Uruguayan guitarist lays out his multicolored palette at the forefront of international scene for a quiet shock.
Bele Beledo rarely leaves the field of focus as of late – moonlighting, among other things, with his label mates simakDIALOG and YAGULL – so it’s easy to forget that, apart from a sole record with THE AVENGERS, the NYC-based artist hasn’t made personal statements since “Montevideo Jazz Dreams” back in 2007. “Dreamland Mechanism” doesn’t pick up where his previous works left off; instead, keeping to a trio format on nine of the ten tracks on display, Beledo applies a dimming effect to his brilliant handling of a tune in order to tell a story without uttering a single word: hence the reverie technique of this album’s title.
Such a wise melodic scripting may be wonderfully realized in “Dreamland Mechanism” where Bele complements his six-string wizardry with violin, piano and accordion, painting a picture of a Transatlantic trip and a walk along the Seine, while Gary Husband’s drums and Lincoln Goines’ bass purvey more industrial groove for the progressive sensation of “Mechanism” or “Big Brother Calling” as they navigate through the back alleys of a danger zone. There’s a constant motion in there, yet if “Sudden Voyage” lulls a riff on a bluesy wave whose ebb and flow is dictated by Doron Lev’s percussive splashes, “Bye Bye Blues” eschews tentative sadness in favor of sun-kissed fusion and a bottom-end thunder. But it’s “Lucila” and “Budjanaji” that bring forth sheer excitement in their marriage of Latin American supple rhythms and scattering beats of gamelan, the vibrant former piece finding Beledo in the company of two kendang players and the ruminative latter seeing him trade licks with Balinese axeman Dewa Budjana and sing in unison.
For a finale, though, the toning down of a performance is fed into a titular contraption, and “Front Porch Pine” charges ahead rather wildly, through wah-wah and beyond what one can imagine. Beledo can – and, at last, he’s taken center stage to demonstrate it.