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“International duo Fujako, composed of Jonathan Uliel Saldanha and Nicolas Esterle, follow the dub-heavy Soul Buzz release on Angstrom Records with Exobell, an eight-track EP that draws inspiration from the esoteric and delves into a more stripped-down sound.
Exobell is an invented word. A protective suit (Exo) made of vibrations (Bells), this creation provides a versatile mental image and context for the music. The pair purposefully draw inspiration from the word and the ideas it conjures: mysticism, apotropaism (rituals to avert evil long associated with bells), the animist relations between the city and its diverse elements and the sense of dread and all-encompassing dystopia that arises when you look too closely at technology’s forward march into our world and the hyper-communication it provides.
In many ways you can think of Exobell as like a sonic fiction narrated by the voice of DC’s Black Saturn, who once again brings Fujako’s music alive by articulating its concepts into a human dimension. Adding a further layer of drama, the tracklist acts as a libretto for the work guiding the listener further into Fujako’s imagined sonic world.
The ‘Warrior Drum’ beats first, the armour awakening as Black Saturn chants. Then comes the ‘Ironlion Ovfdbk’, distortion grating against both voice and drums, blowing frequencies out and leading us to a ‘Sidewalkstate ovmind’ where if you seek you will find, just don’t fall off the rhythm. Bells echo into the ‘Magog Trash’, the armour vibrates to ward off the evil spirits before stepping into the ‘Nightlife’ to face the rumbling walls of Babylon. It’s all ‘Equations’ though, as Black Saturn tells you that “logic is seasoning for correct reasoning.” Repeat the mantra until “the voice becomes the body,” because ‘Vocal Fisical.’ Trust the tremor of the drums. And at the end of it all find the ‘Kosmic Excentricity,’ shockwaves rippling from the armour across the cosmos.
Exobell is sparse and boiled down to its core components, driven forward by rhythms to create a kinetic energy that proves both irresistible but also hypnotic. Further deviating from their standard musical approach, this release sees Fujako sample on three separate occasions bringing in elements from Haitian band Chouk Bwa Libète and HHY & The Macumbas to imbue the music with further energies. With Exobell Fujako and Black Saturn provide us with their own vision of suburban-medievialism. They re-imagine existing musical forms for the bleak present we live in, blurring boundaries as we face our own uncertain future.”