A review by Erin Thomas

Kairos, the debut full length from Berklee grad Mateus Starling, is a compelling and innovative artistic achievement for the young guitarist and his band of remarkable musicians. Starling is joined for the first 6 tracks of the album by Chris Cabrera on bass, drummer Pablo Eluchans, and tenor sax player Jesse Scheinin, and finishes off the last two songs backed by bassist Caio Slonzon and drummer Edu Nali. Although the guitarist/composer is the star throughout the album, his band deserves a large amount of credit for adding depth and solidarity to Starling’s ideas. All the material on Kairos was recorded as a live ensemble, for reasons which Starling himself explains best. “My expectation was to capture the interaction of the band on the solos and to have that kind of energy that we hear on most of the old jazz projects,” he says. As a result, Kairos is full of energy and life, and documents a band that knows how to listen to and answer each other while remaining locked into tight grooves.

The album’s first track, “Exodus,” kicks off with a strong bass line and impressively performed tenor sax solo and melody, and moves into an eerie guitar solo that feels more at home in the genre of experimental rock rather than straight ahead jazz. It’s followed by “Good Moments,” which features Hendrix-style effects put to good use on powerful jazz-rock riffs and an edgy melody. “Jerico,” one of the jazzier tracks, starts off with some quick drum rolls and dives into a racing melody. The song slows into a solo section, including a bass solo by Cabrera that builds up to the final chorus. The album keeps up the quick pulse with “Brazilian Funk,” a tune that delivers exactly what its title promises. The mood changes directions a few tracks later with the beautiful “Pai,” a jazz ballad that begins and ends with a lullaby-like guitar line, supported by smooth tenor sax throughout the piece. The final two cuts, although more stripped-down, highlight Starling’s exquisite tone and note choice. The album’s closer, “Ark,” really stands out as a haunting, slow tempo dirge, and finishes what can only be described as a musical journey with gentle ease.

Starling’s strengths (and there are many) seem to lie within his ability to write jazz melodies that incorporate his love of the rock guitarists that influenced his playing at a young age, as well as the Brazilian music he was surrounded with growing up in Rio de Janeiro. Just as noteworthy as the melodies, however, are Starling’s solos, played to perfection in each turn he takes. Kairos should and undoubtedly will succeed in establishing Mateus Starling as a young and important force in the world of free jazz and Brazilian rock..



Para muitos músicos, estudar fora do Brasil significa mais do que frequentar escolas e instituições respeitadas mundialmente. É o sonho de uma vida. Assim foi para o guitarrista do Rio de Janeiro Mateus Starling, que, após três anos de intensa dedicação musical em Boston, nos EUA, acaba de se formar em Performance pela Berklee College of Music, conquistando a Summa Cum Laude, honra máxima concedida pela instituição. Em um papo sem muitas “firulas” musicais, Mateus, que retorna ao Brasil em janeiro, conta como foi sua experiência, destacando os benefícios e as dificuldades de morar em outro país, com dicas importantes para quem deseja ingressar na tradicional escola americana. Além disso, o músico adianta, em primeira mão, o lançamento de Kairos, seu primeiro trabalho solo de jazz-rock-fusion, com detalhes sobre as gravações e equipamentos.


Como foi sua preparação para ingressar na Berklee?
Mateus: Eu já tocava profissionalmente, dando aulas, fazendo shows e gravações. Não tive muito tempo para me preparar, embora sempre estivesse estudando harmonia, percepção, improvisação e leitura por conta própria, mas com aulas de reforço do Hélio Delmiro. Só fui realmente aprender a ler partitura um ano antes de ingressar na Berklee, em 2005. Até então, tocava somente de ouvido. A leitura é um forte requisito para quem quer tirar o maior proveito da faculdade, além do que, possibilita exercer a música profissionalmente nos EUA.

