And now, something completely different: Beija Flors Velho E Sujo, an eclectic, experimental rush through sexy, South American streets, and it’s unlike anything you’ve heard before. That last sentence has been echoed throughout the decades; nowadays, it may be greeted with an ‘oh yeah? We’ll see about that’. Prepare to be shocked – this is genuine, sonic skull candy. Falling in love with the curvy, sultry brass of Brazil is an easy thing to do, and the experimentation on offer is as entertaining as it is exploratory. It’s a pure delight, and it’s what makes the record such an appealing listen.
The music inside is instantly lovable because it’s so different. You can tell that the recording process was a lot of fun, and the liberal, frenetic atmosphere has soaked into the music. Sure, the music may not thank you for calling it adorable – it may growl, snap and try to bite at the suggestion – but you can’t help but love it for its lively unpredictability. For example, you’ll discover the melodic temptation of latin jazz, a sizzling sound that fluctuates between tropicalia and spluttering, spaced out psychedelic vibes; it’s music that reaches beyond the outer limits. There is nothing wrong with your stereo system – it’s just the sound of São Paulo Underground. Do not attempt to adjust the volume!
“Into The Rising Sun” quickly accelerates the music with a spicy kick of percussion, burning fiercely against the vivid red flares of brass instrumentation. The trio take chances that pay off in spades. Their music is a joyride of accessible, yet sprawling improvisations packed with exciting flavours and a few surprises. “Over The Rainbow” is such a discovery – you may have heard it before, but not like this! It’s a beautiful, soothing cover, a seductive haven of rolling piano lines and passionate playing, conjuring up a melodic spiral of colourful notes that never spin out of control.
Eclectic and ephemeral, the trio of São Paulo Underground explore the possibilities of music – musicians on a quest to push the limits. “Six-Handed Casio” roars into existence by way of a static-interrupted frequency, the intoxicated noise of elephants on acid acting as the fuel for the static. It’s packed with an intense, brutal power that is nonetheless able to retain its musical vision, despite the thrust of the track. In fact, the majority of Beija Flors Velho E Sujo zooms past at incredible speeds, the drumming resembling the audible sonic boom ripping through the skies above.
Placing this album under the ‘experimental’ label would be the understatement of the decade, but that’s where the majority of the music resides. Insatiable or insane, São Paulo Underground have a very unique, distinct sound – a fluid rainbow, shining with some spicy South American soul. You can’t help but admire the collective. (James Catchpole)