CD, Independent Records, 2004
Mécanosphère hails from a prolific music scene in Portugal that – along with peers Radon Studio and the Soopa collective – is churning out material as intriguing as it is experimental. Easily associated with similar North American counterparts in post-industrial/experimental hip-hop such as Dälek, 2nd Gen and Techno Animal, Mécanosphère intertwines its sources of free jazz, ambient, hip-hop, dub, grind metal and literature with looping live drums and spoken-word poetry. To quote from its website: it “transplants and recycles languages from odd hip-hop bass heavy dub to violent free-rock, noise-jazz, melting them into one retro futuristic sensibility.” “Bailarina” lends itself to being heard in its entirety, as each piece channels adeptly into the next with enough variety to keep things interesting.
The sonic themes of “Bailarina” are in varying degrees desperate, wrathful, intelligent and truculent. Infused with formidable raw percussion, noisy electronics and deep, fuzzy bass, the constant spoken word (entirely Portuguese) that subs for lyrics instills emotional apprehension in the listener. The words (none of which I comprehend, unfortunately) take on refreshing energy as an independent instrument, capable of standing alone, and are effectively juxtaposed against or integrated with other sounds. The verbal chatter is a manifestation, an essential human aspect in conjunction with the overtly mechanical fusion of other elements.
“Despertar” rapidly builds into a chaotic rhythm of frantic drumming and heavy breathing, each part driving its counterpoint until finally reaching a cataclysm of rough, mashed-up vocal noise. “Voo” begins its assault with heavy, cut-up drum&bass, but quickly evolves into more hellish breakcore territory as spectral screams emanate, layer upon layer, from its depths and rhythms fall apart. Laden with bass, broken beats and sonorous vocals, “Testes” is arguably the most quintessential track on “Bailarina,” an album best described as an arresting collage of sonic artistry – a remarkable effort from Mécanosphère.
— Dutton Hauhart