Dutch electronic producer Malvae, aka Jim van der Breggen, recently released his debut album, Amazonas, a 13-track collection of songs based on his 1,200-mile expedition through the rainforest of the Amazon.
Over the span of months, Malvae slept in hammocks and sheds, partaking in the daily life of the local indigenous communities, passing through four countries. As he traveled, he recorded the sounds of his journey. When he returned home, the recordings became the basis for unique, abstract music – a sound rife with primal charisma, interlaced with exotic textures, vague vocalizations, and haunting sonic filaments resulting in a musical soundscape mirroring the enigma of the vast living organism known as the rainforest.
Upon releasing the album on December 4, Malvae shared, “I am beyond excited to present to you my debut album ‘Amazonas.’ Made from the beautiful sounds I recorded on my journey through the Amazon rainforest. I translated the feelings I felt while I was there into these songs. From being in awe to making sense of the destruction being done. You have to listen to this piece with all your senses, close your eyes, and let the jungle speak up through my music. I hope that it may inspire you.”
An inveterate global explorer, Malvae integrates sounds from around the world into his music. In 2017, he attracted massive attention with the release of his debut single, “Haunts Me,” featuring Esther Veen. “Haunts Me” climbed to the seventeenth spot on Spotify’s Viral 50 charts and was featured in Netflix’s Terrace House series.
He followed with two singles, made up of sounds from his mouth, via the CloudKid label, followed by appearing at Popronde in the Netherlands and sharing the stage with Shallou, aka Joe Boston, on his Souls tour.
Amazonas begins with “Home,” opening on emerging dark colors topped by warped ghostlike vocals. As the harmonics ramp up, the tune takes on radiating resonance.
Entry points include “Tuyuka,” a track named after the tribe who permitted him to record their instruments and music. Thrumming with low-slung potent textures and crunching percussion, “Tuyuka” throbs with intuitive layers of intense pulsating surfaces.
Explaining “Tuyuka’s” genesis, Malvae says, “I made my way to an indigenous tribe in Brazil who go by the name Tuyuka. They had relocated near a huge jungle city called Manaus to share their knowledge and culture, to be a part of civilization. They are originally from deep within the jungle between the Columbian, Venezuelan, and Brazilian border. Due to drug traffickers and illegal loggers that want to exploit their environment, part of their group had relocated near Manaus. They thought this way they would receive help from the Brazilian government as they thought they would then have a place in society. I translated these feelings into the song while also using their instruments and their voices in this production.”
“Slash and Burn,” featuring MAY BBY, travels on a syncopated rhythm as MAY’s delicately crystalline tones imbue the tune with mystical, spectral hues juxtaposed against the massive heft of the rumbling melody.
“We Go Down” rolls out on trembling pulses backed by abrasive effects, while indistinct tribal vocals move overhead, infusing the music with edgy timbres. Intoxicating layers of echoing leitmotifs fill the soundscape with muscular thumps akin to an array of beating hearts.
“Huaoroni” injects the album with brawny almost industrial gravity, blending the sounds of animals into music palpitating with the natural harmony of the lifecycle in the rainforest.
Chockfull of delicious, intriguing, unshackled energy, Amazonas exudes the visceral palpable dynamism of the accumulated power of the Amazon rainforest.
The thrust of Amazonas is to establish awareness for protecting the rainforest. To that end, Malvae is donating 10% of all streams and sales to an organization that protects the rainforest and tribes like the Tuyuka.