Brazilian label Proposito Records are no strangers to provocation. Based in Goiânia, their musical output can most certainly be put in the experimental category, often featuring one or two Brazilian musicians/producers working within a small setup of software and minimal instrumentation. Hip-hop beats have often been a feature, but on their latest two releases they take centre-stage, though in surprising ways.
P&B Series aka Spiritual Preto e Branco by label boss Bruno Abdala is a four-track EP with an inventive approach to hip-hop beats. “Pedrinho, My Nigga Lil P” is, first of all, simply a killer beat, with sampled female vocals, a horn sample and cuíca percussion giving a real taste of Brazil. It’s the liveliest track here with Abdala offering up some of his most rhythmic work to date. This continues on “Abandoned On The Floor”, a gorgeous riff of bass and synth, and “Viet Hunter”, which involves a classic hip-hop beat tied to Middle Eastern percussion. It’s only on final track “Love Is More Powerful” that we hear the close recordings and ambience that have been big features of Abdala’s works in the past. The track’s labelling as ‘spiritual works’ seems somehow pertinent.
“A Flower In The Place To Be” is a new track by The Papes, otherwise known as Guilherme Granado – of São Paulo Underground, Hurtmold and Bodes e Elefantes, to name a few of his groups – and Bruno Abdala again. This first single from the duo contains elements of candomblé, Middle Eastern percussion and deep bass lines. It’s described by the duo themselves as ‘Spiritual Gangster’, who also cite Jeru the Damaja as an influence on the song.
Colombia’s premier tropical noise trio Los Pirañas are back with a video for one of the standout tracks on recent album La Diversión Que Hacía Falta En Mi País.
“Del Sol, A 18 Minutos” is in fact a cover of legendary Argentine rocker Luis Alberto Spinetta’s “A 18 Minutos del Sol”, the title track from perhaps the jazziest album Spinetta ever made back in 1977. Quite aptly then, the video from Los Pirañas’ version features Spinetta (who passed away in 2012) coming back to life to terrorise the three musicians (who also play in bands such as Ondatropica, Meridian Brothers, Frente Cumbiero and Romperayo) in a video that is part b-movie horror, part Scooby Doo and part The Monkees’ going off the deep end, i.e. Head.
You can buy/listen to La Diversión Que Hacía Falta En Mi País at Bandcamp.
DJ Tudo is something of an ambassador for traditional Brazilian (and world) music. He’s been featured on this site many times before, whether for his funky globetrotting band DJ Tudo e Sua Gente de Todo Lugar, for his record label O Mundo Melhor (filled with great field recordings of Afro-Brazilian and other spiritual Brazilian music), and even for his DJing and production work. In this instance I want to flag up his latest mixtape, which he has posted to Soundcloud and which is simply titled Mixtape Ijexá (Afoxé) 01.
The mixtape features 45 heady, blissful minutes of afoxê, a Brazilian musical genre which has evolved from ijexá, a rhythm played on atabaque hand drums which was brought to Brazil by African Yoruba slaves, and which is also a key element of candomblé rhythms. Afoxê has gained some national recognition in Brazil due to artists like Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Clara Nunes and Gal Costa using the rhythm, as well as the group Filhos de Gandhi, who are a prominent group in Salvador’s carnival, the city seen as the epicentre of afoxê music.
You can listen to DJ Tudo’s Mixtape Ijexá below. We’re also very excited about a new DJ Tudo album which is currently in the works, and which will feature Ana Tijoux, as per this clip from Tudo’s Facebook.
The spring and start of summer are a fruitful time for new music releases, which may explain why we’ve been inundated with new music. As usual, the quality has been high and the choices as eclectic as always. What follows are 23 of our favourite new tracks from Latin America (or inspired by Latin America) of the past few months.
1. SigObrilllAndo y El Sueño De La Casa Propia “Bonita” We’re very excited about this upcoming release. Experimental electronic music producer ESDLCP has teamed up with Chilean SigObrilllAndo, a bit of a local rock legend, for a new release of which this is the first taster, an ominous beat-driven masterpiece.
