Late last month, Lisbon electronic artist and producer Inês Coutinho aka Violet, released her brand new four track EP New Visions. It’s an enthrallingly diverse and cannily inventive work in all its compositional and sonic aspects. Respectfully and cleverly incorporative of the influences and rhythms that have permeated from and into her homeland of Portugal, it also demonstrates her almost forensic approach to the myriad of House, electro and breakbeat styles that have shaped that part of the underground and independent electronic music world over the past three decades. While each track pays homage to the respective roots that birthed them, Coutinho’s ability to apply a distinctly fresh and futuristic feel to each of them is arguably New Vision’s most impressive aspect among many. Indeed, it not be inaccurate to label all four of these diverse and astutely layered and rhythmically polyglot creations possessive of a timeless quality.
The title track that opens proceedings and immediately sets the multifarious essence and tone of the whole EP. ‘New Visions’ is characterised by a high and busy tempo fuelled by manifold percussive tendencies. Coutinho then employs a ripping low end utilising both sub bass and in an unlikely twist adds cerated percussion using a guiro sound. Those abrasive tendencies are softened through both countering and complimentary oscillations of twinkling arpeggio and telestic like frequencies. On ‘Kaos V’, a tribute to the legendary Portuguese dance label Kaos Records, she incorporates a mystical yet familiar vocal sample and seamlessly connects it to squelchy synths and liquified bass. Jungle like rhythms are then perfectly juxtaposed against an especially spartan Roland 808 snare.
Woozy and glassy synth chords punctuate further the diverse thrill that is the dual paced and janus faced ‘Junqueira’ which opens Side B. While they could be viewed as an attempt to calm its manic percussive urgency, they do no more than serve as a thrilling counter that only exposes and heightens the superb breakbeat and authentic roto tom derived beat work on offer as well as the track’s penchant for momentarily drifting into nocturnal galactic like electronic tendencies. Closer ‘High In Forest Hill’, eventually provides that aforementioned counterweight as insistent and urgent acid lines are completely at home within its lilting languid beat and despite their rhythmic differences wind around each other with an air of respect and determined confidence.
What New Visions reveals not only builds on Coutinho’s first two releases, the impressive EP’s, Togetherness and Badness but also reveals her continuing ease in taking musical risks. Through unconventionally mining and utilising existing sonic territories and exploring and forging new ones, she is able to apply her own extensive knowledge and non-linear fundamentals to composition and production without fear or favour. This natural tendency together with her extensive experience and skill is all over New Visions, a sharp and focused work that connects divergent paths in the most satisfying and seamless manner.
James Stocker – March 4, 2018.
New Visions is out now through one of Lisbon’s most important and respected underground electronic labels and tastemakers Paraiso. Listen to the title track below and get a copy here. Highly recommended and one of the best electronic releases thus far this year and a reminder that one would do well to begin focusing their electronic music attention on a very cool fucking city in the south west corner of Europe.
From the EP, ‘New Visions’, Paraiso.