Tropa Macaca - Ectoplasma
The term 'world music' thankfully is dying a death, the idea that musicians in the Uk and US aren't making world music is a ridiculous one and as a term it immediately conjures up images of a tribe dancing round a fire. Tropa Macaca are a band from Portugal consisting of Andre Abel and Jaona da Conceicao, their music would fit into the 'world music' section at HMV, but their sound although experimental is a far more typical one.
Utilising various electronic sounds Tropa Macaca's fortay is deep brooding improvisation, there are keyboards, rhythm generators, a host of different beats and sometimes instruments that are indefinable. Ectoplasma is just under half an hours worth of ambient electronic music that is unsuitable for those without a long attention span. At times the very nature of the music can feel lethargic or frustratingly beat heavy but the duo keep things interesting with a varied sound collection.
Ectoplasma has elements of dubstep, house and all sorts of electronica but its raw and homemade nature gives the whole LP a rugged edge. It seems like it could be that start of a new genre in a way, the fusion of these influences have been used to create a totally new experience. Tropa Macaca have mastered the ability to leave behind the classical song structure and manage to seamlessly connect each piece to the next. The first of two tracks on Ectoplasma, the 14 minute long "Balada dos que já nascem mortos" is a hard hitting sludgy affair, battering the listener into submission, often sounds are heard as though they are just out of the listeners reach and the track in this way, is annoyingly appealing.
The title track of the LP (also just over 14 minutes) is in some ways quite different, instead of the thumping percussion the listener is transported to a far gloomier world with rhythmic synths and swamp-like squeaks.
Though the album is compelling at times with its transformative qualities its weaknesses are clear, there seems to be a lack of appreciation for all the music that has come before it. Instead of building on their influences, Trop Macaca have taken them down to their bear bones and perhaps lost some of its original appeal. You feel as though Ectoplasma could be the start of a new ambient movement and maybe an influential record in years to come but very few people will have the patience to see its quality.