2. Rolando Bruno “Tortuguita Marina” What is it about cumbia and Super Mario Bros that seems like such a perfect fit? On this new video Argentine-born chicha enthusiast finds the perfect vehicle for a catchy retro fuzz guitar ditty.
3. Quantic & Nidia Góngora “Amor En Francia” After teaming up a ridiculous amount of times since their first collaboration on Quantic’s 2009 album Tradition In Transition, these two finally get together for a whole album of música pacifica rhythms and instrumentation propelled by Quantic’s beats, production and fine musicianship.
4. María Pien – Tres Poemas EP This Argentine singer has put aside her more traditional indie folk/anti-folk setup for an exploratory album of poetry, sound and image. A brave and rewarding listen.
5. Emisario Greda “Todo Azul” Inventive dreamy indie pop from Chile’s Emisario Greda. This is the first single off new album Anhelario.
6. Absurdos do Samba “Absurdo 05” Three of São Paulo’s finest talents have teamed up for a new album of sambas with a difference. With melodies written by Rodrigo Campos, lyrics by Nuno Ramos, Juçara Marçal on vocals and Gui Amabis taking care of arrangement, it’s an ambitious work inspired by Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus, which is one of the finest records to come out of the city’s Clube da Encruza collective.
7. Lone Piñon “Patricia” A new three-piece from New Mexico who are in the words of their label boss “spearheading a revitalization of Chicano string music from New Mexico and Northern Mexico”.
8. Carmen Costa “Cabrón” ft. María Daniela Captivating new single from this Mexico band’s upcoming new album.
9. Nina Miranda “I Am…” She has collaborated with tonnes of people over the years, and been an integral part of groups like Smoke City, Zeep and Shrift, yet crazily she has not released a solo album until now. Freedom of Movement will be the name of the album and it will most certainly be full of Miranda’s contagious energy, passion and musical ideas.
10. Juana Molina “Paraguayos” Molina is joined by her mum in the first video to be released from new album Halo. The music is as spellbinding as normal.
11. Desayuno Continental “Un Millón de Problemas” Good-time indie-pop from Montevideo with a definite liking for Orange Juice, addictive stuff.
12. Los Espiritus “Huracanes” Agua Ardiente, the new album from Argentina’s Los Espiritus has plenty of great tracks, of which this rhythmic garage stomper is a great example.
13. Moira “Memories” Catchy vocals and a real nostalgic vibe are at the heart of this first single from Norwegian/Chilean singer Moira.
14. Bárbara Eugênia & DJ Tide “Meu Ofrinho de Amor” (Unofficial Video) Quality brega pop from one of Brazil’s finest chanteuses, teaming up here with the inestimable DJ Tide.
15. EEEKS “Il Novo 60’s” We’re predicting big things for this group from Asunción, Paraguay whose sound does not hide from its influences, but has that one important quality, which is the ability to craft deadly pop melodies and emotion. Expect to hear a lot more from this group.
16. Gepe “Hablar de Tí” There’s a bit of a pseudo-reggae rhythm going on on this new track from Gepe, the first taster from upcoming album Ciencia Exacta, which is due out on May 26th.
17. AJ Davila “17” The Puerto Rican punk is coming out of his skin on new album El Futuro with catchy grunge-pop anthem “17” just one of many highlights.
18. Dat Garcia “El Amor Me Entra En Sonidos” Another intoxicating slice of other-wordly electronica from Argentina’s Dat Garcia, whose latest album Maleducada recently came out on ZZK Records.
19. El Mató a un Policía Motorizado “El Tesoro” Title track from the new album by these definitive Argentine indie-rockers, proving they still know how to pack an emotional punch.
20. Nomade Orquestra “Jardins de Zaira” This São Paulo-based big jazz band are back with another album, EntreMundos (to be released in June), and “Jardins de Zaira” is our first taste of the sound. A heady mix of East and West African influences, with serious schooling in Western jazz and Afro-Brazilian rhythms.
21. Battle of Santiago “Aguanileo” Fiery opening track from the new album by Battle of Santiago, a group of Canadians and Cubans trying to unite jazz, rock and Latin music. On “Aguanileo”, with its psychedelic waves of sound, they find a beautiful place between disorientation and groove.
