- Brazil has long had beautiful, covetable records. Its tropicália and bossa nova scenes are obsessed over, and the timeless catalogs of acts like Azymuth, Caetano Veloso and Os Mutantes are valued by DJs, producers, collectors, dealers and, naturally, reissue labels. Floating Points, Gilles Peterson, Antal and Madlib are notably enthusiastic for Brazilian music. (Peterson once traded his car for a copy of João Donato's Amazons.) Some may think there's not much else to discover in a country whose record bins have been searched so extensively, but there's always a clever digger looking where others aren't. With Outro Tempo: Electronic And Contemporary Music From Brazil 1978-1992, London-based DJ John Gómez presents a scene that explored new age in parallel to those in the US, Central America and Europe.
Should Gómez tire of finding records, he might consider a career as a private investigator. In a recent interview, he described the lengths he went to in locating the artists that appear on Outro Tempo: "I contacted a bar where I had read Carlinhos Santos used to perform in Porto Alegre; the organiser of a conference at which Priscilla Ermel had once given a paper; the producer at a theatre in Bahia where Andréa Daltro had performed in a show." He began sourcing this music after stumbling on a copy of Maria Rita's Brasileira in Japan, following a hunch that a scene of homespun electronics had existed in Brazil. He spent days digging through record stores in São Paulo. Despite the prices that vinyl from Brazil can fetch, no one was looking for pioneering electronic Brazilian records—yet. Still, Gómez was wary of Columbusing this scene. "This has been meaningful music to people in all these different contexts, for years before we 'discovered' it," Gómez told Stamp The Wax.
Outro Tempo recontextualizes this scene for the kind of music fan who, like Young Marco, could spend "a solid two years just listening to new age records." These tracks often take a well-known genre—jazz, folk, tropicália—and bend them, using primitive electronic techniques, into some alien form. On the opening track, Piry Reis' "O Sol Na Janela," he sounds like a drunken lounge singer backed by an experimental synthesizer ensemble. The electro drums on "Só Quero Um Xodó" are reminiscent of Mantronix on a Gilberto Gil hit. Luli E Lucina harmonize beautifully over "E Foi," a folk arrangement warped with effects.
The compilation's truly stunning moments apply avant-garde electronic techniques to the musical traditions of the Amazon rainforest region. Gómez notes this scene emerged during a period of creative freedom following Brazil's transition, in 1985, from dictatorship to democracy. This era also saw increased attention paid to previously nonexistent rights for the Amazon Indian population. Musicians like Priscilla Ermel traveled deep into the Amazon to study indigenous music. Ermel's Outro Tempo contributions—1989's "Gestos De Equilíbrio" and 1986's "Corpo Do Vento"—are dizzying fourth world journeys. "Gestos De Equilíbrio" segues from plucked, orientalist guitar section to evocative soundtrack-style work and a psychedelic Rhodes jam over the course of nine minutes. Tracks like these show how Brazil's new age artists worked towards a goal common among visionary artists in the field—combining the indigenous with the utterly alien.
01. Piry Reis - O Sol Na Janela
02. Nando Carneiro - G.R.E.S. Luxo Artesanal/O Camponês
03. Cinema - Sem Teto
04. Os Mulheres Negras - Só Quero Um Xodó
05. Fernando Falcão - Amanhecer Tabajara (À Alceu Valença)
06. Anno Luz - Por Quê
07. Andréa Daltro - Kiuá
08. Os Mulheres Negras - Mãoscolorida
09. Bené Fonteles - O M M
10. Carlinhos Santos - Giramundo
11. Priscilla Ermel - Gestos De Equilíbrio
12. Carioca - Branca
13. Marco Bosco - Sol Da Manhã
14. Maria Rita - Cântico Brasileiro No. 3 (Kamaiurá)
15. Marco Bosco - Madeira II (Mãe Terra)
16. Priscilla Ermel - Corpo Do Vento
17. Luli E Lucina - E Foi