do Nascimento, Fabiano: Das Nuvens LP
Los Angeles-based Fabiano Do Nascimento is a multi-string guitarist and songwriter who melds the traditional idioms of his native Brazil (i.e., samba, choro) with the more contemporary and experimental strains of jazz, pop, and electronic music. Das Nuvens (“The Clouds”), out July 21, 2023 on Leaving Records, is a crisp, frequently blissful, and deceptively groove-oriented showcase from a consummate musician — a rich and varied collection of songs, all of which seem to prioritize, and thrive in, the soft and intentional spaces between notes. Raised in Rio and São Paulo before eventually relocating to Southern California as a teenager, Nascimento’s approach to guitar and songcraft is informed by an adolescence enmeshed in Brazil’s exceptionally fertile musical environs. His induction into this lineage was organic. With the encouragement and attention of a musical family, a young Nascimento learned to read music, play the piano, and dabbled with the flute before picking up guitar at age 10. His affinity for the guitar was immediate, decisive, and clear. The instrument further catalyzed his decades-long journey into the annals of Brazilian classical music. Das Nuvens constitutes the free-form, exploratory work of a musician who, having mastered a distinct musical language, seeks to apply his skill towards broader, more experimental modes of expression. Fittingly, track one — built around a contemplative, pointillistic refrain— is titled “Babel,” a reference to the legend of man’s attempt to build a tower to heaven, and how God thwarted this alleged act of hubris by shattering man’s shared language, sowing chaos and confusion. Though a stern parable on its face, it is a myth that enshrines our world’s dizzying array of languages (of modes of being), and the subsequent beauty of cultural exchange through art. In this regard, it is a fitting opening statement for an album that collapses and collages not only contemporary and classical Brazilian and pop idioms, but also the diverse range of indigenous music that Nascimento has encountered and studied in his travels as a touring musician. Recorded in Nascimento’s home studio with his longtime friend and collaborator, Daniel Santiago (who also designed the album’s art), Das Nuvens evokes windswept vistas (the plaintive “Thrdwrld” lands like Morricone gently flirting with trap), and the lush Latin American forests of Nascimento’s youth (“Aurora” in particular), while simultaneously foregrounding music’s ineffable and universally-felt capacity to sooth and inspire.