22. Niño Koi “Nigredo” Heavy, ambitious post-rock goodness from Costa Rica’s Niño Koi.
23. George Christian “Velhonovencontradoson(ho)s” Not always the easiest listening experience, there is beauty in the experimental guitar playing and fragile atmospheres of baiano George Christian.
Welcome to a brand new feature on the site, a regular playlist that will bring you some of the music we’ve been listening to here on the Sounds and Colours stereo. To start off we’ve got 20 tracks from across Latin America and its diaspora, with a tonne of new tracks and a few older cuts from recently-released compilations. Enjoy!
The classic saying that has always stuck with Velvet Underground was supposedly once said by Brian Eno: “The first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years. I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.” It speaks of the influence of the band, especially in terms of their ability to influence other bands.
Since Eno said those words I think it’s fair to say that their influence has grown even stronger, spreading far and wide across the globe, with its tentacles reaching and setting root firmly in Argentina. A few years ago we reported on the fact that the Argentine indie music scene had put together a track-by-track cover of VU’s debut album Velvet Underground & Nico. Now, it’s the turn of Argentine singer/songwriter Pablo De Caro who has put together a 5-track tribute to the Velvet Underground.
Imaginatively titled Vuelvete Underground (translating as something like “Becoming Underground”), the EP features covers of three Velvet Underground tracks, “Femme Fatale”, “Candy Says” as well as the less-known “Over You”, as well as covers of Nico’s “The Fairest Of The Seasons” and John Cale’s “Andalucia”, all of which have been translated into Spanish. Simply recorded with guitar, vocals and sparse cello, drums and keyboards, the release shows once more the incredible influence of the Velvet Underground worldwide, as well as the Argentinian passion for a bit of VU.
Listen and download (for free) Vuelvete Underground below:
Excuse me if you’ve heard this one before as this track has been rattling around the Internet for a week or so now. This is the unlikely tale of Will Smith‘s re-emergence on the music scene after a near-decade silence. For his comeback he decided to work with Bomba Estéreo on a version of their “Fiesta” track, from their recent Amanecer album. The collaboration came after “Big Will” (as he perpetually likes to call himself) heard the track on a trip to Colombia and felt the need to get jiggy on it.
The resultant collaboration can be seen and heard below in a brand new video set in a dystopian warehouse perfect for the track’s carnal pleasures. As for Smith’s return to rapping the less be said the better. Quite why Smith thinks peddling stereotypes about going to Colombia in search of his own Sofia Vergara or other colombiana in designer clothes is beyond me. And the rhymes (asking a mamacita for a beer-a!) well there can be no doubt he’s out of practice.
Yet Smith’s presence has propelled the track onto new heights. Whereas “Fiesta” reached #20 in the Latin Pop digital charts on first release, this remix has already shot to #1. Which tells you all you need to know about the price of popularity. Get a Fresh Prince on your track and you’re guaranteed a hit, even when it means he then has to rap on it. Let’s just hope that the new fans Bomba Estéreo have surely accrued through the exercise stay loyal and the group stick to their roots rather than get too wrapped up in Miami’s superficial sound machine.
There can be little doubt that Algodón Egipcio is one of the most inventive producers in Latin America. The Caracas-born musician has constantly evolved since first emerging as half of Jovenes y Sexys, following that much-loved group with his exquisite debut album La Lucha Constante, through his expertly-judged covers and countless remixes, as well as the incredible track “La Espina del Cardenche” for the Norte Sonoro EP (still one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard!).
Now Algodón Egipcio is back with a stunning new track, Multiestabilidad, inspired by and sampling the work of underground British producer Mark Fell on his 2010 Multistability album (listen to one of the tracks from the album here), a work of extreme detail and granular synthesis that is given soul and bounce on Algodón’s version, even though the harsh edges and flowing glitches remain intact under its new guise. It is most certainly a brand new feather in Algodón’s cap.
Special things happen when we listen to the latest EP from Ecuador’s Quixosis. Gentle beds of percussion, melody and carousing bass find a perfect blend between ambience and downtempo tropical bass for an enriching sonic experience that gets better the louder you can pump up that bass.
