Ricardo Donoso – Sarava Exu

Since 2011’s Progress Chance Boston-based Brazilian synthesist Ricardo Donoso has embarked on a cycle of increasingly fascinating albums exploring the outer reaches of electronic avant-garde via rhythmically intense beatwork grid-like synth patterns and some pretty heady atmospheres. He’s left a lot of highlights in his wake but it’s understandable that he now wants a change.

As Donoso promised Sarava Exu ushers in a new era for the producer and marks a clean break from what came before. This is immediate from the get-go when you’re flooded with an intense wave of minimalist synths industrial noise and almost formless sonic shapes — something that’s a far cry from the rhythmic almost trance-like patterns we’ve come to expect from a Donoso release. The album continues with its freeform feel weaving in moments that go from celestial transcendence to primal intensity to widescreen synth bombast often within the same track.

The change-up is a bit jarring at first — much like the album itself — but it eventually starts to make sense with Sarava Exu sounding like a cinematic score to some deranged sci-fi action-triller. And while it makes the album Donoso’s most challenging piece of work it’s also his most adventurous.