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Los Angeles, December 8th, 2013

This is my first solo record. It was made during an unexpected but very welcome exile, in a land I wouldn't have predicted I'd linger for too long; the west of the west. From there on it's turning around, so I thought. My arrogance was to think that I'd be immune to the promised land effect, the invitation wasn't for me, I was passing through, and not particularly impressed. But the sense of distance and my newly acquired refreshing anonymity kept me staying, they felt useful. I found myself leaning on that distance, projecting onto it, the space echoing back to me with a new voice. There was my double, in the distance, a company, the only viable witness to that distance, a critic of what I was craving, a bully, a brother. This realization produced a dialog, an attempt to reconcile with this onlooker, a plan to think less and feel the way though, as the jockey craves to merge in spirit with his vehicle, to be guided by it. Cavalo means horse in portuguese, a word we also use for people who channel spirits in service, something normal to us in Brazil. Another instance of an amalgam between vehicle and vehiculated, and writing these songs felt like that, an attempt to merge these often conflicting voices, the mind and the gut.

I was as a foreigner, enamoured by the new and yet still attached to the luggage I thought I had left behind, dragging things I thought I had abandoned. They say we travel just so we can come back, I say we do it to look back, even if we never return. Distance was a gift to me measured by a certain discomfort, a type of pain that floods without drowning, that washes. Maybe that's what saudade means. I don't feel I am ever possessed when I write but I do feel I am a vehicle to a voice I hear and sing back to in an ever so slightly failed attempt to portray it.

I have repeatedly found myself a foreigner, so I grew up imagining I was brave for it, an explorer, moving from city to city every three years as a kid, pretending to have the forbearance and courage I ended up forging while secretly carrying the resentment of the imposed detours, of the wait to return. When I finally arrived back in Rio no longer a child and with an accent three times tampered I realized that my home town wasn't mine, that I had invented it in light of what I saw elsewhere, its memory a dream of scents and light that didn't seem to exist in space, maybe in time. I discovered myself a stranger, what I had been since I first left and knew to be temporary, what I realized was definitive. And it was a bitterness at first but it slowly turned into something sweet, warm, I felt free and grateful, I suppose I had to invent that too, cut the bushes to a new path. I departed again.  

I ended up finding myself in a type of desert, dry with foreign trees, a fake oasis, so I thought. I was happy to feel alone, overwhelmed with the void clear of familiar reflections, with immense silence, a mirage at last, the place where I wrote these songs from. I believe that everybody can feel foreign in one way or another; in the way that they feel they're perceived by others, in their bodies, their streets, in their fate perhaps, so I dream that this feeling turned into songs, a vehicle to me, a tool that served me and moved me, can also move you, serve yet others, with luck.

To give room to the voice of this echo, amplify it, I opened up as much space in the music as I knew how, subtracted all undue, undressed arrangements, threw adjectives away. I used different languages to forge a new voice, one empowered by lack of vocabulary, without subterfuges, one that had to know what it wanted to sing. I also threw away the cover of the album. Everything that was inside protected by the cover came out, naked, clean of directions, added flavours, serving suggestions. Words, simply. And the simple beauty of the page revealed itself, black and white that we like to use as a synonym of things clear and exact, but that is where the infinite delight of interpretation resides, where the fertile gap is. A page is beautiful because it's only a possibility, it has to be entered to signify. Inside the sleeve only the music. And there was yet another distance: inside and outside, words and music. the thing and the name of the thing, me and my name in print. Between one and the other is the open hand, the train at the station, an opening in the veil, a familiar scent: the unpredictable mirror, echoing.  

Thank you for the chance.

Rodrigo Amarante