Image © 1999 Projeto Caleidoscópio
O Sete (Seven)
Reviews and HTML © Russell W Elliot 2000
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Last updated: 09 January 2000
Arthur Nogueira and Analu Paredes are the founders and creative spirit behind the Rio De Janeiro-based Brazilian progressive rock ensemble Projeto Caliedoscopio. Their debut album O Sete (Seven) (CLD001) is a cohesive collaboration of seven tremendous tracks that include inputs from eighteen additional artists. Progressive music enthusiasts with a passion for female vocals that enjoy bands like Renaissance, Annie Haslam , Quidam (review), Sagrado Coração da Terra, You And I (feature), and Blackmore's Night, should adore this album. If you read no further, be sure to check out the soundbites on Projeto Caleidoscópio's Shockwave Flash-enhanced website. There you can also read about the project, learn more about the other musicians involved and view credits as well as attractive photos of Analu and Arthur with other well known artists, including Annie Haslam.
Influences for O Sete are evident from Analu's vocalise and Arthur's guitar work in the track "Ausencia (Absence)." Renaissance, Annie Haslam and Sagrado immediately come to mind. Sung entirely in Portuguese (the language spoken in Brazil), like the lovely ballad "Livre Em Queda Livre (Free In Freefall)" that follows as the second track on the album, the vocals are crystalline. Interestingly, comments both from Annie Haslam (Renaissance) and Sagrado's Marcus Viana in both Portuguese and English are included in the lovely artwork that accompanies the compact disc. Annie wrote, "Analu's voice is haunting and has a sweet passion that sounds like it has come from deep in her heart."
We asked Analu and Arthur about their songwriting influences. They told us, "We were influenced by a lot of artists through our entire life because we never had prejudice against any kind of art. When we first started learning music, we used to play and listen to everything we could." They continued, "We loved Rachmaninov, Debussy, Villa-Lobos, Tom Jobim, Egberto Gismonti, Pat Metheny, Renaissance, Marillion and so on. We prefer the progressive rock style, though, for we are free to create new stuff and be ourselves at the same time."
Analu and Arthur are into listening to as much music as they can, and despite having very similar tastes in music, they told us their favourites individually. Analu told us that her favourites include, "Annie Haslam & Renaissance (I’ve been listening to them for years), Lorena MaCkenitt, Gary Moore, Pat Metheny, Topos Uranos, Buenos Aires 8, Swingle Singers, Enya, Sarah Brightman and Rick Wakeman." Arthur added his, "Marillion, Pink Floyd, Sagrado Coração da Terra, Yes, Rush, Supertramp, Tom Jobim, Egberto Gismonti, Toninho Horta and Dream Theater—I was introduced to their music recently and really liked it." These influences are combined effectively in the couple's music.
The album's third track "Vira (She Will Come)" is a light progressive track with some jazz influences. The complex instrumental arrangements and Analu's soaring vocals are wonderful. A violin solo is especially notable. We asked Analu how she developed her vocal style. She told us, "I’ve been studying music for quite a long time and had great names in Brazilian music scene as teachers. I studied Opera at the University, Renaissance & Medieval music, and also I joined a sort of Gregorian Choir (actually it was a group) where we studied the original compositions (Gradual Triplex). I embarked upon a solo career and vocal groups too. I have always tried to diversify in my musical career and not waste any opportunity. I am a very honest and intense human being. I don’t do things that I don’t like. My vocal style was developed from the will to search my own identity - of course that the guitar and harmony lessons played a big part on this. At the present moment, the technique I achieved is being used to try to touch other people’s hearts and show them the real meaning of the songs that I am singing. I love the progressive rock style for I feel as if my voice is working as an instrument." It certainly does!
While Brazilian progressive musical themes certainly come through in the album's early tracks, an impressive Spanish-sounding acoustic guitar part and other effects contribute to the more urban sound of "Marcapasso (Pacemaker)." Analu's vocals are sweet and sensitive.
Complex classically derived arrangements add to the colour and depth of the recording in several of the album's tracks and are certainly the foundation of the track "Busca Solitaria (Lonely Search)" which also has lovely vocal harmonies similar in sound to Second Story (review). We asked Arthur and Analu about the songwriting process. They told us, "Initially we had an idea of writing songs to be on our CD only. When those songs were almost finished, we realized that each one of them were kind of made for some musicians we knew. We came up with the idea of the kaleidoscope, because we didn’t want to form any band, but the several guest musicians worked so perfectly together on our album, O Sete, that we decided to use its name."
