Sure, Come horns and trumpets, come echo and percussion. The descent into the subterranean fields is easy. But to retrace your
steps into heaven's air: There is the trouble, there is the toil.
Beheaded Totem, the second album by the enigmatic Portuguese ensemble HHY & The Macumbas, leads us straight into the damp
caves of our minds.
Their 2014 debut Throat Permission Cut was described as “a massive synapses bombardment in a short circuit
between Glenn Branca and Adrian Sherwood,” and yes: HHY & The Macumbas have continued their march into the undiscover’d
countries of psychoacoustics. Febrile, haunting and at times overwhelming, Beheaded Totem is nothing short of a dream for the
necro-tourist. Cerebral and alluring. Toxic. Welcome to the four-dimensional meltdown.
“Beheaded Totem continues a long investigation into percussion, circular rhythms, dub strategies, and horns coming from the alcoholfuelled
Portuguese marching bands,” says constructor and conductor in the world of HHY & The Macumbas, Jonathan Uliel Saldanha.
For those not familiar with the Macumbas, they are a shifting musical entity. Built amid smoke and fiery red lights, the performers on
Beheaded Totem are: João Pais, Filipe Silva, Frankão and Brendan Hemsworth on percussion, and Álvaro Almeida, André Rocha and
Rui Fernandes on horns. An Arkestra reaching not for the stars but the boiling core under our feet.
“This music stems from a deep connection with the streets of Porto and its undertones, nights and drags,” Saldanha says. Emerging
from SOOPA, an art and music production unit based in the old harbour city, he has been a leading force in the Portuguese
experimental music scene since the early 2000s, through which he coined a signature “skull-cave echo.”