Sao Paulo Underground play an exciting mélange of Brazilian, Jazz, and Electronic music. On Tres Cabecas Loucuras, Rob Mazurek has teamed up yet again w/Mauricio Takara, Guilherme Granado, and Richard Ribiero, plus a slew of guests, creating sounds that conjure visions of tropical vegetation and dense urban jungle through a distorted lens. SPU's use of electronics with traditional afro-centric sonorities and rhythms adds dimension and excitement to an already vibrant conception. Whether it's subtle flourishes or heavily processed instruments, it's always integral to the music.
The first song, "Jagoda's Dream", begins with a sunny keyboard arpeggio and drums while Mazurek's singsong melody gently guides us in. He then breaks into solos punctuated by Freddie Hubbard — like trills that add a slight amount of danger to his otherwise luminous runs. "Pigeon" sounds like a lost track from 'Congotronics' in the best way possible way, with kalimba-esque melodies forming the foundation of this short piece. "Colibri" has a disembodied, heavily processed vocal wafting around guitar, cornet, and tremolo-rich keys, while drums freely roll beneath, eventually falling into a breezy rhythm."Just Lovin'" features hanging vibe notes and swinging, crashing drums. A mallet ostinato gives it a kraut-ish feel, until the bridge comes in and reminds us we are on the beach and not the autobahn. "Lado Leste" has an almost oriental melodic intent, with crunchy distortion just out of earshot, wrapping the music in a fuzzy blanket; by the end we are standing inside of a tinkling music box. "Six Six Eight" features insistent mallets and sinewy cornet, snaking in and out of some tricky drumming, courtesy of Tortoise's John Herndon. The bass propels us through Mazurek's inspired soloing and back into the refrain, showcasing some quick drum freakouts before an excellent vibe solo.
Lastly "Rio Negro" brings to mind late '60's McCoy Tyner, with a heavy African sounding horn riff that nearly collapses under the weight of its own ping ponging, distorted brass, heavy key bass and rollicking drums — and then much too suddenly, it's over.
Overall this record is a bit less experimental than previous SPU records, but remains texturally rich and dynamic in movement — offering another view into their technicolor, sun drenched sound world.
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