Label: Etched Traumas
Sometimes, you just want to be taken away. The end of the day is fast approaching, and you don’t really want to do anything more, you just want to be. It’s not an inherently bad thing to want. Some people might try to quieten their mind through drugs, or alcohol, or exercise, or by staring at a TV until sleep takes over. Sometimes, though, the itch can’t quite be scratched, and your mind insists upon uneasy restlessness. At times like that, a sense of overload can be the only solution, and the self-titled album by Portuguese noise/drone/experimental group verãopop fits the bill very nicely.
Slow, dense, and incredibly ominous, the three tracks on this record (recorded as live improvised pieces) move between drones, buzzes, and more disquieting forms in a manner that can’t help but prey upon your mind. It comes across as definitely uneasy listening, full of terror and dread, conjuring up cinematic, apocalyptic images that will not help you sleep at night. Even when there is a sense of space, as during the opening track, there is still the suspicion that something is lurking in those gaps, some dread or horror that is yet to fully reveal itself. This is most marked on the final track, with what sounds like the static of a dead or broken radio signal overlaid with a steady rhythm and ghostly almost-voices. It’s the sound of the corpse of a city, the still-running machines locked in to their cycles long after the last human has left. The increasing volume and violence towards the end of the track becomes almost overwhelming, and when it descends back in to a drone to close the record, it is something of a relief.
But for all that, there is something oddly transfixing about verãopop. Given free reign on your senses, it will take you away from your surroundings, transporting your consciousness to somewhere separate from your body. This is no bad thing at all, and even if the images and sounds are not exactly pleasant, there is still something oddly refreshing about letting the sounds on this album run riot over your brain. It is not the kind of record you enjoy, as such; but as a way to quiet the thoughts in your head after what feels like another wasted day, it is very effective.