19/04/2023Music With Soul Mastermind Alex Figueira Drops Irresistibly Delirious First Solo Album

News these days has pretty much everyone going mental, that is if your soul has not been robbed of its capacity to feel any sort of empathy. Music With Soul mastermind, tropical innovator and one-man-band Alex Figueira (Conjunto Papa Upa, Lola's Dice, Fumaça Preta, Vintage Voudou) was not spared the psychophysical effects of a looming Armageddon, and in 2022, after two years of pandemania, found himself down to his last penny and on the verge of losing get the picture. Long story short, life did as life does and an unexpected opportunity arose. A friend approached him, offering him a grant to record an album. Figueira decided to go for it, not knowing what the next months would bring.

Three months later, with the deadline rapidly approaching, Figueira ironically found himself swamped in work. Overwhelmed with anxiety, the clock ticking and not wanting to disappoint, he finally decided to lock himself in the studio with nine days left to do it all. Adding to an already dire situation was a pinched nerve he had recently acquired during a Jiu Jitsu sparring session, resulting in a lot of pain and a heavy dose of painkillers. 

Such was the recipe for success, that has now brought about this debut solo album, written, recorded, mixed and mastered entirely by the man himself, with additional help on the artwork by his ten-year-old daughter. Conjuring or rather facing his inner demons and diving head first into a bare-knuckle boxing match with the universe, Figueira has succeeded in releasing a legitimately psychotropic album that will have you on the edge of your seat in a hallucinogenic state of mind, a mischievous smile spread across your face.

"Mentallogenic", though born from a place of urgency and supposed chaos, appears surprisingly well thought out, a feat no doubt achieved with a little help from a lively subconscious and central nervous system, a timely fight or flight response to circumstance, guided by instinct and brought to fruition with an incredible amount of the right gear. Straight out the gates, driven by a vicious bass line, the album hits the ground running in a feverish hurry, adding tropical flourishes and countless eerie (vocal) effects along the way. With time, the run turns into a dance, moving from the legs into the hips and getting those shoulders involved. Track by track, Figueira slows the pace, providing welcome breathers in between pedal-to-the-me(n)tal compositions, never easing up on the (potentially opiate-induced) euphoria.

We'd be lying if we claimed that we hadn't expected something of the sorts and yet, this nine-track instrumental effort goes to show that Figueira's musical mojo is boundless, always prepared to take the road less travelled and smile in the face of adversity. Ranging from afro-Caribbean nuances to tropical grooves and soulful, cinematic funk in a psychedelic vein, this debut solo full-length is, quite simply, funtastic – a fever dream come true. You can now stream the full delirium below.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom