We live in an age where virtually any bit of information we could possible reach for is easily retrieved. No matter how far it is buried in the past, it has likely made its way onto the internet somehow. There is little that is left mysterious. I don’t even quite remember where or how I first came across Nuno Canavarro’s Plux Quba but after a few listens I was compelled to learn more. I took to the internet and within minutes I had discovered – there is virtually nothing to be found.
What I was able to gather is that Nuno was a Portuguese composer and producer who released this, his only solo album, in 1988 on the tiny Ama Romanta label. A swirling mass of primitive electronics, melodica, and manipulated tape recordings that was nearly lost to the Portuguese avant-garde scene until Jim O’Rourke came across it in 1991 while traveling through Europe. When O’Rourke started his Moikai record label in 1998, he reissued Plux Quba as the first release. Beyond that, things get hazy at best. Is he still alive? Still producing music? I’d be more than a little interested to know.
The album comes in at bit under forty minutes with fifteen tracks (only seven of which are titled) and opens with a spastic cacophony of chopped and glitched synths, which is a bit abrasive, but purposefully so. It releases into a mischievous giggle at the beginning of “Alsee”, rolling smoothly into it, as do all tracks, one becoming the other. As the album progresses the tone becomes far gentler with soft whispers and mutterings, all heavily processed and in Portuguese. But the album feels so personal that it would seem intrusive if they were discernible. There is a confused and wanting heart made open and vulnerable at the core of Plux Quba. It’s that openness, playfulness, willingness to allow the listener into Nuno Canavarro’s inner-self that makes this such an affecting and timeless album.
I’m going to close out this post with the final track on Plux Quba, my favorite piece of music.
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