Saturday, November 5, 2022

Atenção!: Novos Sons Do Brasil (2022) Vinyl Review

Atenção!: Novos Sons Do Brasil  is a compilation of music from artists from Brazil. This is music folks in the U.S. may not have heard, this record expanding our notion of what Brazilian music is, beyond the usual samba and bossa nova that everyone is familiar with. This album provides a wonderful variety of music, yet there is also a good overall flow to it, those who chose the songs obviously taking care to create an enjoyable listening experience as well as an enriching one. After listening to this record, you will likely want to hear more from these artists (and I suppose that is the very point). A limited edition of this record was released on Record Store Day in April, on red vinyl. Now it is available more widely on black vinyl. This record was produced by Justin Gage and Andrew Rossiter.

Side A

This excellent collection opens with “O Espelho” from Chico Bernardes, a singer and songwriter based in Sãu Paulo. This is a track from his 2019 self-titled debut album. It begins as folk, but develops a very cool late 1960s vibe, a beautiful, somewhat dark psychedelic sound. This is a track I loved immediately, its slow pace, and the way it builds in power in certain sections while the vocals retain a gentler sound and a strange longing. That is followed by “Recomeçar” by Tim Bernardes, who is Chico’s brother. This song is the title track to his first solo album, and it has a gorgeous opening, especially in that vocal work. This track includes some intimate moments, with vocals and piano. It is like a lullaby, then like the dream itself, those beautiful strings ushering us into a dream world, which opens like a giant flower to welcome us.

From Ana Frango Elétrico (whose real name is Ana Fainguelernt), we get “Promessas E Previsões” from her 2019 album Little Electric Chicken Heart. This song has a good, relaxed groove and a warm, friendly vocal performance. The trombone adds a brighter element, giving the track a light jazz-pop feel. And soon this track attains more of a rock power, which it then willingly relinquishes again. I love how this music moves among different vibes and styles so easily, so beautifully. This is an absolutely wonderful song. I was in a miserable mood the day I first listened to this record, and songs like this one helped wash so much of that away. That’s followed by “Reflexões Navais” by Irmão Victor. This track has an odd beginning, sounding like it is winding down, as if about to stop, like a turntable that loses power while the needle is still in the groove, while the voice seems soothed by it. And that element remains even as the song grows to involve other voices. There is some unusual and interesting guitar work here, and even more interesting vocal work, with some unexpected moments of beauty. It is a captivating piece. The first side of the record then concludes with “Lagartia” by Catavento. This song has a smooth pop-jazz sound, with a strong groove. The vocals having a soothing quality, but it is the beat I find myself latching on to. And the instrumental section toward the end has a hypnotic, dreamy feel, so that sudden conclusion caught me off guard, like being pulled out of a pleasant dream unexpectedly, prematurely.

Side B

The second side of the record opens with Sessa’s “Dez Total (Filhos De Gandhy),” a song with more of a folk vibe, with an easygoing, pleasant atmosphere. When the backing vocalists come in, the song reaches another level, and reminds me in some ways of some of the early work of Leonard Cohen. According to the record’s liner notes, Sessa now resides in New York. This one is over all too soon. It is followed by “Volta E Meia,” from O Terno (a group that includes Tim Bernardes on vocals and guitar), joined by Shintaro Sakamoto and Devendra Banhart. This is another interesting track, with a variety of elements, including a spoken word section. It comes from the group’s 2019 album <Atr​á​s​/​Al​é​m>. It ends gently. Then “Olodé” from Kiko Dinucci features acoustic guitar, but played with a terrific punk energy. This is fantastic. Then when the vocals come in, surprisingly it is the backing vocalists that we hear first (almost like a chant or some kind of ceremony). But what really drives this piece forward is that repeated rhythm on the guitar, played with a delicious intensity. This is another of the record’s highlights. It comes from Kiko Dinucci’s 2020 album, Rastilho (which was released on vinyl this year).

“Anos Incríveis” has a softer folk sound, delivered at a slower pace. This is a song that Giovani Cidreira included on his 2021 album Nebulosa Baby, but the version here comes from a disc he put out the previous year with Josyara, titled Estreite. I love the blending of the male and female vocals on this version. The vocals are the focus here, and this track had a certain beauty. This one too has a dreamlike quality in the way the music rises like a wave to wash over us, somehow both soothing and haunting us. This collection concludes with “Obatalá” from Metá Metá, a group that includes Kiko Dinucci on guitar and vocals. As it begins, it feels like a gentle folk song. But soon a more chaotic element is introduced, a jazzier element, and somehow those two disparate elements work well in conjunction. The piece then settles, and feels like a cool evening by the ocean when the sun has just gone down, when thoughts are allowed to drift, or disappear altogether, and you feel completely in the moment. And perhaps the song carries us through the night, because the saxophone seems like the sun about to rise, like a new day is announced. And then day and night are combined, and we know we are in some other realm, one without worries or clocks, where logic is not valued as highly as imagination. A wonderful ending to an excellent collection of music.

Record Track List

Side A

  1. O Espelho – Chico Bernardes
  2. Recomeçar – Tim Bernardes
  3. Promessas E Previsões – Ana Frango Elétrico
  4. Reflexões Navais – Irmão Victor
  5. Lagartia – Catavento

Side B

  1. Dez Total (Filhos De Gandhy) – Sessa
  2. Volta E Meia – O Terno, Shintaro Sakamoto, Devendra Banhart
  3. Olodé – Kiko Dinucci
  4. Anos Incríveis – Josyara, Giovani Cidreira
  5. Obatalá – Metá Metá

Antenção!: Novos Sons Do Brasil was released on September 30, 2022 through Org Music and Aquarium Drunkard.

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