Described simply on the release as “A journey, a show of strength and taste by newcomer Quixosis. Andean vibe, deep and delightful on the ears”, it’s a description that sits perfectly with the subtle, gentle but intoxicating nature of this release.
Aguas EP is released by QTZLCTL, a music collective featuring Gorka Molero and Nicola Cruz, and which has previously released material by El Búho, Okasno and Nicola Cruz (a recent signing to ZZK Records).
Essentially, when El Sueño De La Casa Propia publishes any music we listen, such is the high regard we have for this Chilean producer. After all, this is the man responsible for Historial de Caidas (2010), one of the most important electronic music records of the modern era and one that could be seen as a precursor for a lot of the digital music being made right now. Just listen to Algodón Egipcio, Sokio or deMentira and you will hear echoes of his inventive, distinctive style.
ESDLCP is currently working on a new release, a 7-track album that will be co-released by Ponk Records and CLANG, and is due for release very soon. In the meantime, to celebrate his upcoming performance at CFT in Santiago, Chile he has posted this live set, recorded at Bar 1 on February 6th this year. Clear proof on why you need to be keeping an eye on this maverick musician.
The tag of “post-tropicália” has never felt more apparent that on the latest release from Ava Rocha. Ava Patrya Yndia Yracema is the second album from the Rio-born singer and offers 12 tracks of astonishing inventiveness and originality. At times the music recalls classic tropicália, as on the Caetano-esque orchestrations of “O Jardim” or “Herética”, at other times it can be abrasive as with the direct, post-punk anti-police overtones of “Auto das Bacantes”. Then there’s the psych-pop of “Transeunte Coração”, “Beijo No Asfalto” with hints of Marcos Valle’s 70s jazz or the Tom Zé/Jorge Ben hybrid of “Uma”.
What is certain on Ava Patrya Yndia Yracema is that whichever way you look at it this is an album bristling with ideas, but also one that somehow fits within the pop canon. There’s a myriad of emotions on offer but it’s always done with a flair for melody and soul, and with Rocha’s distinctive voice guiding the whole project. It’s an ambitious album and shows that Rocha has grown into one of Brazil’s most interesting artists, something that was only hinted at on her debut album Diurno in 2011.
The majority of songs are written by Ava Rocha and her partner Negro Leo – another artist well worth checking out – alongside contributions from Jonas Sá, Domenico Lancellotti and Marcelo Callado (of Do Amor and Caetano Veloso’s Cê band). What unites these songwriters – along with the musicians on the album – is that they are all based in Rio de Janeiro, a city that currently has an exciting experimental music scene, a scene that is harnessed to the full on this extraordinary disc.
You can download Ava Patrya Yndia Yracema for free from avarocha.com (just click on the album cover)
NB: Oh, and if you were wondering about Rocha’s name, then yes, she is the daughter of famed Brazilian film-maker Glauber Rocha. But don’t let that be the reason you listen to this album, Ava is a talent in her own right.
SIBÖ is a brand new collaboration between Costa Rica’s Nillo and Brazil’s Sentidor, both artists pushing the boundaries of new Latin American electronica. The duo’s debut represents the first release on SUPOLOLO, a brand new online record label aiming to showcase emerging artists from Latin America.
Nillo and Sentidor’s collaboration took place completely online, using Skype, Soundcloud, Facebook, Dropbox and Ableton Live to complete the release. The partnership took place after Nillo (aka Johnny Gutierrez) heard one of Sentidor (João Carvalho)’s songs online. Here’s Johnny to explain: “I liked one of João’s songs and was abducted by his sounds. My music is filled with dark sounds and I found balance with João’s sequences. That’s why I got interested in talking to him.” The feeling was mutual: “I heard Johnny’s music and really liked it, above all because of the sounds from native tribes from Costa Rica. It’s something that I had plans to work with in my own music”, says João.
The release features the sounds of both producers hard at work, alongside two voices. One of these is João. The other is Unchi, referred to by the duo as “one of the greatest singers of Ngäbe chants in [Costa Rica].” These chants come courtesy of Johnny Gutierrez and his passion for recording and compiling indigenous sounds and chants from Costa Rica, especially those from the Ngäbe people, which he has been doing for 15 years.