Outro Tempo. A term coined in a conversation between Brazilian artist Priscilla Ermel and John Gomez, as John put together the first compilation to take that name. A collection of music, which as Priscilla put it, was “outside time”. Independent releases crafted by activists who sought to preserve Brazil’s musical traditions by fusing them with modern Western movements. Such as Ambient, Minimalism, and New Age. A set which required a whole lot of leg work from John. As digging took him to Spain, Japan, and Brazil, and sleeve note credits had him tracking down bars, theatres, and radio stations. Trying to locate these Avant-Garde perpetrators. In doing so opening up a lost world to folks looking for something a little bit different.
Outro Tempo II is with us. In shops yesterday (Saturday May 25th). Like its predecessor it`s a super interesting listen. One that moves you easily between the accessible, and the not so. Providing an eighty-odd minute dive into otherness. Goodness knows we all need a break from reality sometimes. Segueing between the beautiful and the – slightly – challenging. I say slightly, `cos to my ears II is more Pop, less experimental, than I. Some of the cuts could sit alongside the “deviants” on Music From Memory’s Uneven Paths collection. Fausto Fawcett`s Shopping De Voodoos, for example. Where spoken word navigates spare downtempo Funk, and seductive sirens call from the distance. The same can be said for Dequinha E Zaba`s dark, a tad Gothic – think Lena Platonos` Bloody Shadows From Afar – Preposições. While others, such as the echoed shouts and percussion of Júlio Pimentel`s Gersal are certainly “out there”. Again the record showcases a mix of machines and musical history. Heritage taking the shape of Berimbau, handclaps, Roma violin, Spanish / Portuguese guitar, whistles and woodwinds. These accompanied by fretless bass, and drum synthesizers. Clattering Industrial or emitting the gentle “click and tschhh” of a Casiotone shuffle. Soaring, seesawing, ping ponging keys. Electronic drones, and six-string microtones. Tabla in with the Tropicalia. Vocals are sometimes treated, vocoder-ed. Sometimes rendered weightless. Drifting out in a jet sky. On Quero-Quero, Tetê Espíndola`s sound almost like laughter. A crazy Do-Wop. A mad Mint Juleps. On Americua, Priscilla Ermel recalls the magical Maria Rita. The song`s melody carried in counter rhythms. Chance sample dialogue in snippets, a la Savant. Império Dos Sentidos whispers in Japanese, while crunching Rock riffs pierce its cinematic soft-focus soundtrack. Like Eric Serra scoring a long slow walk in high heels and lingerie for some heavily stylized 80s Art House flick.
Another standout is Angel’s Breath`s Velvet which sounds like Bill Laswell reworking Vangelis` Blade Runner, with Carte De Sejour providing supporting chants. Its percussion all steely, metallic, strings orchestral, and fret-work in electric arcs. The one really uptempo track is Jorge Degas & Marcelo Salazar`s Ilha Grande. Something of a sought after Jazz Dance classic, its Fusion takes flight out from a sampled stream. Percussionist Salazar tonking tamborim, timbales and triângulo. The latter in the manner of Norman Conners` Mother Of The Future. Which gives you an idea of the pace the track`s setting. How it races compared to the downtempo material that surrounds it. Salazar also contributes percussion to May East’s Maraka, the opening song on the compilation. There`s a fair amount of healthy interaction going on between the artists and bands featured. Several of the pieces are lifted from a 1991 scene-documenting record released on R.H. Jackson’s Manifesto imprint. Jackson and Dequinha were both in the group Low Key Hackers. Akira S provided percussion for Chance, and was also a member of Voluntarios Da Patria. A couple of compositions include contributions from Miltar Subotic – perhaps better known in his Rex Ilusivii alias. The legendary Serbian “Ambient” producer, who relocated to Brazil, before his untimely passing.
The collection closes with Carrousel by Tião Neto. The veteran Jazz bassist, who worked tightly with Sergio Mendes for decades. Here he blends kids` voices with playful chimes, idiophone ripples, and the sighs of a synthesized choir. It`s a bit like a beat-less take on A Man Called Adam`s Estelle. Creating a nostalgic atmosphere of happy reflection. Before fanfaring childhood`s end with a a final blast of fairground Wurlitzer.
You can order a copy of John Gomez` Outro Tempo II: Electronic And Contemporary Music From Brazil 1984-1996 directly from Music From Memory.