There is nothing more enjoyable for the Rogue than receiving review requests from artists around the world, who invariably deserve very much to be heard and, in most cases, applauded for their talent, often far removed from the ultra-packaged, hyper-polished fluff of the plasticised mainstream. Especially when the musical quality is profoundly heartfelt, substantially personal, and outright charming. Such is the case for this veteran ace guitarist from Porto Alegre Brazil, amassing over the past two decades, a series of 16 varied compositions that span the entire spectrum of styles, sounds and improvised jams, conjuring aromas of folk, blues, rock, classical, fusion and prog. Backed by Jefferson Ferreira on bass and drummer Davi Machado, the spotlight remains fixated on compositions that can go from random bits of sounds to extended explosive instrumental exercises, and everything in between, where Cristiano’s guitar gets to shine as brightly as the tropical sun.

The album opens up with 2 very brief vignettes under a minute that serve to tingle the senses, with a couple more later on in the setlist, interspersed with more elaborate compositions that really exude the overall attraction to this artist. The third track is a bluesy rocker “Pedal da Cidade” that builds the necessary grit that arrives on the epic 8 minute+ jam “Saida da Emergencia”, a raucous, raunchy, greasy and groovy rant that exudes aromas of early Traffic, the sizzling electric guitar urging the basic binary beat along with a variety of inflections, a pleading solo that screams undeterred, hinting at all the greats (Hendrix, Clapton, Alvin Lee, Trower etc..), infusing unexpected synth bubbles, all in all a wonderful ride that delivers the goods. It is becoming immediately clear that Cristiano can play the fretboard with the best of them.

Acoustically pastoral, sunshine drenched, and birds singing leisurely, “O Lago” is a joyous affair, as the harmony voices shift the mood into a stinging electric rant, sprinkled with weird voices and growls (not the death-metal kind), very eclectic in purpose, sort of a Grantchester Meadows feel to the proceedings. Its companion piece “Tarde Quente de Inverno” suggests a warm wintery afternoon, gently lilting and cinematic, ably supported by some wondrous flicks on the guitars, the lead in particular loaded with subdued instinct, ably assisted by a synthesiser melody on the outro, a beautiful piece of music indeed.

After another short electronic ditty à la classic Gong, with lively synths and Hillage-like squeaks, the cleverly named “Do Cosmo” maintains the galactic feel but in a folkier ambiance, gently navigating in outer space, the thrusting guitar propelling the mother ship as new horizons are vectored, the mood veering into a hectic orbit that becomes chaotic and absolutely impressive.

In the matter of addressing voyages, another exquisite melody appears on the poignant “Lagrima”, a short sorrowful track with tingling guitar, oohing voices, and a ripping and defiant solo. It blends well with the more experimental “Ayahuesca”, a sonic landscape that evokes sharp imagery that each listener can adapt to its own mind, yet heavily reliant on melody and inspiration.  I felt like I was paddling in a pirogue down the Amazon River, piranhas staring at me in toothy delight. The percussion-laden “Venus” possesses an equaling compelling felling of travel and exploration, perhaps this time looking up at the Morning Star for inspiration, segueing into the sandy beach front musing of “Mares e Dunas”, a suitably busier, more ‘dancing on the shoreline’ feel, with a frenetic rhythmic undertow that keeps everything percolating. Speaking of which, and the inspiration for the cover art, “Rosa Cromatica” showcases Jefferson Ferreira’s rambling bass, setting down quite the powerful groove, as drummer Machado pulls out all the stops, an ideal platform for Cristiano to seize the moment and lose himself in his electric guitar playing, carving out a buffet of variations that still stick to the mood.

One more trip out to the moon on the wee “Espiral Lunar”, then an ornate piano introducing the album title, in partnership with the magnificent acoustic guitar and a sensual violin, before closing the book with a final blow out on the sexy and nervous “Ultrajeto”. Its very much in the same vein as that opening epic, “Saida do Emergencia” in that it displays all the inherent talent, very much in a jam context with all the fixings.     

Like a multi-faceted jewel, this album was quite the glittering revelation, a superb release with a gorgeous cover by the way, intricate music played with apparent effortlessness, an inspired musician in control of his craft, these pieces reminding me of Phil Manzanera’s incredible “Primitive Guitars” album. A massive, unexpected surprise and I can easily recommend this to the inquisitive prog fan in search of inspired music.

4.5 Bom Dias