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Lose Yourself in the Cavaties of Porto with One of the Year's Best Avant-Garde LPs

Jonathan Uliel Saldanha​'s 'Tunnel Vision' is a dazzlingly disorientating exploration of what lurks beneath city life.

by Josh Baines
26 September 2016, 11:00am

Jonathan Uliel Saldanha

It's half nine on a Saturday morning. You crawled into bed two hours ago. You had to leave the house a mere 60 minutes later to get to the train station on time. You feel like you spent the night bashing your head against a galvanised bin over and over and over, pausing only to pour ouzo into your own eyeballs. At this exact moment, death doesn't seem to bad. But you need to get on that train because that train'll take you to an airport and at that airport—after sitting in a branch of Joe and the Juice where brostep plays at club volume while top-knotted baristas bark "JOSH? JOSH?! JOSH!?! HERE'S YOUR FLAT WHITE DUDERINO" at you and you contemplate diving headfirst out of the nearest window and sinking into the sticky tarmac below—you'll get on a plane. And that plane will move through the sky in the way that planes do, and you'll eventually find yourself leaving the plane in another country. For some of you, that country might be Portugal.

And you'll find yourself in Portugal not because you want to gorge yourself on pastels de nata or peri peri chicken. You won't be there because you want to feel an affinity with Jose Saramago or Fernando Pessoa. No, you'll be there because you'll be attending one of the most intriguing, exciting, and pointedly experimental music festivals in the calendar: Semibreve.

Taking place at the end of October in the city of Braga—a city that's nestled away in the northwest of the Iberian country—Semibreve is set to feature performances from THUMP favourites Ron Morelli, Nidia Minaj, and Laurel Halo, as well as shining a light on experimentally-leaning local artists. One of those is "sonic and scenic constructor" Jonathan Uliel Saldanha. if you're not familiar with Jonathan Uliel Saldanha you soon will be. Before you get to know one of the country's most renowned avant-garde artists, why not spend some time looking really intently at the sleeve of this new record Tunnel Vision. It's right there below.

I was going to write a long spiel about how compartmentalising artists who primarily move within experimental and avant-garde circles is an exercise in defeating the point of the avant-garde, and then I decided that I'd just let Jonathan describe himself. "Working in the interception of live-dubbing, electroacoustics, percussive sounds, visceral voice and wind instruments within the acoustic, physical and mental proprieties of time. Deeply interested in non western music systems, he started to study Tabla in 1999 playing in the Hindustani music ensemble Jugalband." So that's that.

His latest record, Tunnel Vision, is aptly named. Recorded "in tunnels and cavities found in and around the city of Porto, it was "mixed as a dub record set for a soundsystem of the future, in a process referred to as Skull–Cave–Echo."

The album sounds like the kind of thing you read about in The Wire, tell yourself you'll listen to and then never do, preferring instead to gorge on the same six songs you've played on a loop for the last six years solid. So why not break that cycle and listen to Tunnel Vision in all it's disorientating glory below. We recommend that you dim the lights, shut the curtains, and light the most earthy incense stick you can get your hands on. If you like your music to confuse and confound you, you're in luck.

Jonathan Uliel Saldanha will apear at Semibreve in Braga, Portugal, in late October. Tunnel Vision is out on September 30th via Portuguese label Silo Rumour. Pre-order it here.

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