Monday, January 15, 2007

Review- Ultimate Brazilian Breaks and Beats (Murge Discos) -Compilation l.p.

This is a hot collection of Brazilian funk. Named after a mountain in Rio de Janeiro, the Sugarloaf Gangsters put this record out, and they apparently limited the record to 1000 copies. Whether it's samba like ("Batucada Tropical" by Brasil Tropical), Tropicalia, or Bossa Nova flavoured (like "Sultana" from the Aquarius Band), the music is jumping and every cut on this record is funky. Some tracks are definitely more American flavoured than others. There is the "Kool and the Gang" cover (the instrumental by the band of the same name), along with the cut "Big Splash" by Sos, which is clearly influenced by The Meters.
The opening song sounds like a "God Made Me Funky" era Headhunters jam, until the Portuguese vocals and background party sounds kick in. "The King's Bounce" is described as a supremely rare B-side from the Free Som Orchestra, and it's one of the more bass-heavy tracks on this collection.
The raunchy funk classic "Jungle Fever" is featured here, but more likely for it's rarity; this cover doesn't top the original, but it's a credible rendition which kicks off the second side of the record. The final non-"bonus" cut on the record is "Melo Do Mao Branca", a mid-tempo dance-floor groove, complete with telephone calls and sirens, along with those casual outbursts of laughter that pop up on many Brazilian dance records.
There are three bonus cuts all credited to 'Unknown' which seems a little suspicious in and of itself, but they at least bump the record's duration to a shade over forty minutes. The first bonus track is an instrumental, disco-fied variation of "Mas Que Nada", titled "Disco Chuva" on here. This version is highlighted by some pounding drums. The second is a brief snippet that's catchy enough but happens too fast, at 22 seconds. The final 90 second 'Bonus Track' (titled simply "Guitarra" on the record, even though the keyboards are at least as prominent here) sounds like a funky t.v. show theme that Banda Black Rio or early Azimuth might have put out.
Notwithstanding the needless gaps in the information availed with this compilation, Ultimate Brazilian Breaks and Beats' is a seriously funky record.

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