An encounter with Toquei no Sol is to experience both the music and the place of Marlene Ribeiro’s musical origins. Ribeiro’s first project as a solo artist following stints with influential acts like GNOD, the album was borne out of a visit to her maternal grandmother’s house (the sounds of her kitchen in Portugal echo throughout the first track) and weaved together from recordings made all over Europe..
Throughout Toquei no Sol, Ribeiro brings together a range of musical influences from across the world into a set of hazy ambient dronescapes that are slow, immersive and intimate. Slowly unfurling itself, album opener “Quatro Palavras” finds Ribeiro’s beautifully plaintive vocals floating behind layers of sophisticated synths and a slow, pulsing beat. It’s a meditative slow-builder of a track that really sets the tone for what’s to come.
Later songs like “You Do It” and “What It Is” are complex, harmonious and ambitious journeys though time. The former begins with a beautiful lead melody that morphs into a playful counterpoint of rhythms, while the latter is woven through with an array of sounds: drums, bass, guitar and synth lines are gently transformed by luminous production work. Atmospheric drones, smeared echoes and dreamy melodies all build around Ribeiro’s voice, submerging the listener in an otherworldly ambiance as each song unfolds.
Toquei no Sol sees Ribeiro challenge not only herself but also the listener by creating an immersive sonic world that’s simultaneously unnerving and beautiful. This is a rare find that demands to be heard again and again—an elegant and fascinating voyage that reveals its layers with each listen. It’s an album that doesn’t hit you in the face but instead lingers with you long after the sounds have faded.