Sao Paolo Underground Sauna, Um, Dois, Tres

Sao Paolo Underground Sauna, Um, Dois, Tres
Trumpeter Rob Mazurek’s music is a balance between acoustic sound generation and laptop processing, mixed with more or less overt rhythmic drive depending on the project. Sao Paolo Underground is a logical successor to his Chicago Underground projects in more than just its name. He is joined in this project by fellow laptop-ist Maurico Takara. Mazurek himself has decamped to Brazil, which offers a major change of scene from the "Chicagoland” community, although familiar cohorts Chad Taylor and Josh Abrams play major roles on this disc. To its credit, the sound of this project doesn’t throw in overt samba and bossa nova references, though close listening reveals more subtle inflections. The title track is a nine-minute jam driven by Taylor, who lays down a lurching bossa extrapolation anchored by a massive bass pulse right where the surdo drum would go in a samba ensemble. Mazurek is in fine form on trumpet with some of his most assured playing ever, and both laptops heat up to a fever pitch blowing songs to smithereens, and then reconstituting them. The groove/freak-out/groove song form that outlines many tracks is a familiar device, but so satisfying when it works. And that’s the overall feel of this disc: satisfaction — it hits hard, and it hits weird.

How is working and living in Brazil different than Chicago? Mazurek: I am starting to play quite a bit in Sao Paulo, where the scene is quite lively and interesting. Abstract rockers and improvisers from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and now are really making some beautiful things happen. It’s not so different, just different angles; the creative atmosphere there is quite wondrous.

How did you meet Mauricio? Did you know what you wanted SPU to sound like before entering the studio? I met Mauricio at his show in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He was playing with his abstract rock group Hurtmold. Turns out, he is a fan of my music and we immediately made plans to play together. They invited me to play with them at Sonar festival in Barcelona and then we started to record the new record very organically. We set up and just played for hours and hours. After this initial meeting we thought about what we wanted to do. It took a bit of time but one day as the sky was turning a pale pink, we hit a stride and found the elusive sound we were looking for. We wanted to express through tonal geometry our own unique projections on what it means to be human or not human in this time and place. (Aesthetics)