We asked about the sequences they go through when writing the music and they told us, "... we really don’t have a methodology, if we can call it that. We can feel like writing something at anytime, as the two us have always stayed tuned to each other’s ideas for songs; that’s the reason why the ideas can be developed so easily." Analu and Arthur told us that they supervised every little detail. Analu said, "All the musicians had received the sheet of music with everything they had to play, and when they started to record the songs they were conducted by Arthur in a way where their own style in playing and creativiness were preserved." Arthur added, "All the vocals were rehearsed directed by Analu. We tried to create a good atmosphere and the recordings ended up being a meeting of friends." They are consummate professionals in every way.
"Singelo Adeus (Simple Goodbye)" is another sensitive ballad with a lovely flute part that sticks out above yet contributes to the instrumental foundation comprised of strings and other orchestral elements. Vocal harmonies perfectly compliment Analu's sensitive lead.
The duo have made music the focus of their career and have a music school where Arthur gives guitar lessons and Analu gives teaches singing classes. Arthur told us, "We did jingles for TV commercials, soundtracks, etc. We are together all the time and having the same job has surely helped us not only in our careers, but in our marriage too." They live busy lives. Analu added, "I enjoy cooking exotic dishes, dancing and taking care of my two children, Gabriel and Camila." Arthur told us, "I really like to take care of my fish bowl, to assemble the ship and plane models and driving. Also, I love to look after the kids and play with them."
Progressive artists often have very firm views on record labels and it was interesting to learn that Arthur and Analu are no exception. O Sete is a tremendous product, professionally perfect in every way, yet it is entirely self-produced and self-released. They told us, "In the past ten years, here in Brazil, the major labels are limited to releasing CD’s of one or two music styles. There isn’t a concern in selling good music with a strong identity. The record companies only sell bloated music styles to earn lots of money. Some great artists we know had had lots of difficulties in releasing their material; they had to do everything all by themselves. But the most amazing fact in this is that abroad they are respected and have achieved all the compliments they deserve. We then decided not to waste time waiting to be signed to a major label, but we are open to make deals with national and international labels. We are sure that if this ever happens, our album will sell more and we could even do some shows abroad."
We asked about their live performances as creating the rich sound on the album with the huge array of artists involved in the project would likely be quite challenging. Analu told us, "We already did several live shows, not only performing progressive rock music but also some different stuff. Arthur released a progressive rock album called Suite Mística with the band Topos Uranos. Projeto Caleidoscópio is the most recent work and we will be rehearsing for our concerts to promote it. We are going to create our own label, Caleidoscópio Produções Artísticas, to release our future albums and some other progressive rock artists too."
The album's final track "Imenso Abism (Immense Abyss)" is a slow moving progressive number with several different textures. Orchestrally rich with several notable guitar and keyboard excursions, it illustrates the virtuosity of the artists involved. Perfectly produced, the vocal track remains soft, heartfelt and sweet.
The artwork for their album and their website has been carefully crafted to seamlessly meld with the music. They proudly told us, "We are always trying to achieve the best from ourselves in our careers. We have high standards of technique and art. With our CD and Web Site it couldn’t be any different. The site was made by BRAZILWEB, a company that had already made many other web sites using the Shockwave Flash technique, which we found astonishing. This company has given us a great support. The album cover was made by Bernard, who is a designer that made covers for other Progressive Rock artists here in Brazil."
Clearly the artists efforts are being noted on the internet and they are already big believers in the technology. They told us, "The internet is surely a great way to disseminate ideas nowadays. It really helps us getting more information and the communication between people everywhere. We are very glad with the support that this great technology has given us and we would like to ask that all the progresive rock fans that are linked to the internet to visit our website, write on our guestbook and buy our album." Details on how to do so will be posted here soon.
Projeto Caleidoscópio's album O Sete is a lovely collection of soft orchestrally rich progressive music. It is technically superb and has stunning production quality in every respect. Analu's lovely vocals give the album a sweet heartfelt texture that perfectly compliments their songwriting. We certainly wish the group the best success in this new millenium. A tremendous debut album in every respect, O Sete is worth a long distance journey—a must listen!
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