[[brief note: am elated to announce we have thee good fortune ov now receiving articles from Portuguese writer/ musician Paulo Martins!! Paulo has been writing articles for thee Portuguese language blog Under Review who are working at building a history of Portuguese urban music.. Paulo tis very graciously offering us English translations ov some ov his submissions to this projekt!! very much looking forward to his first-hand insights into thee Portuguese esoteric sound arts scene[s]!! without any further delays here tis thee first article he has kindly offered unto us here: an article for an olde projekt ov his: Oktober Black!!]]
Officially formed in Guimarães, during 1997, as a solo outfit, by Paulo Martins, Oktober Black had its profound roots in another likeminded project, Outubro Negro (which, in Portuguese, means basically the same).
Conceived during the summer of 1991, it included the afore mentioned Paulo Martins (acoustic, classic and electric guitars, texts/lyrics, vocals, bass, rababa and percussions - ex-Pop Trolha, Anomeos and Restos Mortais de Isabel) and João Madureira (acoustic and classic guitars, bass – ex-Os Sobrinhos do Tio Nelson), its music moving between dark folk, post punk, classical music and traditional folk.
During 1992, another musician is added, with the inclusion of Eduardo Silva (from the local band Alliallatas, where Paulo played drums at the time), also on guitars (acoustic, classic and electric) and bass, expanding the group’s musical possibilities and sound contours. Another step forward is taken the year after, with the summoning of Carla Ribeiro to perform the vocal duties.
Nevertheless, by that time Outubro Negro were more like a sort of an offshoot, as Paulo and Eduardo played in other projects such as As Flores da Náusea, Tenebre & Delirio and Complexus Narcisus, as well as studying in college. All this, as well as the loss of interest by the other members, led to the dissolution of the band by early ’94.
Meanwhile, Paulo kept playing in other projects such as Joana Dark and Dalila Noire, while forming his first solo outfit, The Death of Me. However, Dalila Noire’s abrupt end (due to the tragical death of its other element, Fred) and the dissolution of Joana Dark, by late 1995/early 1996, led to Paulo’s involvement with another band, Gods’ Last Wish, that was experiencing some problems too. The ending of it, led to the formation of two nucleuses, first Spiral Rain Dance and, afterwards, At Twilight. Feeling the lack of interest of the other elements of both projects, Paulo accepted the invitation, by late 1997, to play bass in yet another band, Uzi, whilst maintaining The Death of Me operational.
1998 saw yet another turning point, with Paulo accepting Sangre Cavallum’s invitation to play with them, collaborating in their first official release, Alborada do Douro, and in the first Blood Axis gigs in Portugal (in Sintra and Guimarães). It was only after leaving Sangre Cavallum, by the end of that year, that Paulo decided to form Oktober Black, which were to include all the compositions he created for Outubro Negro, Tenebre & Delirio, Dalila Noire, The Death of Me, Spiral Rain Dance and At Twilight, as well as several new songs he was working in at the time. The philosophy behind this decision was that if the others lost interest in playing and in the songs, that didn’t meant that they were no good or that they should be shelved. So, the project was to continue the reasons for creating art and to express Paulo’s personal feelings and views.
During the first half of the following year, the project assembled a sort of a compilation with homemade demos, resuming the multitude of projects above mentioned in a very limited edition of 6 copies. Entitled “The Myth of the 21st Century”, it included songs by Dalila Noire (“Homage”), Outubro Negro (“Hate Everyone Who’s Happy” and “Tired Eyes”), and The Death of Me (“And I Keep, “Take Me”, “Denying” and “Lover’s Art”), as well as brand new title, “Faraway (Take Me)”, all revealing the more dark folkish approach, except for “Hate Everyone Who’s Happy” that was more in the vein of the likes of Joy of Life. However, and due to the poor sound quality of the recordings, no further copies were issued.
Also, by late spring, the project welcomed two collaborators, Francisco (guitar, bass) and André Pontes (drums, percussion), both from the band Blasting Oil. Nevertheless, and during the fall of that same year, Paulo went on to record, on his own, the project’s second demo, “Black October”, in the Reaping Host’s (later to become Reaping Horde) studios.
Playing all instruments (with the help of recorder/producer Johan Aernus – from Karnnos and Wolfskin – in flute, effects and samplers), he recorded three new tracks (“Ritual Dusk”, “Vapour Trail of Your Dreams” and “Desert Wind”) and re-recorded two previously released songs [“Faraway (Take Me)” and “Homage”].
Released that same year, the tape continued the path presented in the previous work, though with a better and improved sound quality, while introducing some more experimental features. Printed in a larger quantity (at least 20 copies, officially), it had rave reviews in Spain, Italy, England and Germany, being re-released during 2000, in CD-R, with different artwork, and offered to whoever requested it.
In the meanwhile, two of Oktober Black’s songs (“Ritual Dusk” and “Homage”) were included in Reaping Horde’s sampler “The Nemeth: A Collection of Songs Forged by Ancient Shadows” (a release of only 50 copies), while the project gave it’s only live performance to date, in which Paulo had the collaboration of Johan Aernus (samplers, effects), Pedro Fonte (electric and acoustic guitars – ex-Defuntos, Ritual Profano…) and Nuno Cruz (keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars and bass – ex-Anguish, Long Lost Realm, Karnnos).
During 2000, the project came to a halt due to the formation of new projects such as Träume (with Nuno Cruz) and, later on (in 2004), Archétypo 120, though the idea of reactivating it has emerged a couple of times as well as a more professional re-release of the previous tapes, but only time will tell…
Oktober Black - Black Oktober
01 Ritual Dusk
02 Vapour Trail Of Your Dreams
03 Faraway (Take Me)
05 Desert Wind
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