Wax Machine may sound like they should be sitting in a drum circle on Copacabana or Ipanema beach but they are actually Brighton-based musicians Lau Ro (the Brazilian-born band leader), Toma Sapir on drums, percussion, samples/synths, Isobel Jones flute and vocals and Ella Russell who provides vocals on ‘Canto De lemanja’. But whatever coastline on whichever continent they inhabit Lau Ro still draws from the power of the sea and says “The ocean is a muse of mine I go to the sea whenever I can. Her presence enlivens, refreshes and brings me deeper awareness. This version is a homage both to my motherland and the great big blue that separates us.”
The double-A side single of ‘Springtime’ / ‘Canto De Iemanjá’ is their new release, and the ocean muse is strong with the promise of balmy summers soaking up sun and sea breezes radiating out from the tracks. Both songs have a loose vibe with laconic guitar and undulating percussion swirling around in the eddies and currents but on ‘Springtime’ it’s more a spaced-out samba with electric piano and fuzzed-up electric guitar, whereas ‘Canto De Iemanjá’* (a cover of a track by Vinicius De Moraes and Baden Powell’s from their 1966 album Os Afro-Sambas) floats along on a tickle of flute and cabasa.
The Brazilian goddess of the sea is definitely looking out for Wax Machine and the strength of these two tracks definitely whets the appetite for their forthcoming album Hermit’s Groove released in July.
* Iemanjá is the Brazilian goddess of the sea who watches over sailors and fishermen as well as watching over the family and women’s fertility.