Jocy De Oliveira / RAGA NA AMAZÔNIA


First time on vinyl!
Brazil’s Discos Nada make very necessary introductions, where needed, to Jocy De Oliviera’s incredible avant-classical oeuvre, focusing on electroacoustic pieces written between 1987 – 1993, works for voice, synths, woodwind instruments, tablas, electric violin and an array of untraditional instruments. All the material here is appearing on vinyl for the first time and should be considered essential listening if you’re into anything from Pauline Oliveros to Lászlo Hortobágyi.

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Born in 1936 in Curitiba, Brazil, Jocy was a prodigious pianist from an early age, leading her to the classical and avant-classical realms and the first performances of works by titans of c.20th composition – Igor Stravinsky, Oliver Messaien, Luciano Berio, Claudio Santoro, John Cage, Xenaxis and Karlheinz Stockhausen – during the radical musical shifts of the ‘60s. Naturally, she came to explore adjunct spheres of electro-acoustic and modal musics, also drawing on a love of poetry inherited from her poet mother, to conceive a rich artistic life that spilled into opera and multimedia, with a keen focus on the feminine sacred, ritualism, cosmology, and physics, developing a captivating, syncretic musical language in the process.

As implied by the title of this compilation, ‘Raga Na Amazonia’ showcases Jocy’s incredibly dilated, holistic artistic purview, as she innovates rhizomic links between far flung styles and ideas such as the mystic power of Indian Raga and Carnatic traditions, as well as the indeterminate music of John Cage, also drawing lines between Messaien’s transcriptions of bird calls and the Amazon’s abundant wildlife, and ultimately, the cosmic possibilities of electronic composition. This set renders rich examples of her work between the mid-‘80s and mid ‘90s, when she turned away from the piano and western music in order to explore improvised electronic composition, subsuming all the above into a remarkable style of electro-acoustic, operatic storytelling that prizes her chosen paradigm’s ability to transcend language and convey the mysteries of the unconscious.

Most crucially, Jocy’s music is guided by a timeless, storytelling tradition that makes it a joy to explore. Opening with the aptly titled ‘Onirico’, a startling expo recorded on Yamaha TX and DX7 synths, taken from the opera ‘Fata Morgana’ (1987), she bends time, space and minds with two necessarily durational ragas from the same opera, both flush with expressive Carnatic rhythms and beguiling tunings, and leaning more to Xenakis-like electronics in the 2nd, while the final work is taken from 1993’s ‘Inori À Prostituta Sagrada’ and expresses a sort of 4th world parallel to Pauline Oliveros, enriched with woodwind and brass, while Jocy’s synth really tickles the upper register timbres.