Various ‘Amplificador. Novissima Música Brasileira: the Brazilian 10s Generation’ CD/LP/Dig (Far Out) 5/5

amplificadorHere is a supremely well thought out compilation of contemporary Brazilian music from the various underground scenes that does precisely what all the very best compilations should do and enlightens the listener as to what is actually happening in the present day music by selecting the strongest elements. Potentially, this could have gone astray and covered too wide a territory. However, in the very capable hands of curator Marcelo Monteiro and his devoted team one need have no such fears since the music is generally sumptuous and never anything less than excellent. A classy red, white and black cover adds a decidedly 1960s retro feel to the whole package and fans of classic Brazilian music from that era will find all manner of connections here, but, in addition, a whole new set of rhythms to familiarise themselves with and that is the genius of this fine overview. The compilation works best on the samba associated numbers such as the samba-funk of ‘Iracema’ by Fino Coletivo. Here the lush mid-tempo groove is taken at a leisurely pace that suits the Caetano Veloso inspired vocal delivery and the gentlest of fender rhodes/electric piano sounding in the background. In a more uptempo mood is the terrific bubbling percussion on the instrumental ‘Iconili’ by O Rei de Turpanga with lovely dub-soaked horns. Afro-Beat and Brazilian music at first sight may not seem obvious bedfellows, yet the history of Brazil is steeped in Afro-Brazilian culture and ‘Abayony’ by Obatala is taken at a lesser tempo than its Nigerian ancestors might attempt and the piece features some lovely soloing from both rhythm guitar and keyboards. For sheer eclecticism Zulumbi from the state of Pernambuco could hardly be bettered and their heady mix of art and social conscience with musical influences as diverse as funk, rock and rap reminds one of the US new wave groups of the 1970s such as Talking Heads. In fact David Byrne is similarly evoked on the indie rock flavours of Summertime’s ‘Luziliza’, though somewhat less impressive is the offering from the Baggios. Elsewhere there are echoes of the great Brazilian guitarist Rosinha de Valença on the all acoustic ‘Faria lima pra cá’ by Passo Torto and of note here are the lead vocals that conjure up Edu Lobo in his prime. Where this CD wins hands down over the standard Brazilian compilation is that it delves into the very recent contemporary scene and extracts some extremely hard to find grooves that have a classic feel to them and the rootsy samba of ‘Cerveja’ populares’ typifies that being an example of an EP of the south Rio music scene, complete with trombone and cavaquinho. Simply delightful and likely to feature on the summer playlists and beyond of more than one discerning DJ.

Tim Stenhouse