On Recent Vinyl Rotation: A Handful Of… Brazil-liance!

When people think of Brazil, the first things that probably come to their minds are famous soccer players, carnival, the Cristo Redentor monument, rainforest clearing.. and of course, Samba!
But there is so much more music to discover there.

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Alternating with the On Recent Rotation format, I will do an “A Handful Of…” series, where I will highlight five records of one genre each time.
The video in the link below contains some needle drops so you can get a feel for the music.

So… let’s start with some Brazilliance! There is hardly a country with more facets and diverse styles of music that never cease to amaze me. From Bossa Nova to Samba, Folk, MPB and Tropicália, there are so many artists and records to discover that it is pretty hard to choose only a few.

The five records I am showing today are all recorded in the same period – the early 70’s – which was a tough time for the Brazillian nation: the military dictatorship was in full effect, people were oppressed and tortured, music was heavily censored and musicians were arrested and imprisoned for criticism. The Tropicália movement which emerged at the end of the sixties as a variation of MPB (Música popular Brasileira), with Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes, Gal Costa & Tom Zé brought an intriguing musical opposition to the political situation. Political criticism was also often veiled in the lyrics of MPB music.
Other great artists from that time are: Tim Maia, Milton Nascimento, Jorge Ben, Azymuth, Sergio Mendes, Flora Purim, Airto Moira, Hermeto Pascal… and the list goes on forever and does not even contain the artists I will show today.

So, let’s take a short trip into the wonderful world of Brazillian music.

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Marconi Notaro – No Sub Reino Dos Metazoários (Rozenblit, 1973)

“… as hard as it might have been to record, press and distribute your very own wax capsule in America in the early ’70s (and as rare, and good, many of them are), doing the same under Brasil’s military dictatorship was markedly more difficult. And releasing a psychedelic, fuzz and effects drenched opus with revolutionary musings disguised within double entendres? Next to impossible.” Egon Alapatt, Now-Again Records

This is the one and only album by the Brazillian poet Marconi Notaro, which was recorded in Recicfe together with Lula Cortes & Ze Ramalho.
The album combines fuzz-drenched guitar passages, Bossa Nova, Folk and Tropicália flavors plus hypnotic tunes of Lula Cortes own invention, the Tricodio (a sitar-like instrument) with the beautiful poetry of Notaro.

He also published 7 books of poetry which will hopefully see the light of the day at one point. Notaro died in 2000 being only 51 years old. Thankfully, this wonderful piece of art set a monument for him.

Lula Côrtes e Zé Ramalho – Paêbirú (Solar, 1975)

Going from Notaro to this in the playlist feels like a seamless continuation: this record was recorded two years later in Recife.
Reportedly, most of the records have been destroyed in a warehouse fire (Source: Mr. Bongo, other sources say it was a flood) – this made this gem one of the most sought-after Brazillian records.
This album feels like the full force of nature, in the most literal sense: the psychedelic Rock/Folk album was made as a conceptual album, each side of the 2LP disc set covering one of the elements: Earth, Wind, Fire and Water.
This masterpiece is original and timeless: fuzzy guitars alternate with classical acoustic guitars, flutes and free saxophone, compelling vocals and tense percussion. Calm and meditative episodes switch to electrifying high-energy freak outs, creating a mind-bending soundscape.

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Lô Borges – Lô Borges (Odeon, 1972)

Easily the best blind buy I ever made years ago and one of the first Brazillian records I ever bought.
The solo debut of Lô Borges was recorded in the same year as Clube Da Esqina, which was basically the cornerstone for the same-named musical collective he founded together with Milton Nascimento.
This record highlights his inventive guitar play as well as his outstanding arrangement skills.
Beautifully combining Psychedelia with Latin vibes, always preserving a very creative and unique flavor that makes this album stand out.
The album contains 14 songs which are quite short and display his diversity greatly: “Você Fica Bem Melhor Assim” introduces the album with psychedelic wafting guitars, “Canção Postal” is a calm acoustic guitar piece, “Não se Apague Esta Noite” creates a dark, nightly atmosphere and
“Aos Barões” is one of the most compelling pieces on the album, starting out with a catchy piano part and ending with a mind-blowing psychedelic instrumental part. There is so much to discover in this sole album that I just can’t get enough.

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Arthur Verocai -Arthur Verocai (Continental, 1972)

“I could listen to the album every day for the rest of my life” Madlib

Well, that should basically say everything you need to know about this timeless masterpiece, right?
Verocai made an astonishing album, which he composed, produced and directed entirely on his own. It is only 29 minutes long, but every minute of it is precious and delicate. Folk is mixed with Latin, Jazz, Funk, and underlined with a 20-piece string orchestra.
“Caboclo” starts out with dreamy vocals and subtle strings, climaxing in an unsuspected, innovative tapestry of sound, while “Presente Grego” has an incredibly funky mellow vibe. “Dedicada a Ela” is a beautiful frail melancholy piece, starting with a killer guitar part which might sound familiar from Apollo Brown’s version of Ghostface Killah – “Enemies All Around Me” (2013) and “Velho Parente” incorporates the lightness of the vocals again with a funky instrumentation.

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Marcos Valle – Marcos Valle (Odeon, 1970)

Being a Bossa Nova musician before, a trip to the US changed Marcos Valle musical approach and lead him to incorporate American funk, soul and psychedelic influences.
It also drastically changed the content of his songs as he now started to veil political and social commentary under innocently sounding playful lyrics. This is the third album he made on Odeon after returning to Brazil.
The cover photo was made in the bedroom of his sister, underlining the sensual playfulness of the record.
“Dez Leis” is an intriguing piece showing his Soul influences and it also contains the most obvious political statement on the album.
“Esperando O Messias” also showcases his diverse influences with jazzy grooves and interesting flute parts.
The album ends with the four-piece instrumental “Suite Imaginaria”, which is the most experimental song on here.

In the video below you will get needle drops of the records mentioned above as well as additional rambling:

Download #vinyloftheday marketplace app now via http://cratedig.us/app to start selling, buying vinyl records, and discover interesting music through the shared vinyl records collection from the community.