Toquei no Sol (I touched the sun) is the new album from Marlene Ribeiro and discerning Joyzine readers will know that she has been a long-time member of the band GNOD. This dreamlike, transcendental offering is her debut for the Rocket Recordings label, home to Pigsx7, Rubber Oh, Petbrick, Julie’s Haircut, Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation and many more.

The album feels like it inhabits liminal space and could have been recorded during hypnagogia, the disorientating, transitional moment between being awake and falling asleep, that intoxicating moment where you are sliding between the two states and start to lose sight of what’s real and what’s bubbling up from your subconscious.

Opening track ‘Quatro Palavras’ (four words) was also the starting point for the album and was inspired by a visit to Ribeiro’s maternal grandmother Emilia in Portugal, and it’s her voice, and the sounds of her kitchen, you hear at the start of the track. It then unfolds into a wash of drones, Ribeiro’s dream vocals which feel like The swirls of an impressionist painting. Ribeiro says of the album “It’s all a big misty haze of nostalgia, playfulness, self-reflection and hopefulness”.

There are tracks like ‘Sangue De Lua de Lobo’ and ‘Forever’ which drift untethered, walking on clouds. These shifting sonic moods have moments where you get purchase on something like the gentle run from a bass guitar or the clang of a clock chime punctuating the title track like an icy drip. Percussive sounds abound from the everyday and ‘Sangue De Lua de Lobo’ (Wolf Moon’s Blood) features random objects from Ribeiro’s garden in Ireland and ‘Forever’ has the sound of pots and pans from her kitchen in Salford.

‘You Do It’ builds like psychedelic Cornish folk combined with the hypnotic quality of a raga and by the time the harmonium stops leaving only birds calling, the lack of it makes a void that you nearly fall into. ‘Forever’ features multiple bass lines mixed into the foreground while hazy vocals and layered harmonies peek through, floating like phantoms behind the pinch and swell of the bass. Closing track ‘What It Is’ leaves us on a bubble of percussion, ethereal vocals, rippling electronics which gently builds then fades away to leave us with a beautiful sense of tranquillity.

Toquei No Sol is landscape painting for the subconscious mind and though it was recorded in Ireland, Wales, Portugal, Madeira and Salford there is no lack of cohesion. Marlene Ribeiro has made the invisible visible in the way dew shows up a spider’s web. There is fluidity in the music that allows us to float between the prosaic and a zen-like state of mind. Transformative, beautiful and a catalyst to tune out the stress and allow the calm in.

Out on Rocket Recordings

Review by Paul F Cook

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