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Monthly Archives: September 2008

ARTIST – Cartola
ALBUM – Cartola
YEAR – 1976

An hommage to TCR – she loves this album, not more than I her, and the artist; we listen to this recording very often in her car. This is Angenor de Oliveira’s, a.k.a Cartola, second album and one of my favourites.

It is a beautifully arranged album, with popular songs that have made their mark on Brazilian music. I fancy this particular type of samba – what I consider to be real samba; not this shit you hear nowadays, all over the place. It’s a real pitty samba has drifted towards the “masses” and become bait for the superficially romantic – very sad, indeed…

What samba needs are more artists of this nature, of Cartola’s nature. His demeanor, in life, was simple, humble – he was a poor man, living in one of Rio’s most famous “hills” (morros), the Morro da Mangueira, a shantytown. Neverminding his humble beginnings he left his mark, definitively on Brazilian music, not just samba.

There’s a DVD of his I acquired a few years ago which is a register of a live recording session – splendid stuff. He talks and chats with the camera and his fellow “sambistas”. It has basically the same songs as on this LP. Most of the songs come from his mind, his pen. The rest are his rendering of other composers and writers.

So, let’s get to it. The album could not have gotten off to a better start. It recalls a poem by one of the greatest poets in Brazilian literature, Carlos Drummond de Andrade’s “Máquina do Mundo”. Cartola’s “O mundo é um moinho” is a melancholy piece of writing, about his daughter, who left home to try to figure her ways. Drummond’s poem, one of the all-time greatest, relates to a contemplation of life, unanswered questions and a somewhat absurd reasoning. Cartola may not have had writing skills like Drummond, but he knew what he was talking about. It’s a similar subject, the contemplation of life and its intricate meanings, where it can lead, through meandering corridors…

Ok, ok, ok… Too much??? Yeah, I guess so. So, let’s just allow the album to “speak” for itself. To seal this philosophical abstraction, I’ll only mention that my favourite song of all, from this album, unfortunatelly not written by Cartola, but by Candeia – another fabulous Brazilian composer -, is “Preciso me Encontrar”. “Rir pra não chorar”. Wow… Just grand.


ARTIST – Money Mark
ALBUM – Brand New By Tomorrow
YEAR – 2007

I just got this, and from what I’ve been “hearing”, it is fabulous. Really a good surprise – not expected AT ALL!!! Sweet and unpretentious rock n’ roll from a somewhat underground figure – he’s participated in myriad popular projects, such as the Beastie Boys and Beck. I’ll get back to this later though. For the time being, goes the suggestion and appreciation.


ARTIST – Breakbeat Era
ALBUM – Ultra-Obscene
YEAR – 1999

Roni Size – notable for his awarded and brilliant album NEW FORMS – teamed up with DJ Die, a.k.a Scorpio, and Leonie Laws on this project. It’s an adventurous album, well produced and with heavy hitting drum n’ bass beats. I picked this up while in London, back in ’99, along with some singles and remixes. I had been doing a little DJing back then – I tried!!!

This is not the best drum n’ bass album out there, but it is a very decent one. One of my personal favourites. I really like the mood and tone it sets. It’s gloomy and envolving. The force behind it, I reckon, are Laws’ cool raspy voice and the duo behind the decks’ beats. I’ve always enjoyed Roni Size and DJ Die; they’ve always developed music with expressive beats. Die, in particular, has always been a popular figure among my vinyls; he’s got the simplest beats, but they are so heavy and round and tight. Really good stuff.

This trio, however, did not last long. Oh well, probably for the best. I haven’t kept up with the drum n’ bass movement – it’s been a while actually. But, now and then, I pull out some old stuff to listen to, like this one. This CD has been lying around for a while now. Seems like a cyclical affair. Every year or so I get around to it, burn it to iTunes and drag it into my iPod library. A live performance link, here.

To the tracks. I really love “Rancid”, number 2. The bass is crazy, all big and distorted, plus the broken beats. Nice! “Ultra-Obscene” is the title track, the popular single. Not my favourite, but a good tune. I like Leonie’s moans and groans and the fast-paced cymbals. If “Bullitproof” is my favourite, then I can’t choose another?! This is my favourite, but I have another one, too. This is a wicked track. “Electrify, electrify…” Again, beats all over, cool distortions and sweet vocals. Ok, my next favourite is “Breakbeat Era”. Really, listen to this bass. It’s a simple bassline, granted, perhaps not the most inventive either, but it does it for me. Her voice with the booming bass is awesome!!! “Anti-Everything” is also definitely worth a listen. It’s angry, mad with a sort of slap bass and mean, mean drums – a delight. And, speaking of basslines – like I mentioned before, this album I like due to the mood it sets; it carries it throught -, try “Animal Machine”. “Max” – just listen, it’s short, but nasty. Last one is “Sex Change”. Talk about ambience. Your woofers will take a beating! Again, sort of an agry song, so much going on. Really cool vibe.


ALBUM – Modern Guilt
YEAR – 2008

Our friend Beck Hansen, a.k.a Bek David Campbell, released, this year, his latest MODERN GUILT. I’ve been on it for the past few weeks and must say it is both surprising and not. The contradiction is that ever since this guy’s been putting stuff out, it’s been good. His albums don’t get boring – they all seem to be new, reaching for something different. Beck appears to reinvent himself every couple of years or so with his records. They are all great. This, his latest, is not my favourite, but it’s definitely worth a mention. It’s an incisive record, well produced and very creative. He brings back some old sounds, very early rock n’ roll kind of stuff and mixes it up with synthesisers and what not. Really good effort by one of Scientology‘s preachers. This will be short; I’ve been keeping busy… Be back soon with some more reports…
‘Til then, cheers…