It isn’t very often that an album manages to sound both electrifyingly cosmopolitan and boldly tethered to the ancient world, but when you come across one that does, you never forget it. A decade and a half after its initial arrival on record store shelves, Amrita’s Ê Vidão still stings as hard as ever because of this very reason, and if you haven’t taken a look at its eight intriguing tracks in a while, now might be a good time to break them out once more. Amrita do not even attempt to put emotions that could never fit into the parameters of linguistics into halfhearted poeticisms in metaphors in Ê Vidão; truth be told, they make a point of translating almost every passionate feeling in this disc into melodicism of the most refined style. There are no synthetic pressures coming down on the organic instrumentation in “Home” or “Beloved,” nor do we feel the imposition of artificiality in “Saraswati Mantra” or the title cut. This record gets to the core of humanity’s relationship with tonality itself, and to me, that makes it one of the most unforgettable releases of its era and an album that stands the test of time today.
I really love the grooves in “Om Mani Padme Hum (remix),” the understated “Hine Ma Tov” and colorful “What’s the Yo!,” and I think there’s an argument to be made that these songs exhibit just how important rhythm is in the storytelling style Amrita call their own. There’s a constant feeling of slickness to the way the melodies are made to develop beside any given beat, including those that could be described as minimalistic in nature here, and there are some moments in which it’s clear this is because of calculated producing – while in others it seems much more ethereal than that.
We’re never without a consistent physicality in Ê Vidão, whether it comes to us in humble terms with the title cut and “Beloved” or much more aggressively in “For a Friend (remix)” and “Home,” and I think this is part of the reason why the album has aged as gracefully as it has. It was ahead of its time in more ways than one, and this is more than obvious when going back through the complete tracklist this spring.
You needn’t worry about being familiar with the music nor the model that Amrita have set forth over the past twenty years to get swept away in the majestic material that comprises Ê Vidão, but those who have been following their journey since the beginning are likely to agree with me when I call this one of their most complete and endearing performances ever. Some could even call Ê Vidão the definitive Amrita experience in the vast body of work attributed to their moniker, but I don’t know if I would go that far for one reason only; their discography is really too versatile to have one shining star above the rest. Check it out for yourself if you haven’t already – audiophiles are guaranteed to step away pleased.
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