Review Zopelar – Novaterra Vol. 1


If you want the synth, the whole synth and nothing but the synth, then this “mini-LP” is for you. It’s the first in the Selva Discos label’s new series called Novaterra, focusing on the music of contemporary Brazil. The artist chosen by the São Paulo outfit, Pedro Zopelar, uses keyboards, synth bass, drum machines and looped-samples to create a kind of intercontinental deep house vibe with no particular signature to set it apart from the happy crowd.

The opening “Livre” kicks things off quite pleasantly with a repetitive bossa hook to reel you in, but “Be Together” relies on an irritating “Why can’t we just be together?” refrain that builds from background to foreground with sufficient insistence to make you want to shout in reply, “Because we flaming CAN’T!” “Modo Avião” is a nice laid-back interlude that bodes well for the second side. Alas, nothing there really materialises to grab your attention. “NOX” is an organ-led tune with a nice phat bass line rather spoilt by a busy tinny drum motif that builds towards a mechanical ‘solo’ in which horrid thoughts surface of Howard Jones and Yazoo and synth-pop of the ’80s. “Dias Tensos” is the music equivalent of Brutalist architecture and mercifully doesn’t go on too long. “Boogie Da Paz” at least repairs the damage and winds things up with congas and a soaring synthesizer that might just tempt you onto the dance floor once you’ve finished your tequila sunrise. But it’s all a bit too heavy-handed, robotic and ultimately derivative either to suggest new musical lands or to lure you into the wonderful world of contemporary Brazilian music.

Novaterra Vol. 1 is out now and available from Bandcamp and other platforms

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