- Freeform boogie laced with jazz, house and disco from a Brazilian mainstay.
- Brazil has long been a haven for jazz-funk aficionados. From the late '70s onwards, legends like Azymuth, Antonio Adolfo and César Camargo Mariano explored the country's rich traditions of samba, bossa nova, pop and soul through analog synthesisers, electric pianos, keyboards and guitars. Creating breezy grooves with hints of psychedelia and electro, they led a movement that continues to thrive today in the capable hands of São Paulo-based producer Pedro Zopelar.
Equipped with a keyboard, synth bass, drum machines and looped samples, Zopelar has been pushing a boogie-driven sound that combines elements of deep house, techno and disco. A veteran of the scene in Brazil's largest city, he co-runs the ODD collective (and its label ODDiscos) and has played with the ensemble Teto Preto and in the live improvisational duos My Girlfriend and Gaturamo. Both his solo work and group projects are energetic and dance floor-ready while carrying the torch for Brazil's storied jazz giants.
On Universo, Zopelar's latest offering for Apron Records, his signature brand of synth funk takes a minimalistic turn. The entire album is loungey, with simple but vibrant arrangements thanks to strategic splashes of bubbly acid and oddball bleeps. Opening with the hazy ambience of "Process Of Change," the LP moves onto spacey melodies and retro synthwave on "Back In The Game," which feels like a downtempo version of early Giorgio Moroder. "Fire Pit" is one of Universo's more upbeat cuts, bursting with stacked claps and springy bassline. That's followed by the samba-laced "City Heart"—an airy house cut perfect for DJs winding down their sets.
Channeling bits of Herbie Hancock and Prince (especially with Steven Julien's robotic vocals on the title track), Universo is a fun and light-hearted ride that might make you want to dim the lights or slip on some silk pyjamas. It's also a solid demonstration of Zopelar's versatility as a producer. He plays around with the buoyant spirit of '80s Brazilian music in a way that feels true to his inspirations, yet free of imitation.
01. Process Of Change
02. Back In Tha Game
03. Cidade Jovern
04. Fire Pit
05. City Heart
07. Funny Game
08 Universo (Steven Julien Edit)
09. Break The Cycle (Digital Only)