Folktronica flickers in Portugal
There’s an ambient quality to the glitchy sounds of Portugal’s :Papercutz, but it’s nothing meandering or amorphous. The music of producer/songwriter Bruno Miguel mixes the electronic and the organic in a way that’s intimate and intricate. Piano keys tumble and stutter, a breathy chanteuse whispers a melody over hesitant beats and classical guitar. There’s a poetry to it that speaks of complex natural processes – it makes the perfect soundtrack for stuff like dawn breaking, eggs hatching, and flowers closing their petals at sunset.
It’s also perfect material for remixing. The 2008 debut album Lylac was followed by a remix EP for the fluttery single “Ultra Violeta” and Do Outro Lado Do Espelho (Lylac Ambient Reworks) a full album of remixed Lylac songs by ambient and experimental producers from around the world. Remixed, songs like the album’s title track became broader and almost cinematic.
Of course, remixing can always be a two way street. Miguel describes the :Papercutz endeavor as “adventurous electronic pop” and it seems as though remixing songs by friends is a part of the adventure. Comrade in soundscaping Sun Glitters turned the chiming track “Encantamento” into a pulsating downtempo daydream. :Papercutz returned the favor by transforming the Luxembourg producer’s sputtering “Love Me” into something far more balanced.
Like the music itself, the boundaries of what :Papercutz is – where it begins and ends – are soft. Though started as a solo project, it has grown into a live touring band – once again balancing the immaterial electronic with the tactile world of instrumentation and band chemistry. In 2009 the group appeared at the UK’s People’s Music Awards and won in the “off the beaten track” category. Since we’re having trouble thinking of another category to slot them into, we say that sounds about right. The group is currently recording a sophomore album, so stay tuned to their hushed frequency.
Start with “Encantamento”:
Photo courtesy of :Papercutz/Susana Maia