Review: HHY & The Macumbas – “Beheaded Totem”

Dub filtered through with tribal polyrhythms and a touch of mysticism is the name of the game on Beheaded Totem, the sophomore LP from Portugese experimentalists HHY & The Macumbas, out a few days ago via House of Mythology. While that description could send some of the more ambitious listeners among us into fits of ecstasy, Beheaded Totem is, ultimately, a kind of one-trick pony that gets lost in the redundancy of its rhythms and resolutions. I mean, there’s trance and then there’s A TRANCE. I embrace the idea of exploring circular patterns through electronic and organic percussion; I also know that the concept, without variation, is a form of drone – and not the good kind. HHY & The Macumbas clearly have a modus operandi and it’s a respectable one. This just would’ve done fine as a much-shorter and more adeptly edited EP. – Justin Vellucci, Swordfish, Oct. 3, 2018


About the author

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer for PopMatters, Spectrum Culture, and MusicTAP, a contributor to Pittsburgh Current, and a former staffer for Popdose, Punk Planet and Delusions of Adequacy. His music writing has appeared in national magazines such as American Songwriter, alt-pubs like The Brooklyn Rail, Pittsburgh CityPaper and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish, Punksburgh and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.