Review: Rakta & Deafkids ‘Live At SESC Pompéia’

This review may end up being sickeningly sycophantic and I’ll come out and say it, I have been a huge Deafkids fan ever since I first discovered them via their Metaprogramação full-length that subsequently made my 2019 Shaman top ten. For the uninitiated Deafkids are a three-piece from São Paulo, Brazil and consist of Douglas Leal – guitar, Marcelo dos Santos on bass and Mariano de Melo – drums. Fellow Brazilians Rakta who I have as of yet been shamefully unaware of, also hail from São Paulo and comprise of Carla Boregas – bass/synth, Paula Rebellato – vocals/synth and Mauricio Takara – drums/electronics.

Rakta & Deafkids 'Live At SESC Pompéia'

As you may have gathered from the title, this is a live recording of a joint concert performed at the legendary SESC Pompéia venue in São Paulo. The set consists of tracks taken both from the 2019 collaborative EP Forma/Sigilo as well as Rakta‘s Falha Comum and Deafkids Metaprogramação respectively. Hitherto the album was only available digitally but now there are limited edition releases by Nada Nada Discos in Brazil and Berlin based label Rapid Eye Records for everywhere else.

The record opens with the longest track on the album at 10:12 Miragem (Mirage). There is a distinct psychedelic flavour here and one could easily envisage crossing the Sahara Desert desperately searching for water and shelter in the merciless heat. There is an early Pink Floyd Live At Pompeii feel as well as some krautrock style experimentation thrown into the mix, all of which make for a transcendental and meditative piece.

Next is Templo Do Caos (Temple of Chaos) which features some spectacular samba style drumming and metallic guitars that make the track sound like Sepultura’s Roots album being fed through a post-punk Killing Joke filter. Outstanding. Sigilo (Secrecy) is the shortest track on the album and taps into Deafkids‘ early hardcore roots. The crushing punk is interspersed at various moments by tribal drumming and glorious ambient noise.

a perfect document of two bands at the peak of their creative powers…

Forma (Form) which commences the second side and continues the psych-prog inclinations of Miragem, would be the perfect accompaniment to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s surreal classic The Holy Mountain. There is a Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun vibe present too but with more of an omnipresent tension in contrast to the more tripped out hippy sedate approach of Pink Floyd. Flor Da Pele (In Full Bloom) contains spooky vocals which help to give the track more of a goth aesthetic. Along the way disjointed guitar is added which blends with, and enhances, the music, and as with Forma the tension is built throughout but never resolved, which only serves to enhance the generalized sense of anxiety and unease.

Seeing as this set was recorded a year before the pandemic, one almost feels as if both bands had a premonition that something ominous was awaiting the world. Listening to it I definitely felt the hairs on my arm stand on end. Which brings us to Espiras (Spirals), possibly the most daring and exciting track on the album, combining layers of glorious guitar feedback, post-punk moodiness (ala Joy Division, early Cure etc), chanting and what sounds like Ornette Coleman/Albert Ayler styled free jazz. A delicious concoction of ingredients which helps to bring the live album to an epic conclusion.

Live At SESC Pompéia served a duel function for me, it confirmed Deafkids status as one of the most creative and interesting bands working today and inspired me to investigate Rakta‘s catalogue further. Thus making this a perfect document of two bands at the peak of their creative powers.

Label: Rapid Eye Records | Nada Nada Discos
Rakta: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram
Deafkids: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills