Lisbon, February 1994, Hot Club Jazz School. Francisco Rebelo (bass) and Tiago Santos (guitar) meet up and start playing together. Sharing the same love for music and the same pleasure in experimenting with different rhythms and sounds, three other fellow students accept the invitation to form a new band — they are João Gomes (keyboards), Paulo Muiños (sax), and Nuno Reis (trumpet). Some months later, after a few jam sessions, Melo D’s voice joins in, and the first tunes of Cool Hipnoise start developing. By then, the Hip-Hop scene was emerging in Portugal, calling for groovy fusion, and the band starts mingling several musical styles, from Jazz to Soul, to Reggae, to African and Brazilian beats.
With these elements and inspiration, they release their first album, Nascer do Soul, produced by the British Luke Williamson (from Big Cheese All Stars). The songs “O Funk é mem’ bom,” or “Ela era o meu estilo” are now classic examples of the acid jazz aesthetics of the first half of the 90s in Portugal. Shortly thereafter, the band breaks new ground in the national music scene, giving out their songs to be remixed. Amongst the musicians invited was the Japanese Nobokazu Takemura, who demonstrates in his version of “Bairro da Lata” the minimalist approach that marks his later work.
In 1997, many concerts later, the band releases Missão Groove, still another example of their highly innovative attitude. Produced by the German Ralph Droesemeyer (from the label Yo Mama, producer of Cunnie Williams & mentor of the project Mo’ Horizons), this second album features songs such as “Groove Junkie,” or “Ponto sem Retorno.” It will be released again one year later, with some extra versions & remixes such as “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” (Michael Jackson), “Águas de Março” (António Carlos Jobim), & “One Love” (Massive Attack). Max Brennan (Fretless AZM) & Rui da Silva are also asked to remix a few tracks.
Recognizing the band’s contribution to the Portuguese musical scene, the weekly newspaper Blitz voted Missão Groove Album of the Year 1997. In this same year, the band is invited to the international festival Printemps de Bourges, with two concerts that opened the way to a European tour in Spain, France, & Germany (1997-1998).
For their third album, Música Exótica para filmes, rádio e tv, released in 2000, Cool Hipnoise choose the DJ & producer Nicholas Raphael, known as Nick Manasseh. By now the band is reduced to the musicians & composers João Silva Gomes, Francisco Rebelo & Tiago Santos; Melo D had given up his career, & the horn section was following other musical paths. Considering the British producer’s curriculum, the dub flavor that permeates the band’s new album does not come as a surprise. Especially if we remember some of their former compositions, such as “Morning Star” & “Passa-me o vinho” (from the first album), or “Lembra-te de mim” & “One Love” (in Missão Groove), all an homage to the Jamaican music.
The great challenge was now to find the singers that would fit into the band’s enlarged perspectives, so Cool Hipnoise decided to invite some foreign guests, while working on stage with Portuguese musicians. Having played with Fernanda Abreu in Atlântico (a Portuguese & Brazilian TV series that joined musicians from both countries), Cool Hipnoise decide to write a version of one of her songs, “Dois.” The new instrumental arrangement was sent to Rio de Janeiro, where the singer recorded her vocal track, then returned to Lisbon to be mixed. It was a different story with The Last Poets, who were coming to Oporto to perform in the international contemporary arts festival Faladura. Meanwhile, the Lisbon based association Zé dos Bois (ZDB) also managed to book a show in the capital. In the tradition of Revolutionary Art for Cultural Revolution, UmarBin Hassan, Abiodun Oyewole, & the percussionist Babatunde accepted the Cool Hipnoise’s proposition & joined in a long jam session, resulting in “C’mon Family.”
Marga Munguambe’s &Orlando Santos’ vocals are predominant in the last album, and they have been performing live with Cool Hipnoise for more than two years now. “Mofo,” “Nada a Declarar,” “Dama Dada,” and “Sofa” are sung by Marga, who also joins Orlando in “Manobras;” Orlando is the lead vocal of “Kama Kove,” “Entre o Sol e a Terra,” and “Dub is Wise.” The singer Marta Hugon also contributes on the track “Lis-Kgt-Hav” (Lisbon-Kingston-Havana, three sources of inspiration for the band’s music).
One year later, Exotica part II and other versions comes out. It is done in a dubbed out style, resulting from Manasseh’s compiling of instrumental sessions & alternative mixes recorded during the production of Música Exótica. The record you are listening to right now, as you read these words, is a compilation of some tracks from these last two albums. The track selection was made by Nicolai Beverungen.
Five years after the last release, Cool Hipnoise come out with an amazing new self-titled album.
Marga Munguambe has a new partner: Milton Gulli, who’s voice ranges the likes of Ray Charles, Otis Redding or Marvin Gaye – a truly soul man!
Music from Brazil & Africa meet Lisbon, finding a path that runs trough something we can call afro-soul-funk-latin-reggae-urban style music. The first single “Kita essa Dama” – an immediate ragga-funk anthem – hits the national radios and TVs, showing the brand new Cool Hipnoise way of getting everyone in a dance state of mind.
“Dois Dias” is the second single. Released in March 2007, takes the airwaves with a chorus that comes to be the anthem for all the people that look for a better day, in a country where political promises aren’t exactly more than just promises…
But there is more in “Cool Hipnoise”: the P-Funk of “Escanifobética”, the Fela Kuti style in “Dá-me Dá”, the assumed Marvin Gaye’s “Dias de Confusão”. And more. Much more…
Hitting the road, Cool Hipnoise make major appearances in Student & Summer Festivals.
In July they make a short stop at “Friends of Live Earth” – the mega-event of 2007, as special-guests.
In September and October, the Lisbon project hits the road on a 22 headlining Theatre Tour.
International Releases are confirmed to Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Brazil & Japan.
And the beat goes on!
We hope that this record will allow us to repeat experiences such as sharing the same stage with Mad Professor, Dreadzone, Zion Train, or UB40, amongst others, without forgetting of course the amazing night with the master Lee Perry in Lisbon.