Review: Nacional Erudita – Iniciação (Infinite Sync Studios, Sep 4)

Divergent and even contradictory adjectives bounce around in my head when I think of how to describe Iniciação: comforting, monotonous, withdrawn, familiar, lonely, minimal. It’s the stubborn yet personal neutrality of the music that gives rise to this descriptive blockage, something I’ve experienced with only a few other artists whose work occupies a similarly elusive milieu (Darksmith, Alyssa Festa, Bob Desaulniers). Not much happens over the course of the album’s eighteen-or-so minutes; the unmistakable sonorities of hissing tape and feedback are present, but the level of subtlety in the composition makes it so that this could just as easily be a distant, low fidelity recording of some sort of slow industrial process. However, works like Iniciação don’t lend themselves to endless hypothetical sound identifications. What matters is the confusingly warm atmosphere that unfolds from the music like an abstract embrace, pulling you into its slightly scratchy blanket of fuzz and steam and muck. Even the unexpected outburst of spoken word at the end of the second piece doesn’t feel out of place, because whether it came from the artist during conception or the listener trapped beneath the surface—or both—there is plenty of humanity to be found in Iniciação.

Though the album cover appears to be designed with j-card formatting in mind, I can’t find any information about a physical release anywhere, so I’ve included the full image.