STRATUS LUNA – Stratus Luna

Music Magick 2019

album cover

STRATUS LUNA –
Stratus Luna

Prog-minded youngsters from São Paulo shoot for distant orbits but retain the umbilical cord – and many chords – that tie them down to earth.

It’s a well-tested scenario in which brothers, their cousin and their friend form a band, yet that doesn’t warrant instant telepathy and immediately memorable music. Fortunately the members of this collective – whose roll-call will elicit a barely-out-of-teen bravado, albeit not a full-on assault on the listener’s ears which are treated to sublime subtleties – have it all bundled up on an album which is progressive on all fronts. Here’s a record ready to push instrumental frontiers without losing touch with traditional values.

Picking up where CAMEL’s “Moonmadness” left off, the age-defying foursome unfold a sense of neverending wonder, the awe before inescapable discovery of some high-order truth to fuel their first record’s exciting shimmer. It grows in scope and explores stereo possibilities only to pass the delicate pulse of “Nimue” to solemn organ that would dissolve such a promise in an ambient beauty and spectral chorale and welcome tender strum, which is followed by a fusion-encompassing guitar solo and swinging synthesizer waves. But while the finale of “Efemera” should deepen this baroque sea of tranquility by adding urban sirens to the aural picture, “O Centro Do Labirinto” might be the ensemble’s most rocking – if still quite quiet, in a waltz way – moment, with Ricardo Santhiago’s six strings and lap steel spicing up his sibling Gustavo’s ivory swell well until the latter’s piano and sitar pour natural elements into the cosmic swirl in “Zarabatana” where filigree-to-funky licks serve as strategically aimed darts.

As Gabriel Golfetti’s bass and Giovanni Lenti’s drums engage in elaborate groove, there’s something triumphant, yet anxious, to the “Riders On The Storm”-like romp behind “Pandas Voadoras” that takes jazzy vignettes to the fore and puts the group’s unison to the test, letting the pentatonic transparency of “NREM” abate the intense instrumental spell and the flute-laden exotica of “Onirica” evoke the classical idyll once again – for the ripple and riff to reign supreme. As a result, this album must become a beginning of an impressive career.

*****

May 21, 2019

Category(s): Reviews
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