Cine Privê by Domenico Lancellotti
By Allen Thayer
The words “cine privê” conjure up late-night skin flicks for Brazilians, but the more appropriate meaning of the album title is closer to its literal translation: private cinema. “I like to listen to music made for films,” Domenico says. “I like music that was conceived to support a certain image or scene. In these cases, the music interacts directly with the nervous system.” Despite growing up with a professional sambista as a father, Domenico’s first love was drawing. “There was a time I wanted to be a visual artist, a painter, but in music there was the meeting, the partnership, the friends, it’s a more seductive ambience,” Domenico says.
He laments that he can’t find time to do both, “but I realize more and more that my music is influenced by images and by visual arts in general,” Domenico says. “When I’m going to record an album, I look for a “photo” that’s in line with the image [in my mind] I have for the album.”
Domenico writes and co-writes all the songs, sings, plays guitar and designs the rhythmically adventurous soundscapes heard on Cine Privê. With the help of old (Pedro Sá, Alberto Continentino, Moreno Veloso, Kassin, and Adriana Calcanhotto) and newer (Money Mark and Darin Gray & Glenn Kotche of Duo On Fillmore) friends and musical collaborators the songs were recorded live in the studio with most tracks calling on no more than three musicians at a time.
“I really love being in the studio and it’s important to have people that understand you, because all the musicians are artistic collaborators,” Domenico says. “I really value that I have freedom when I’m recording, this way the music can go in unusual directions. We made a lot of things in this way experimenting [in the studio].”
Cine Privê finds Domenico more introspective and delicate than on his previous album with the +2s (the collaborative and experimental rock group with Moreno Veloso & Kassin). Built on consistently intriguing rhythms and sonic textures, Cine Privê is reminiscent of the meditative yet swinging quality of Joao Donato’s mid-seventies albums (Quem É Quem & Lugar Comum) as filtered through the indie aesthetic of Yo La Tengo, Pavement or Stereolab, sans the in-your-face avant-garde-isms.
True to his intentions, many of Domenico’ songs come across like soundtracks to lost films, for instance: the falling-in-love montage in an Italian rom-com starring Roberto Benigni (“Su Di Te”) or the Spaghetti Western set in the Brazilian Northeast (“Família Oca”). One of the three bonus tracks written for a children’s special soundtrack, “Peteleco Zum”, is a space age, grooving, Latin lullaby mature beyond its audience.
Domenico understands that people are always connecting music to images, whether it’s already linked through film, or paired with a new or old image in the listener’s mind. The songs on Cine Privê are vehicles for visual exploration. At first they come across like black and white sketches in their minimalism, then Domenico’s adventurous rhythms and delicate melodies fill the frame.
The layers of sounds and textures reveal a series of meticulous sonic snapshots composed of quirky subtleties, absurd allusions and last-minute melodies. “A lot of people that have listened to both my albums say that they like listening to them while driving,” Domenico says. “I consider this great praise, like it’s a movie.”