Já que você falou em trabalho, como foi possível estudar e se manter ao mesmo tempo?
Mateus: Bem, é possível ganhar até mesmo uma bolsa integral, que além de financiar os estudos, pode pagar também a sua moradia, provendo casa e comida. Durante todo o tempo em que estive na Berklee dei aulas de música, toquei e gravei com bastante frequencia. A faculdade também tem convênios com marcas de instrumentos e outras instituições que visam premiar os estudantes que se destacam, com ajuda financeira muitas vezes polpuda. No meu caso, além da bolsa de estudos, eu recebia um cheque da faculdade no valor de US$ 3mil a cada semestre para usar como desejasse.

Quais as principais dificuldades que você enfrentou?
Mateus: A maior dificuldade foi lidar com o inverno de Boston, que é impraticável. Muitas vezes a própria faculdade entra em recesso devido a tempestades de neve, o que nos obriga a ficar trancado em casa por dias. Além disso, o povo americano é mais fechado do que o brasileiro, dificultando um pouco a criação de relacionamentos mais profundos. Mas como fui com a minha esposa, optamos por não ter uma vida social tão ativa.

Vale a pena estudar música fora do Brasil?
Mateus: Bem, posso contar a minha experiência, pois acho que cada pessoa tem que analisar o que é melhor para si. Se não tivesse conseguido uma bolsa de estudos, talvez não concluísse o curso, porém, ter vindo para cá foi uma experiência inigualável por vários motivos, que vão desde os professores e a infra-estrutura da faculdade, até o ambiente proporcionado pelos estudantes, de várias nacionalidades. Tive a oportunidade de tocar com músicos que antes eu só ouvia no CD, e com outros alunos que, neste momento, estão despontando na cena musical internacional. Somando-se a isso, tem a estrutura tecnológica da própria faculdade, que oferece aos alunos cursos gratuitos e o acesso a estúdios de gravação.

Como é possível conseguir uma bolsa de estudos?
Mateus: Você pode mandar um vídeo para a Berklee com a execução de uma música, incluindo alguns exercícios técnicos específicos. No Brasil, é possível fazer audição no conservatório Souza Lima, em São Paulo. Dentre os documentos exigidos, estão o visto F1 (estudante), concedido automaticamente pelo consulado após aprovação na faculdade, carta de recomendação, além do preenchimento de uma papelada específica da escola.
Nota do blog: o Souza Lima oferece um curso que cobre as matérias do currículo básico da Berklee College of Music. Os alunos estudam dois anos na Faculdade Internacional Souza Lima & Berklee, em São Paulo, e terminam os dois últimos anos na Berklee, em Boston, recebendo o diploma da faculdade americana (degree).

Qual é a duração do curso e os valores do investimento?
Mateus: Qualquer curso na Berklee tem a duração mínima de oito semestres. As cadeiras disponíveis são: Composition, Contemporary Writing and Production, Film Scoring, Jazz Composition, Music Business/Management, Music Education, Music Production and Engineering, Music Synthesis, Music Therapy, Performance, Professional Music e Songwriting. Sem bolsa de estudos, o semestre custa em torno de US$ 13 mil. É obrigatório seguro saúde, que sai aproximadamente US$ 2mil por ano, sendo que, em certos casos, o governo americano pode financiar. Dependendo da localização, a moradia varia de US$ 500 a US$ 1500 por mês.

KAIROS: JAZZ COM TOQUE ABRASILEIRADO

Fale um pouco sobre o Kairos, seu primeiro trabalho instrumental.
Mateus: O disco está numa vertente do jazz-rock-fusion, com influências também da música brasileira. A proposta é dar ao ouvinte uma impressão de um show ao vivo, já que foi gravado com todos os instrumentistas tocando ao mesmo tempo. Gravamos dois takes de cada música e escolhemos o que mais nos agradava. Este trabalho é recheado de solos e com certeza vai agradar os amantes de improvisação. O quarteto consiste em sax tenor, guitarra, baixo e bateria.

Como foram as sessões de gravação?
Mateus: Para se ter uma idéia do entrosamento da banda, as oito faixas do Kairós foram gravadas em 10 horas. Entre mixagem e masterização somam-se mais 12 horas, pilotadas pelo lendário engenheiro de som Randy Roos, que fez um trabalho impecável de microfonação, além de nos ter fornecido instrumentos vintage, como bateria e amplificadores. Tudo foi registrado com o Logic Pro.

