DJ Dolores ‘Banda Sonora, Música para filmes’ (Far Out) 3/5

DJ-doloresContinuing Far Out’s series of DJ-themed explorations of Brazilian music comes the second instalment this time from Recife-based DJ Dolores. Fans of the Luaka Bop label dear to David Byrne will remember Dolores’ first international effort that catapulted him to global attention and this latest offering pretty much repeats the formula, though not necessarily as effectively as the first time round when roots sounds were in evidence. For those not already familiar with the musical styles, DJ Dolores focuses on the Mangue Bit movement out of Recife in north-eastern Brazil which fuses electronic beats with a Brazilian roots twist. As with the previous DJ , there are positive and negative aspects to the fusion of acoustic and electronic sounds and at the very least it is not what you might expect of Brazilian music. That being said, Brazilian music does not have to conform to international stereotypes of who it’s music should sound and the sheer vastness of the country lends itself to cultural diversity. It should be stressed that this is not a collection of existing film soundtrack pieces in the classic vein, but rather an imagined set of numbers by Dolores himself with a cinematic vision in mind.

One problem here is that the production is sometimes so heavy that the vocals that are often excellent are lost in the background. Thus on ‘O Amor Vai’ the vocals are competing with rock guitar and club heavy bass while the opener ‘Abertura (Narradores de Javé)’ is a horn-led dub step number and not the kind of piece one would expect on a film soundtrack at all. On the plus side, the lo-fi production on ‘Amor plástico e barulho’ is very 1980s with its use of synthesizers and almost a Manu Chap meets Pac-Man which is an interesting concept. Perhaps for the future, DJ Dolores would be better served focusing on more melodic and laid back grooves that could conceivably grace a film soundtrack and this latest attempt rather misses its mission objective which is a shame. The creative cartoonesque retro black and white cover hints at the 1960s whereas the music within is very much Brazil of the twenty-first century.

Tim Stenhouse