In the second installment of George Christian’s Survival Diaries, the Brazilian guitarist gets deep into midnight. Insílios ou Diários da Sobrevivência 2 forges a heavy atmosphere. Christian’s compositions are fused together with a methodic determination to survive the darkness and bring others with him into a new day. Across 13 varied soundscapes, he explores a range of emotions, thoughts, and fears and leaves a trail of breadcrumbs for everyone else to follow.
Quixotic lamentations shimmer from the resonant clang of guitar strings on pieces like “Meditação Sem Sono” and “Desafortunado Exílio.” Severed leads wind through the lost caverns between still standing monuments and ancient ruins. Shrouded by a dense fog, Christian’s guitar transgressions are a torch, acrid yet bright. Spacious drones burn beneath the strings, swelling into view as we turn our eyes away from the sharp illumination. “Desafortunado Exílio” doubles the clashing toll and cuts through searching electric solos and clanking rhythms.
“Mulher Esqueleto” is standout with grinding, angular sonic sprawl creating the perfect dissonance for Nandah Carmo’s reading to take the spotlight. Christian’s arrangement is roiling, rising like smoky fingers to squeeze the air out. Carmo’s voice echoes, the emotion breaking through in unexpected moments. It’s an unsettled world but the mix of Christian’s minimalist scrawl and Carmo’s matter-of-fact exposition somehow becomes a caustic glue that holds the two sides together.
Elsewhere Christian explores the fourth world on the vast “In Memorial, Jon Hassell” with dense layers and a sense of urgency. The background howl and crunch grows in volume, but the dusty guitar spread holds its ground, staying at the fore. He builds towering glimmering shrines on “O Poema do Mar Cinzento” while reading a text by Mário Peixoto. It’s challenging but welcoming all the same. Survival Diaries is such an appropriate title because this music plays out like a guide to make it through and find tomorrow’s beguiling light.
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