Review: Adamante – Exercícios Sobre Mundanidade

a3330578186_16Exercícios Sobre Mundanidade starts with an eerie descent down a mansion staircase. The piano creeps between two chords and guitars bluster in through the windows, adorning the soundscape with a ghoulish breed of foreboding. The more the melody falters, the more those peripheral guitars seem to flare up in predatory excitement, waiting for the piano to collapse completely before swooping in to feast. The record never escapes these sinister beginnings. Even as the piano’s outward menace melts into sorrowful introspection, those wisps of guitar and electronics never stop circling the edges, fluttering past the curtain hems and catching the dim illumination of oil lamps, persistent like the unshakeable phantoms of the past.

The proceedings hit a peak in the closing stages of “Paixão 3”. After a desolate stretch of intermittent piano chords and glaring feedback, during which the arrangement feels close to falling apart, the piano suddenly rouses itself into a waltz. Guitars and chimes begin to resemble melting starlight, glistening as they drip down from the ceiling, splashing upon the ballroom dresses of Adamante’s phantom guests. Even this influx of pleasant energy comes flecked with something sad and off-centre. I become convinced that Exercícios Sobre Mundanidade conveys in the melancholy of death as perceived from the living. All emblems of the deceased are faded or in a state of decay – colour-drained photographs, translucent ghosts, every-fainter memories – and these withered tokens of nostalgia dance at the edges throughout this EP, channelled through quivering guitars and damp reverb, reminding the listener that they, too, will eventually reduce to memory and withered symbolism.