Review Ilhan Ersahin – Afternoon In Rio


This low-key release follows on Ilhan Ersahin‘s Brasil album (which was released as Wax Poetic). Sonically, it roams through much of the same terrain; moody basslines, clattering drums and ethereal vocals, as are the list of Brazilian co-stars, with Mamelo Sound System, Thalma de Freitas, Junio Barreto and Fernando Catatau all making an appearance, though perhaps offering a more jazz-based terrain to wander.

Ilhan Ersahin is a saxophonist based in New York, with a healthy lust for both travelling and improvisation. This brings a lot of the flavour to his albums, both using his own name and as Wax Poetic, with roaming bass and drums generally setting a base for vocals, sax and guitar to push the song forward. On Afternoon In Rio, which in fact features many musicians based in São Paulo, the sound feels very close to the work of CéU, especially when female vocalists Nina Becker and Thalma de Freitas appear on “Ninguem Sabe” and “De Nada.”

Whereas Brasil succeeded through it’s sonic shifts, often changing drastically from track to track, shifting from light to dark at times, Afternoon In Rio is very much a monochromatic work, limiting it’s palette, which can make the album feel claustrophobic at times. However, there are some definite highlights, including the appearance of Lurdez da Luz and Rodrigo Brandão (aka Mamelo Sound System) on “Copa”, a song with the dark urges of the New York streets but brightened by the contrasting voices of the two rappers, and the slow-burning “Mood Do Kassin” which manages to move forward extremely slow and still be relentlessly interesting.

Despite it’s failings, Afternoon In Rio is still a strong piece of work that highlights a certain style of music that is becoming more and more prevalent in Sao Paulo (i.e. the noirish-take on samba perfected by CéU), as well as showing musical links between New York and Sao Paulo and allowing for a number of very talented Brazilian musicians to get their chance to shine outside of their country.

Afternoon In Rio has been released by Nublu Records and can be bought from iTunes and Amazon

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