Erudite Stoner is the debut release from a young Brazilian composer and guitarist Matheus Novaes and despite the somewhat worrying title, Erudite Stoner turned out to be a rather excellent listen. There’s little information I can offer about the origins of this project, so, the music will have to speak for itself – which I’m happy to report it does so, and in volumes.
To set the scene, all the compositions revolve around the guitar and predominantly acoustic versions of said instrument – all performed by Matheus Novaes. Added to this are some ‘found sounds’, which are tastefully added for colour. All the pieces are instrumental and in the main, emotive with the emphasis on texture, melody and atmosphere. There’s a wonderful sense of tranquillity throughout the album, however the closing track, Left Behind, at just short of two minutes, epitomises this sublimely.
Picture, if you will, those splendid acoustic interludes that offer a brief moment of respite amongst the weightier music to be found on many an album – normally track three on side one. Now imagine nine such tracks, which despite their seemingly humble nature, allow the listener time to reflect on the passing day.
Let’s not paint too calm a picture however, as Novaes does cut loose here and there, raising the tempo, and hinting at the project name and album title. I surmise there’s a darker and heavier side to this musician and it’s certainly alluded to in the album opener as well as in Waiting For The Storm and Sand Path.
The Erudite Stoner Bandcamp page offers the following tags: “metal |doom | neoclassical | post-rock | shoegaze | stoner rock”, so we may well hear something very different from Matheus Novaes in the future. Until then however we will have to content ourselves with the music here.
As mentioned above there’s much to be enjoyed here. Novaes is obviously a gifted player, but Erudite Stoner is not about virtuosity, although present, it is more about atmosphere – something he creates with aplomb. For me, the tracks towards the latter part of the album are the stronger, although this shouldn’t infer a lack of quality earlier on, but more a greater appeal to these ears. There Is No Home and Waiting For The Storm you feel could have come from the fretboards of Steve Hackett or Gordon Giltrap, whereas the longer Roads To Somewhere suggest this could be the basis of a far grander arrangement – something from the Anathema stable perhaps.
I had intended Erudite Stoner as my first contribution to a new feature for TPA – A Different Aspect – which aims to offer shorter reviews from emerging or lesser known bands and artists. However the more I listened, the more I liked this album and ultimately felt compelled to write a more detailed account.
The whole album is available through Bandcamp and I would certainly urge you to check out this release. Personal favourites are There Is No Home, Roads To Somewhere, Left Behind – but the entire album is delightful and a perfect backdrop to the day.
01. Spiritual Deliverance (3:22)
02. Alienist (2:54)
03. Ride To Nowhere (4:19)
04. Far Away From City Walls (3:09)
05. There Is No Home (3:58)
06. Waiting For The Storm (2:51)
07. Sand Path (4:13)
08. Roads To Somewhere (7:16)
09. Left Behind (1:41)
Total Time – 34:01
Matheus Novaes – Guitars
Record Label – N/A
Cover Artwork: Nando Freitas
Release Date – 8th December 2015