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Nuno Canavarro’s Plux Quba hails from three decades in the past, yet the simple profile of it’s abstract/ambient/cutup collage makes it a record that sits quite comfortably in our IDM- informed future.
In 1988, Plux Quba was a primal dark horse in the world of pants-forward electronic music—an obscurity issued with little explanation from the laid-back west coast of Europe: Portugal, of all places!—though the casual listener could hardly know that from an examination of the LP jacket.
The vanguard of electronics in late-80s Europe was being pushed by organizations like Nurse With Wound, The Hafler Trio, HNAS – and yet, when Christoph Heemann came across this recording, it struck his ears and the ears of fellow listeners like nothing before. Plux Quba was handed around between the principles of the early 90s A-Musik scene: Jan St. Werner, C-Schulz, Frank Dommert, Georg Odijk, plus interested fellow travelers like Jim O’Rourke, to the intense curiosity of all. To ears that were already saturated with all things kraut, the dark corners of prog and the frontline of experimental and improvised music, it proved elusive. Not simply in how it sounded and how that sound was achieved, but in where it was coming from — like later Robert Ashley at times; certain stretches of melody recalled some of Eno’s ambient pieces – but mostly, it was a completely alien sound- scape! And who was it? Was the band called Plux Quba? The record? The label? These sorts of mysteries are at the heart of records that require close listening and re-listening. As it was absorbed, it grew to be an influence on the Köln sound — Mouse On Mars, Lithops, and Heemann’s many and varied projects — as well as Jim O’Rourke, Fennesz and many others. Music and sound of this nature have for many years been made available by bands like Autechre, labels like Mille Plateaux — but for the first ten years of its existence, Plux Quba was rarely heard.
O’Rourke reissued it as the first record on his Moikai label in 1998, and it had a good run through around 2005 before the last of the print parts were filled. It’s almost a decade since Plux Quba was available, which is way too long considering that we live in an era where it is necessary to have an LP of this on hand for your contemporary listening distractions. And so, Drag City has stepped in to reissue the Moikai reissue of Nuno Canavarro’s classic Plux Quba.