Psychedelic Pernambuco


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Performer Notes
  • Recife, the capital of Brazil's Pernambuco state, doesn't have the cultural profile of Salvador or Rio, but the port city has certainly made its contributions. It is perhaps best known for the heavily African-influenced maracatu styles in the 1990s for its Mangue Bit fusion movement. That said, it was also the center of an experimental rock and psych scene in the '60s and '70s. The Pernambuco bands all shared the same influences, from England and America, as well as a pastiche of Indian styles, but none of the bands resembled one another; they combined what they had assimilated in their own highly original ways. Psychedelic Pernambuco commences with the overdriven fuzz guitar unit, the Gentlemen (one of the best tracks on offer here, and one can only hope for more by them being uncovered and released one day), the disc actually focuses on four other artists. The most well-known of these is Lula C“rtes, who made records as a way of pissing off the government and therefore avoided compulsory military service. C“rtes' work is a complex -- and uneven -- amalgam of everything from bossa and samba to classically oriented choral works and electric and acoustic rock. The most fascinating tracks are by Geraldo Azevedo, who was, for all intents and purposes, a Donovan-styled pop crooner, though the sometimes Baroque psychedelia behind his voice often moved toward far more experimental terrain, some of it dissonant and acid-tinged, more of it simply lovely and framed in Brazilian folk styles. Marconi Notaro's cuts are almost indescribable save for their maracatu rhythms and the sitar-flavored folk-rock that flits across them all-too quickly. Finally, there's the drippy hippy group Flaviola e o Bando Do Sol, whose 12-string acoustic guitars, flutes, bongos, and vocal harmonies are almost painfully dated and were no doubt pretentious even at the time. Psychedelic Pernambuco is a very uneven, but sometimes engaging compilation, and is certainly worth sampling one's way through. ~Thom Jurek
Professional Reviews
Mojo (Publisher) (p.104) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[They] eschew melody for effects and discord and come up with an unhinged variation on flower power, driven by traditional percussion."
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