Quais foram os equipamentos utilizados para gravar sua guitarra?
Mateus: Usei uma Fender Telecaster Corona Califórnia com captação original. Para efeito, usei um POD XT, da line 6, um pedal de distorção da Xotic, chamado BB Pre-amp plus. Para registrar o som da minha guitarra, utilizei dois microfones ao mesmo tempo: um colado no amplificador, e outro afastado dois metros.

Como é possível comprar o seu disco?
Mateus: Para quem mora no exterior, o Kairos poderá ser adquirido pelo site Cdbaby. No Brasil, pedidos podem ser feitos pelo e-mail mateus@mateusstarling.com.br.
link para matéria: http://oglobo.globo.com/blogs/overdubbing/post.asp?t=a-saga-de-um-brasileiro-na-berklee-college-of-music&cod_Post=153757&a=553

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“From the first few notes, my ears were greeted by great compositions,
genuinely intuitive group improvisation, and some highly skilled risk
taking by all the band members. Throughout the recording, I couldn’t
escape the feeling that this music might have been made during the
Golden Age of Jazz Rock Fusion.

Even though Mateus is
a recent graduate of The Berklee College [Summa Cum Laude and majored
in performance] the entire bands use of space and dynamics make them
sound like long time pros with a very distinct style all their own. In
fact, the choice to make the Cd with all musicians in the studio at the
same time create some of the best listening and reacting I’ve heard in
a long time.

Mateus himself plays well-chosen notes with tremendous feeling. He
shows no fear of getting out there when he is improvising, and no ego
to limit his ability to demonstrate his delicate touch when the music
calls for it. In fact, everyone in the band completely sacrifices
individual playing for the sake of the music in the moment. I
especially like the fact that Mateus also knows when NOT to play. That
is a truly unique gift in this age of the dominating ‘guitar shredder’
that has sadly become the signature sound of modern fusion.

 

It’s hard to believe that this is the bands first recording and I’m eagerly awaiting more from Mateus and mates.”

Rick Calic – Jazz Rock World.


“I was literally blown away by this guy, amazing compositions and
masterful playing, a true jazz fusion product. He is joined by fine
tenor sax player as they play effortlessly thru a myriad of chord
changes with extreme precision. They are both joined by a well
structured rhythm section that brings it together with beautiful
melodic songs. This band ROCKS!
Have a listen to this band and tell
me if you don’t agree that this fine young up-start is well on his way
to making more music magic in the future.
Click his link below and
check out his myspace where you will find video’s of him playing with
another one of my favorite guitar fusion bands “Bret’s Fret’s.”

Stan Stapleton: jazz-rock-fusion-guitar.


REVIEW AT ULTIMATE-GUITAR MAGAZINE (JAN 2009):

Starlings
may be known to most readers as a bird with a dark but speckled
plumage. They are known to lay blue eggs, and are also gregarious. Now
that I’ve introduced to you some interesting facts about some species
of Starling, I’d like to launch a special platform on UG for readers to
get to know the free jazz fusion efforts of Matt Starling and his band.
A Summa Cum Laude-Graduate of Berklee College of Music, Starling’s
album—Kairos—is a wonderful blend of coffee, prodigious talent and
classic Jazz grooves. Berklee College of Music may be renowned for
producing talents such as Steve Vai (duh) and Alf Clausen (Composer of
The Simpsons’ theme tune). The essential question is whether or not
Starling’s musical cadenza that is less than mainstream can match the
School’s traditions. Talent is on his side. Starling is a starlet that
should not be missed..


Review at All About Jazz (march, 5th, 2009)

 

By Mark F. Turner .. ..

