Pal+ – Pictorial
1.24.17 by Kat Harding
Released in September 2016 on Os Tres Amigos (“The Three Friends”) label out of Portugal, Pal+’s “Pictorial” tape features melodic beats and vivid synth sounds for an upbeat and energizing listen. The cover art is a smattering of paint and crayon in vibrant blue, purple, pink, yellow, and black over the familiar blue lines of notebook paper, enclosing an off-white tape full of Fernando Silva’s recordings made between 2012 and 2016.
The hypnotizing “Aural Canvas” opens side A, a bright humming track that clocks in at just over two minutes. “Africa Eyes” picks up after a beat of silence with buoyant drum beats and simple, repetitive chanting over circuitous synth work. I really like “Morpheus,” which sounds like it could be found in a tiny club with strobe lights and everyone dancing and drinking colorful cocktails. Mysterious airy tones add lightness to the gripping track, which fades to a peaceful end. The industrial clanking and sinister synth at the start of “The Ice Palace” create an unsettling world building to a swell and ending with a heavy crash that reverberates through your skull. The silence ends and “Grand Canyon” begins, a Middle Eastern-esque track with soft wailing over a constant shaker and fast-moving percussion.
The first track on side B, “Mantra,” starts off with frantic, breathy sounds building over beats reminiscent of the opening of Netflix’s Stranger Things, evoking a sense of uneasiness that nearly tips over into full-blown fear. The longest song on the side, and the whole tape, the track often slows, pulling the tones down to a much deeper register before speeding back up again. “Motor City” is much less threatening than “Mantra,” and feels like a light relief after the panic of the former track. “The Emerald Hill” closes the tape, a roaming animated tune with alien synth sounds and a beat to move to.
Get your own copy of the tape on the OTA Bandcamp.