song continues the eerie mood with a very deliberate beat played behind thin wind instruments and a jangly, metallic enigma that sounds like a harpsichord played with a bow. Half the album is devoted to one song, titled "A Lenda." It evokes atmosphere with its sounds of running water (the aqualung, no doubt) and an instrument in the background that sounds like a bird or monkey crying in the distance. Still, it is a shapeless, baggy monster of a piece, redeemed only by an interlude about three minutes in of incredible, ethereal beauty, sounding like a small organ accompanied by someone blowing over the mouth of a giant bottle. Unfortunately, the album is marred by its final track, an attempt to play Ravel's Bolero on percussion instruments. The idea is not objectionable in itself, but the drums used were largely untuned. However, Mapa is a fascinating album, even if the musicians have not figured out how to define their efforts successfully.


Genre: Classical

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

The Uakti are a quartet formed in 1978 by Marco Antônio Guimarães (musical director and main composer), Paulo Sérgio dos Santos, Artur Andrés Ribeiro, and Décio de Souza Ramos; the musicians have classical backgrounds and play with the Minas Gerais Symphonic Orchestra. The Uakti is devoted to extracting an extremely musical result from instruments made from PVC tubes, wood, glass, tin cans, and the like. Their name was taken from an ancient legend from the Tukano Indians of the Alto Rio Negro region...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Uakti

Mapa, Uakti
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: World, Music, Latino
  • Released: Mar 10, 1992

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