Fresh out of Boston’s Berkelee College of Music in 2008, Brazilian guitarist Mateus Starling presents Kairos and boldly abandons following in the typical footprints of jazz canons to pursue his own path. With highly developed chops sharpened in varied settings (TV broadcasts/jingles, jazz, rock, gospel, ethnic music), this debut charts Starling and a band of his peers (talented members from Brazil, the United States and Chile) in a live studio setting.
An unadulterated performance of eclectic jazz-rock-funk in a grungy jam-band stew, the music sets forth with eight tracks that sound more like
Marc Ribot‘s experimentalism than what might be expected from the calmer rhythmic shores of Cabo Frio in Rio de Janeiro, where Starling was born.
The mix includes the dirty funk backbone of “Exodus,” a slow grinder that moves into free jazz with Starlings’ hyper-mode guitar and saxophonist Jesse Scheinin’s acerbic reeds, supported in good stead by Chris Cabrera (bass) and Pablo Eluchan (drums). Next in line comes the very hip “Good Moments,” stamped by a wah-wah riff and elongated sax lines, then later “Jericho,” a distant and unruly cousin of swing, with dicey unison lines and stand out solos from Starling and Cabrera.
As striking as Starling performs (both technically and creatively), this is a complete group effort. On the irregular-metered “Brazilian Funk,” Scheinin shows off with some soulful playing while Eluchan’s provides the exciting battery. Another underscore is “Guerreiro,” marked by its funky bass thread, psychotic guitar and horn shouts; it grooves very hard and everyone shines.
Throw in a pleasant but somewhat awkward ballad in “Pai,” the impressive Brazilian flavored “Pacoca” where Starling artfully shows his roots, and the hallucinogenic dream of “The Ark” and this debut uncovers a very promising guitarist who thankfully can deliver without having to sound like everyone else.
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cd-mateus-kairosMATEUS STARLING – Kairos

Written by Branimir Lokner
Wednesday, 22 April 2009

MATEUS STARLING ” Kairos ”
( Self – released ) 2009.
CD
Fusion/jazz – BRAZIL

A Brazilian artist Mateus Starling could be a new important name on modern jazz scene. He is guitarist,still young, but with intensive carrear behind. He started as a guitarist, influental by the rock music, and his first professional steps, he did with many local artists and bands.
Later on, he played with band Karambah, and received a respectable national status as a musician. He was also active on national gospel scene, but a new begining started for him, getting scholarship to study at famous Barklee Collage in 2005. During the second part of the
2008, with his collaborators, he recorded a material for actuelle album. And in January 2009, “Kairos” looked the light of day.
Mateus is a convinceble performer and his technique touches many so call jazz fields. He has a special “ear” for timing and atmosphere, and “Kairos” as a album mostly communicate with one modern fusion/jazz-rock option. There are 8 instrumental themes on album, full of constant up-tempo challengies, and often dialogues between guitar and saxophone. Even that some of reviewers could find some comparabilities in Mateus approach with composing and performing methods of Scofield, Zorn or McLaughlin, brazilian guitarist has showed enough newer tendencies in his way of thinking and playing. Finally, “Kairos” is a very modern fusion/jazz album, worth listeners attention.

Rating : 9/10.




This week’s Brazilian edition of OurStage Model U.N.! The music of Brazil is known to be representative of its people, a diverse range of influences from all over the world. For the country that gave us such great gifts like Carmen Miranda, the Samba and the Bossa Nova, it’s a bit of a downer that more recent developments in Brazilian music aren’t well known in the states. Fortunately, American music bloggers gushing over 60’s psychedelic garage rockers Os Mutantes and new ravers CSS, have helped spark an interest in Brazilian music of old and new. To quench your curiosity,  take a break from making your Carnival costume and give these Brazilian artists on OurStage a shot:

Autoramas are quite popular in Brazil’s alternative rock scene. After all— not just any band gets to open for the likes of Mudhoney, the Pixies and Guitar Wolf. With new wave influences such as Devo and The B-52’s, the band has the potential to win over many new fans in the states.

Brazilian born guitarist Mateus Starling is bursting at the seams with talent. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mateus paid the bills by writing TV jingles and working as a session musician. Earlier this year, Starling released Kairos, his debut solo album with a live jazz instrumental focus. Listen to the track “Guerreiro” and you’ll understand why critics in Brazil are calling him the “future of the Brazilian guitar.”

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