Ah, Portugal. You already know we love our country, right? Let’s talk about good weather, excellent gastronomy, unique people with a way of welcoming like no one else, and, above all, a culture that is incredible to share with the whole world.
We have artists for all tastes and moods. From fado to rap, dance beats, and even those endless riffs that would make any Slash (Guns N’ Roses) of this life cry for more. Then we have the masters, those who, with any touch, make magic. Be it with a guitar, a keyboard, a sample adapted to the finest detail.
If a few weeks ago we were jaw-dropped by Moullinex and his Requiem for Empathy, this week we complete the heart of Discotexas, with Xinobi. Xinobi is the stage name for Bruno Cardoso. For the geekier, the comparison seems immediate with the mercenary ninjas of feudal Japan. And suddenly it reminds us of Shinobi, Sega’s ninja video game, released in 1987. The premise was simple: kill, in a sublime and silent way, all the enemies that appeared in front of you, without mercy or pity.
We can see the resemblance between Shinobi and Xinobi: one solves the problem with a Katana, the other with his bare hands. And that is what Xinobi is all about. He storms it away through a crowd with a mix of riffs, dance beats, and groovy manners that make him one of the ultimate all-around in the Portuguese industry.
Bruno started out as the guitarist in the Portuguese band The Vicious Five. From there, he jumped into a solo career that speaks for itself. Whether as a Xinobi live or Dj set, we have always the guarantee of immense energy that spreads to any venue worth its salt, be it in Portugal or in any of the four corners of the world.
From 2010 until today, we have heard a thousand and one new incarnations of the artist, all designed to the finest detail. In 2014, he released his first album, 1975. From there, timeless songs like Mom and Dad, Crime or Real Fake have never left our ears.
Three years after the first, the second. And that’s when we first heard On The Quiet. But we’ll get to that in a moment. Between 2017 and 2021, we still have time to talk about A Collection of Xinobi Dance Songs, a set that brings together all the experiments made by the musician over the years, where we can listen to Piano Lessons, Fado Para Esta Noite (with fado singer Gisela João), Azul and Criaturas.
On The Quiet (Expanded Edition)
But today it’s time to revisit. And revisit with 11 extra ingredients. And in them, we have new songs that join in a natural way to the instrumental-only versions of the timeless songs from the last decade’s record. All were recorded at the time of the original release, but only now we have the privilege of hearing them.
On The Quiet may be from 2017, but its emotional power remains so present in our lives that it could have been perfectly created yesterday. The original version contains 8 songs, separated by 42 minutes.
And what about On The Quiet 2021? 19 themes, with an incredible journey of one hour and forty-three minutes. I sound suspicious speaking, but it’s right at the first song that I got my first green heart on Spotify. Being my favorite song from the album, Skateboarding made me want to grab the imaginary skateboard running through my head, with a grind or a kickflip in the mix, just to see the punk inside of me. Not being the most athletic to stand on one, I find it the perfect soundtrack to the world’s most famous skateboarding game, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.
And it’s with six and forty minutes of pure enjoyment that we see an endless beat, crescendoing its way through our heads. We hear lots of noises, samples, whatever you want to call it. And out of nowhere, we get inspiration, almost divine, from Ian Mackaye, co-founder and owner of Dischord Records. The phrase is sublime, and the best thing is to leave it here, in full: “Skateboarding is not a hobby. And it’s not a sport. Skateboarding is a way of learning how to redefine the world around you. It’s a way of getting out of the house, connecting with other people, and looking at the world through different sets of eyes.”.
We move, abruptly, to the second theme. Almost like a headliner of this record, Far Away Place is that song that we all know and many of the times we don’t dwell so much on it. With Vaarwell (Margarida Falcão) on vocals, the scope of this track feels like heaven, with a cool beat in unison with an otherworldly voice that makes the envy of the world’s biggest hits.
Searching For brings Xinobi and Lazarusman together. And it is with this rhythm that we have a lesson of good saying that spreads through our mind as if it were a journey of introspection. Stopping to think, reflect and, at the same time, live. And the reality is that we just want to be on the dance floor with our feet a thousand to one. Something that Xinobi knows how to do very well. The final part reminds us of Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay, from the French electronic music band Justice.
Morning Fix continues the challenge left before, in a mixture that gradually increases until there is no more sweat to give to the dance floor. The voice of Sequin (Ana Miró) stands out in the middle of the crowd, opening the horizons to a bass that does not want to leave our heads any time soon.
Halfway through the record, we close our eyes a little to relax. We move on to Gili Meno, one of three Gili Islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, Indonesia. With a relaxing tone, similar to a shiatsu massage, we feel ourselves relaxing completely, following the sound that Xinobi inserts in our heads.
With See Me we have the collaboration with Lazarusman at the forefront of our minds again – and lyrics so personal that they become part of our lives. It seems that the set speaks to us, that it seeing our soul, our joys or worries.
Almost closing the first part, we get hypnotized with Tonic Clonic and that frantic rhythm where we have to quickly touch all the buttons within reach before that game-over pops up on our screen. At the same time, we dance. And we dance wide and fast. Those nights we all wish back, until the wee hours of the morning.
Dériville the true French poem of electronic music, chills the soul from one end to the other, with a unique and irreverent format in this type of dance beats. The desire is to listen, understand… and repeat, of course.
And it is through poetry that we turn the page of On The Quiet, with the new songs that the artist has to give us. We have already heard some of them recently – such as If You Want It. The immediate memory of Sega video games is still inherent, with Nights Into Dreams to mind. The memory of a dream, of that way of being where it feels like you’re touching the sky, is conceived from the first to the last minute. It must be so good live. How we miss breathing music with thousands of people besides us.
With Boats, we row against the tide, in a frenetic rhythm that makes futuristic video games like Wipeout blush. And it is in this mood that we walk in search of hope for better days – always with dancing, of course.
Only Us maintains the chanting left before, in a format with no end in sight that characterizes the musician so well. There are so many sounds at the same time that we don’t have time to concentrate.
To close, Invaders feels like the perfect intonation for a sci-fi film, where we fight against the unknown in the hope of attaining redemption. With the drums beating frequently in the background, the time is near, and that’s the thread we want to be with.
The rest of the songs? Instrumental, of course. From Skateboarding to See Me, the final part of the album leaves us with the best songs, without distractions. Perfect for that end-of-day soundtrack. Or an irreverent ringtone for that special someone that reminds us of Xinobi.
For those who are not satisfied with these gifts, you can order an exclusive LP on Xinobi’s Bandcamp that, apart from the unique artwork and liner notes, adds two more songs to the recipe: Walden Pond and Birds and Smoke.
On The Quiet may be from 2017, but its fresh, positive attitude continues to make it grow with each passing day. It could be 2021, 2030, 2050. From Xinobi we can always expect this: an eloquent and irreverent artist, making history strides with each passing day.