Sao Paulo Underground - Tres Cabecas Loucuras
Label: Cuneiform Records
includes a download coupon for the digital version of the music.
Limited edition, one time-only pressing of 500 copies!
1. Jagoda's Dream
5. Just Lovin'
6. Lado Leste
7. Six Six Eight
8. Rio Negro
A modern approach to Brazil's tropicalia, that takes into account advances in sound manipulation and engineering. It is street music from the Brazilian subterranean avant-garde and it is confusingly wonderful
Formed around Rob Mazurek, a key player in the Chicago post rock/modern jazz scene, this is the third album by this outstanding jazz and electronics group with strong Brazilian/world music influences. Rob's cornet and electronics mingle with the 3 Brazilian musicians who provide the sounds of the cavaqquinho (the 'miniature guitar of Brazil), laptops, more electronics, loops, samplers, percussion, two drummers and vocals. "Tres Cabeças Loucuras" is the third album by Sao Paulo Underground and can be translated as either Three Crazy Heads or Three-Headed Craziness. The group have a huge, modern, catchy sound which launches Brazil's "Tropicalia' into a new, heavily electronic millennia.
Três Cabeças Loucuras (Portuguese for "three crazy heads") is the third release from São Paulo Underground to explore the furthest fringes of Brazil's revolutionary Tropicalia movement. Updating the renowned genre's patented psychedelia with free improvisation, laptop-driven electronica and musique concrete, the album unveils a spectrum of kaleidoscopic sound that pushes the bounds of each style to its limits, creating a new, unclassifiable amalgam in the process.
The group was originally co-founded by Chicago-based cornetist Rob Mazurek (Chicago Underground, Exploding Star Orchestra) and Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Mauricio Takara, whom Mazurek met while living in Brazil. They recorded their debut, Sauna: Um, Dois, Tres (Aesthetics, 2006), as a duo, eventually recruiting keyboardist Guilherme Granado and occasional drummer Richard Ribeiro for their sophomore release, The Principle of Intrusive Relationships (Aesthetics, 2008).
Expanding upon their previous endeavors, Três Cabeças Loucuras plumbs the limitless possibilities of the post digital age. A self-styled sound scientist and former student of the late trumpeter Bill Dixon's vanguard concepts, Mazurek's imaginative approach encompasses limitless sonic possibilities—all of which are entertained in this unrestrained environment. The group casually integrates computer generated loops and samples into its heavily amplified live performances, generating hypnotic electro-acoustic collages; despite the heavy processing, stereo-panning and studio manipulation, the lively rapport transcends mechanical limitations that often plague similar efforts. Takara, Granado and Ribeiro's mastery of traditional Brazilian forms like samba and maracatu lends stylistic authenticity to their excursions, providing a strong rhythmic and melodic basis for the quartet's freewheeling explorations.
The record's prevailing mood is one of celebratory innovation and bold experimentation. Blurring the line between electronic abstraction and acoustic formalism, "Carambola" is indicative of the ensemble's unfettered creativity; supported by understated percussion, the coruscating timbres of the cavaquinho (Brazilian guitar), reverb-laden brass and overdriven keyboards weave harmonious counterpoint into a new fusion of rural and urban tonalities. Underscored by an infectious polyrhythmic shuffle, "Jagoda's Dream" features some of Mazurek's most striking cornet work, while the celestial balladry of "Colibri" spotlights his mellifluous lyricism. Guest vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz and drummer John Herndon lend their estimable talents to the iridescent anthem "Just Lovin'" and the brooding "Six Six Eight," which also includes Matthew Lux on electric bass guitar. The latter number extends the post rock ambience of Herndon's primary band, Tortoise, into a roiling bitches' brew of polyphonic furor.
Brazil's Tropicalisimo movement has come a long way since the seminal efforts of Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. Sired by the inspired verve of like-minded souls, Três Cabeças Loucuras is more than just a jazz-based extrapolation of a venerable form—it's a fascinating new hybrid.
Each of the musicians is an example of the new vanguard in music; Rob in contemporary jazz and forward-looking rock and the 3 Brazilian musicians in updating and modernizing Brazilian musical forms. São Paulo Underground embodies a fascinating musical mixture of Sun Ra-esque cosmic noise and rhythms and phrasing from samba, maracatu, rock and free jazz traditions. The album has a huge, modern, laptop-laden, psychedelic sound which launches Brazil's "Tropicalia' into a new, heavily electronic millennia. One of it's charms is that it is very clear and direct and accessible, but it's also utterly filled with sound! This is the rare, ground-breaking effort that can be absorbed and enjoyed effortlessly; it's just a corker!