Compilations / Mixes
:papercutz: Do outro lado do espelho (Lylac ambient reworks)
It's wonderful to see Bruno Miguel's :papercutz project receive newfound exposure through the Audiobulb imprint and to see his electro-acoustic pop re-interpreted by an impressive cast of kindred spirits, with Helios, Simon Scott, Taylor Deupree, Jasper TX, and Ramses III a sampling of the high-calibre names involved. A set of ambient-styled reworks of the last :papercutz album Lylac, the hour-long collection's title, Do outro lado do espelho, translates from the Portugese as “on the other side of the looking glass.” Enough remains of Lylac's sound for the listener new to Miguel's world to derive some sense of his :papercutz style. The vocals, marimbas, pianos, and electronics heard in his originals aren't removed but instead added to and re-shaped by the contributors—each one looking upon an original from the other side of his/her own respective glass.
Though the album title reads Lylac Ambient Reworks, the dozen tracks hardly hew to a single style. The album alternates between electronic songs (restrained and extroverted) and soundscapes in such a way that a funky, uptempo treatment (The Astroboy's “Lost Boys”) is followed by an instrumental soundscape (Jasper TX's stately “Broken treasure”) of wholly different character. Rameses III's “Inside The Nimbus Machine” vocal-less makeover of “Ultravioleta” takes a five-minute plunge into ambient soundscaping haze, and Chris Bissonnette's “Caught in a Halo” becomes an entrancing, 21st-century gamelan setting. Simon Scott's remix of “The Gift of Self” is unfortunately too short at two minutes to register as one of the album's more significant pieces, even if it is a succinct example of Scott's ambient dreamscaping style. By contrast, Autistici introduces a funkier dimension to the album in his “A Secret Search” version, while The Astroboy's “Lost Boys” even nods in a hip-hop direction in the bumping groove that powers the vocal-based song. Beats, vocals, and stuttering voice fragments turn He Can Jog's treatment of “A Way to Emerge” into a flickering and hyperactive three-minute ride.
Keith Kenniff has a habit of elevating any project he contributes to and it's no different in this case, as his rapturous Helios version of “Lylac” offers one of the album's loveliest moments. The track embeds delicate female vocals within an elegant, soul-stirring arrangement that exudes an epic shoegaze-like character during its slow rise. Taylor Deupree's version of “Do outro lado do espelho” is powerfully affecting too. The 12k head gives the original's emotive vocal dimension ample room to flower, and fashions an intoxicating piano- and harp-oriented arrangment as a support for it. Miguel's own new :papercutz song “Encantamento” introduces the album so splendidly, it makes one long for more original :papercutz material. Though he enriches the track with electronics and serenading vocal effects (and tips his hat to Steve Reich in the mallet percussion patterns that patter alongside the piece's lyrical melodies), piano is the central voice. At day's end, the project as a whole makes one long to hear more of Miguel's unaltered :papercutz material.