Gonçalo Penas – Ego De Espinhos


Yes! Yes! And fucking yes!

Goddamn! Yes Jeebuz! This is awesome! Granted, I’m not even sure what this is. But I fucking love it! It’s waaaaay out there. Holy shit, it’s out there. It sounds like your television is trying to communicate with you at 3 in the morning, or a nuclear bomb slowed down by 30 000 times, or live wires being plugged directly into your speakers. But, fuck me, is it ever good.

There are some albums you listen to and instantly know that you’re listening to the future of that genre. This is that album. Some of you may listen to this and think, “Good. I’m happy I won’t hear this anywhere else. It’s just noise.” Well, that’s what your parents used to say about your music. It’s how you know the medicine is working. This music is not for the electronic lite. This is not a gentle jog through electronic park. This is for those dirty and nasty motherfuckers that have dug into the roots of the grimiest shit this genre has to offer and still thought it sounded too polished. This is sweaty, nasty, nauseous, heinous, and gorgeous fucking music. Gonçalo Penas is a Portugal-based artist that created these sounds on digital instruments he built himself. Did you get that? This motherfucker built his electronic instruments. So you won’t be hearing these sounds anywhere else, yet. And, it’s a shame, because this bass is so raw and rugged it melds to your spine and shakes your spleen until it vomits out cellular waste onto the large intestine. Seriously, I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard bass quite like this. If you think I’m going over the top for kicks? Good, you go ahead and think that. Dare you to turn that shit up.

The tracks “Introdução, Umbigo” and “Tecto Falso” were recorded in one take by the twenty-two-year-old. This dude has completely ignored all rules of electronic music and made something entirely new. If it makes you more comfortable, call these songs “electronic soundscapes” or “musical narratives”. But, make no mistake, this is music, like it or not. The artist himself describes these songs as “self-exorcisms”. And I don’t disagree with that statement at all. Actually, I think it’s a big part of why electronic music is so fucking awesome. It’s the genre that’s supposed to make you uncomfortable. It’s supposed to shake you. When you think you’ve heard it all, this is the genre that smiles at you menacingly before leading you down some dark alley. At genre parties, this is the guest that sets fire to the dance floor, snorts his ex-girlfriend’s blood, and spikes the punch bowl with shards of glass and lighter fluid. I get it if this isn’t in everyone’s wheelhouse. I even understand if you hate this music. But, sounds like this, will pop up sporadically in the next couple of years. Until, one day, it dominates your great-grandchildren’s implanted cerebral headphones as they eat laboratory-grown venison and laugh at us for having used the Internet.





4 thoughts on “Gonçalo Penas – Ego De Espinhos

  1. Fuck ya, that bass is amazing. The dude’s a wizard; I dunno heaps about synthesis, but it sounds like stuff that would normally be used as effects (i.e. reverb) is being built into the actual algorithm and then expanded upon. Gorgeous, and unique enough to stand out.

    A little qubble, in the interests of discussion – “electronic music is…the genre that’s supposed to make you uncomfortable. It’s supposed to shake you.” It’s just such a broad statement; it’s like people claiming that modern music is bad on the basis that its most common instruments are drums, vocals and ‘laptop’, or something to that effect – the whole point of ‘laptop’/electronic is that it can be anything, make any sound, both replicating physical ones (if you put in enough time) and creating impossible ones. Electronic, the genre, is the same – it’s meaningless. EDM isn’t meant to “make you uncomfortable”, for example. Now, how would I define this stuff, if I had to? Art music. Pretentious?, ya, but that’s how these arguments be. Some ‘electronic’ music shares more with classical than pop; other stuff shares more with rock than hip-hop; a lot of it, doesn’t. Make no mistake, art music is intertwined with pop – it used to be krautrock bleeding into punk via Public Image Limited, now it’s this shit bleeding into pop via SOPHIE.

    That’s also why generation after generation can’t handle the tides of musical innovation – their brains aren’t ‘equipped’ for the artistic ideas and concepts that new music is (often unconsciously) drawing from. This is the sort of discussion where musical elitism inevitably starts breaking down, though, so I’ll leave it to you for a response before I ramble any more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course you’re right, music doesn’t have to be much of anything. Art doesn’t need to be much of anything either (though, I can often lean on the traditionalist side and get up into Kant’s description of “beauty” and apply that to art, just as some sort of a basis, but I’m not religious about that shit). I’m also not trying to say that all electronic music is shake worthy. That would be pretty dumb. BUT, out of all the genres there’s a solid argument that electronic is more likely to be the genre that freaks you the fuck out because of its link with tech. New tech can often be scary. Sure, music and tech can both evolve separately. But when that shit evolves together? Damn.


      • Excellent point; I agree that the link between tech and music is probably a better pressure point than the actual music. I mean, one of the biggest innovations of rock was using tech to distort sound; hip-hop, all the chopping, sampling, and recontextualising; and on and on. And so yeah, electronic music as a category (I’m still iffy on ‘genre’) is built on that shared evolution ‘away’ from humanity – and us being gluttons for punishment, deeper into it. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dude! Of course you should be iffy on the genre. We all are. They’re just words to help describe waves in the fucking air. Talking about gluttons, I sometimes like to think of genres like tastes: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and that ever elusive fucker umami. An excellent meal CAN be a mix of it all. It’s just easier to have words to flap jaw about when trying to describe a certain thing. You’re comments are the fucking best. Love chatting music with a motherfucking audiophiliac.


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