Nazarevox’s previous release Inside was experimental, sparse and relied on a lot of electronic elements. For his latest release, Exotica, a lot of the arrangements are still experimental and sparse but they rely more on the guitar than they did before. Marcelo Naz the one-man behind Nazarevox self-describes this as having elements of hard rock, which might be a bit far-fetched. You do get distorted guitar but that doesn't always equate with hard rock. What you do have here is a bunch of songs that are an improvement from his last effort. While some of the songs still move with about as much momentum as a tortoise the structures are a bit more balanced and songs have more variety. For example, “Constelation” relies on bongos, sparse bass notes and acoustic guitar. The song has a slow bpm and at the four-minute mark we are finally introduced to the vocals. In comparison “Shoot Me” has a rock/jazz/ samba type feel even though the bass work feels a bit rigid.
The album starts off with the title track “Exotica.” It’s as if a drone metal band and David Lynch had a meeting of the minds. At first it sounds like a pretty basic track with distorted guitars, drums and bass but it progresses as he decides to go into free jazz territory. It actually sounded a bit reminiscent of something you might hear of Scott Walker’s latest album Bish Bosch. A lot of people would take that as a compliment.
“The Way I See The World” begins with a steady repetitive hum of ambience that eventually fades away and is replaced by guitars that are treated with a lot of reverb. It changes a number of times after that not only the structures but the entire tone of the song. It almost feels like eight songs in one. For example at around the 3:30 mark we hear the song becomes incredibly dark as Naz plays whole notes that reverberate on the guitar and give off down right scary overtones. A minute later we hear piano chords that could be the beginning of a Billy Joel song.
Naz ends the album with “Hallucinating,” which had the best beat on the album except the guitars sounded a bit too lo fi for my liking. Towards the middle of the song he starts to sing in an 80’s inspired hair metal type voice to add some life to the song. I haven't quite figured out where Nazarevox is going with this music but I think it’s slowly growing on me. He combines different genres and goes beyond simple experimentation on most of the songs, which makes it extremely hard to define.
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