Lucas Arruda ‘Solar’ (Favorite France) 4/5

lucas-arrudaBorn in 1983 near Rio de Janeiro, Lucas Arruda initially studied electric guitar, before a shift in emphasis led him to Rhodes and Keyboards. Whilst expanding his range of skills he started his own studio and began forging a musical career in Brazil. In 2012 Fabricio Di Monaco (from Modo Solar) introduced Arruda’s music to Favourite Recordings’ head honcho Pascal Rioux, and one year later the Brazilian released his first solo album “Sambadi”, receiving impressive acclaim for the writer’s compositions and arrangements. “Solar” further develops Arruda’s growing reputation, with its stylish and smooth mix of elements from his Latin musical background creating a magical fusion of jazz, soul and funk.
One could say “Solar” is a throwback to Brazilian 70’s music at its best. Soulful, warm and heartfelt tunes blend with subtle rhythms and melodies to create a highly expressive and enjoyable album. There are some key influences in Arruda’s music, think Azymuth, Marcos Valle and Ed Motta, but Arruda manages to combine these with his own voice, creating his own individual sound. His vocals sound so natural, with a soulful expression that adds to the grooves and rhythms of his Fender Rhodes, leaving us with a vintage sounding mix to be treasured.
The intro to Solar is a sweet and chilled piece that gently leads us into the album, with a warm and uplifting vibe that simply glows with its subtle musicality. Then it’s into the cool laid back groove of the wonderful songs with their funky bass lines, melodic synths, über-cool Rhodes and luscious vocals. On the catchy “Melt The Night” Arruda asked legendary producer Leon Ware for assistance. His 80’s collaborations with Marcos Vale are evident here, adding a sophisticated boogie and soulful Californian touch to this immediately likeable tune. For “Uma Onda” Arruda collaborates with Azymuth bassist Alex Malheiros and together they pay tribute to their specific fusion sound and influence on the Brazilian music scene. “Agua” is a song co-written with Arruda’s longtime friend Fabricio Di Monaco and is a beautifully worked ballad which illustrates perfectly the writer’s passion for Soul Music stars such as Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield.

“Solar” is an accomplished album from an artist who truly “feels” the music he is making. Track after track of natural flair and gorgeous grooves are performed with style and sensitivity – the result being a recording that once you’ve listened to it, you’ll keep coming back for more. Uplifting and celebratory. An extremely joyful experience.

Mike Gates