I come from a long line of well-intentioned people

carrying half-burnt ideas deep into trouble

Self-described as a “rootless cosmopolitan,” composer Bob Gaulke’s recent offering, Obviously, is a fascinating mix of Brazilian beats, synths, tropicalia, ska, and breezy lounge vibes.

The album also features collaborations with kindred spirits, including oft-psychedelic vocals by the effervescent Emilia Cataldo and guitar work by Marco Raaphorst.

“Obviously is the first fruit of a more than decade-long friendship with Marcos Kuzka Cunha,” Gaulke explains. “Marcos came to stay in NYC back then and we hit it off immediately. Well, Marcos hits it off with everybody as he’s sort of a one-man carnival…I typically send him vocals, guitars, and loops, and he does the rest, chopping my stuff up, then adding all sorts of strange sounds and parts from keyboards, basses, cavaquinhos, and more. As we both have limited attention spans, everything counts in a Kuzka arrangement and it all dazzles.”

The new wave elements of Scritti Politti, The Colourfield, The Monochrome Set, and The Selecter are prevalent in Obviously, the latter particularly in “Human Shield”. The smooth interplay between Gaulke and Cataldo is rich, vibrant, and, quite frankly, a delightful vibe: a welcome moment in times of chaos. If Lou Reed had gotten a cavaquinho and joined forces with Sergio Mendes, and a few moments of Blur, you’d have Gaulke.

Gaulke is a regular collaborator on NYC stages with Gil Oliveira, Martin Scian, Matt Carrillo, Kevin Cerovich, Emilia Cataldo, Peri Mason, Suely Mesquita, Richard Von Sturmer, and Pavlo Terekhov. Hailing from The Bronx, Gaulke grew up with the first wave of post-punk as well as the likes of luminaries such as John Cale, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Caetano Veloso.

“As we might translate from Japanese, please enjoy my humble music.”

Listen to “Obviously” below”

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