Sometimes it’s easy to see why certain albums fail to reach a wider audience and sink without a trace not long after release, but why Fernando Falcão's Brazil-only debut album 'Memória das Águas' wasn't acknowledged as the masterpiece it is straight away at the time will forever remain a mystery. Maybe it's because it came out thirteen years after Falcão had to flee his motherland after actively protesting Brazil's military regime in 1968, not exactly making him the Brazilian household name he should have been. Chances are the fact that it was released more than two years after it was initially recorded in his new home France in 1979 didn't help sales either. So kudos to the good people at Selva Discos for making this rare-as-hens-teeth and criminally underrated album available once again, since it needs to be out there for all to hear.
'Memória das Águas' is a unique and compelling concoction of both traditional and modern Brazilian styles, postmodern classical, ambient, jazz, tape experiments and abstract sounds derived from Falcão's homemade instruments such as the balauê, a horizontal version of the berimbau string instrument that produces the watery, flowing sound the album was named after. The balauê is introduced in the stunning opening track, a miniature symphony that slowly spirals into dizzying depths. Falcão invokes both Afro-Brazilian and Latin-American spirits in a Jon Hassell-like Fourth World setting with 'Amanhecer Tabajara', before moving into Edu Lobo territory with 'Revoada' and capturing the sounds of a bustling bazar with 'Mercado'. The stunning 'Curimão' is the absolute centerpiece of this brilliant album - a fast-paced six minute samba attack with ripping horns, full-on percussion and dervish-like handclapping that will floor any unsuspecting listener. 'Solito' rounds off this wonderfully balanced album, revealing Falcão's painstaking attention to detail before finally pouring the remnants of his soul out with the grand artistic closing statement that is 'Danado Cantador'. 'Memória das Águas' is a beautifully produced masterpiece that is worthy of a new, more prominent place in history. (RO)