I wanted to write about Luís Nunes aka Benjamim while he was under a different stage name – Walter Benjamin – a wonderfully mellow pop act that started off in Lisbon, moved to London for a couple of years and then decided to go back square one, leaving his English repertoire behind. Relying only on his new moniker, one would think that not much would have changed.
But quite the contrary, he swapped English for Portuguese, but I’d say that the main difference lies on the music he now creates, which shows more clearly that he’s assimilating a wider range of influences and disparate genre elements. This is something that Luís has dealt since the first Walter Benjamin album and I remember him telling me at that time that he somehow wanted to bring all the different influences together on his music, but which was quite a difficult mission to accomplish since it could easily undermine the unifying quality of his sound as a whole, so he said that, in a way, he had to make choices and leave certain elements aside.
A good example of how he quite succeded in this is the astonishing ‘Sintoniza’ which sounds like as a funkier version of Air and is definitely one of the best instrumental tracks I’ve heard this year, so far. And I’m sure that you, Gilles Peterson, would love this one too!
It is just a shame that the brilliant sense of humour (apart from “Tarrafal” in which he compares a relationship-life with a political prison) didn’t find enough room in this record, let’s hope to hear more of his hilarious takes in future releases…
Photograph by Vera Marmelo