So I had been meaning to post up about Brazil, the lead single off Gold Panda’s forthcoming second album Half of Where You Live. Title aside, I’d also read over at FACT that the track was ”influenced by a trip to Sao Paulo, where Gold Panda was amazed by the disparity between the country’s heritage and its new found wealth.” (That sounds a bit trite, obviously, but I’ve read a few interviews with the guy in the past that make me think it’s probably just a bit of artless blogger’s paraphrasing. A thoughtful dude).
Anyway, I was meaning to post something up about how interesting the idea of Brazil-inspired music from outside the country is, especially instrumental stuff, and especially when it goes beyond someone just dropping in a bit of berimbau. Maybe throw out a link to Flying Lotus’ São Paulo for good measure. But I see (via Kariann) that Chico beat me to it this afternoon, and went the extra mile as well. As he says, there’s not better advert for the country than this.
Late last year, Sounds & Colours launched Colombia, the first in a series of publications themed around the countries the blog covers. It’s a beautiful book that comes with a 16-track compilation of new and classic music from the likes of Meridian Brothers and Son Palenque, which The Quietus called an “expertly collated volume” and a “uniquely immersive experience”.
I’m delighted to see that the second book in the series is going to focus on Brazil.
Obviously for a self-run, self-hosted blog, the costs of putting together a publication like this and making sure it’s worth the paper it’s printed on are not inconsiderable. So they’re running a campaign over at indiegogo asking for contributions to help make it happen. You can pitch in anything from five to a hundred dollars, and what you get for your money varies accordingly: from a word of thanks in the book right up to limited edition prints and a subscription to the series. Here’s what you’ll be helping to make:
“From Rio to Recife, from São Paulo to São Luiz, from the Southern plains of Porto Alegre to the pumping soundsystems of Amazonian Belém, we’ll be covering every inch of Brazil, bringing its music, film, art and literature to life. With a team of expert writers, photographers and artists, S&C Brazil will be a passionate, in-depth, authoritative and thoroughly enjoyable journey into the Brazilian way of life.”
In more recent years, his career has tended more towards the art than the street, and the religious imagery that’s long been a feature of his work has really come to the fore – culminating in the work collected in this new book. Launched with an exhibition at Berlin’s Gestalten Space, the book’s also available from their online shop - I wouldn’t advise flicking through the slideshow on that page unless you’ve got £40 to spend on buying a copy.
Released between 1970 and 1974, the four albums represent Valle’s emergence from the established bossa nova scene into his exploration of samba, jazz, harder rock sounds, and black American music over time.
If you’re new to Valle and you want to sample just one, my personal pick would be Garra, which is arguably the least interesting and innovative of the bunch but is one of those LPs that’s just pure quality from start to finish. They’re all very much worth you’re time though, as this great recent piece from Wax Poetics makes clear. And for the vinyl junkies, it’s worth noting that original copies of these records tend to go for big bucks so you won’t want to sleep on these.
Interesting one, this. Last week, Brazil-based foreign correspondent Andrew Downie wrote a story for Time.com about the closure of the Engenhão, Brazil’s 2016 Olympic stadium, due to concerns over its structural integrity. Even if, like me, you’re already cynical about the whole Olympic-games-as-development idea, it’s a bit of an eye-opener.
The Pan Am Games’ João Havelange Stadium — now intended for the track-and-field competitions in the 2016 Olympics — has just been closed because it’s in danger of collapse. The velodrome is about to be knocked down because it isn’t up to Olympic standards. And a handful of other venues are being modernized or upgraded because they simply aren’t good enough.
But one the same day the article was published, he took to his personal blog to vent some frustration after Time editors wielded the scalpel claiming that, in his words, “it was too opinionated.” The uncensored version is slightly more emphatic.
“What I wanted to say loud and clear, and have been saying in conversation for years, is this: The people who ran Rio’s 2007 Pan American Games and who are organising the next Olympics are guilty of either deceit or bad planning or both.
For the Pan Ams they promised the city of Rio 54km of new metro, a light railway line and a new highway.
They did none of it.
The games were at least six times over budget and the justification was that the venues and facilities were expensive because they were of Olympic standard.
You might remember these guys from the briefly very popular indie band Mickey Gang, who back in 2009 were being compared to The Strokes (The Strokes when they were good, that is – not the 2009 Strokes!). Anyway, the boys from Colatina are back, minus a member but still trading in the same brand of catchy 80s-tinged guitar pop, as We Are Pirates. Have a listen to their most recent single here, or head over to their bandcamp page where you can literally name your price to download a half-dozen of their tracks.
The New Yorker’s John Colapinto goes long on the rise and demise of Amazonian “superfruit” Açai. It’s a hell of a long article but worth the time. You should be able to click on the pictures to get them full size.