Soul Jazz Records, responsible for perhaps one of the most essential compilations of the last decade, Tropicalia: A Brazilian Revolution in Sound, has trumped itself once again with it's latest dig on Brazilian musics. Brazil '70: After Tropicalia is even more essential than it's predecessor if only because many of the artists included have rarely been spoken of outside of their homeland. The first batch of Tropicalia pioneers, on the other hand, have been involved in a renaissance of re-issues over the past few years. That crew, including Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Tom Ze, Rita Lee and Gal Costa, are all represented here, showing their progression from the psychedelic garage nuggets of the late 60's into a wide swath of genres that defined the 70's such as funk, soul, folk, prog, and even wild proto-metal (i.e. Lee's brilliant "Corista de Rock"), all without turning their backs on traditional sounds like samba, bossa nova, and the rhythms of the Northeast.
Where Tropicalia was a vibrant rebellion versus the oppressive military government, this strand came at a time when it was simply better to keep one's mouth shut, opposed to imprisonment, complete censorship, and violent ramifications. In turn the songs here are more varied, abstract, almost subversive in their expression of a country suffocating. Brazil '70 is predominantly influenced by hippiedom adapted from our own counter-culture. There's a deep attraction to free love, blatant drug use, and tapping into the metaphysical throughout these songs, maybe even more so because in Brazil the reality was more dire.
Raul Seixas led the pack, claiming several times he'd encountered aliens providing him spiritual truths. He went on to become Brazilian music's mythic journeyman, a South American Jim Morrison (even died an untimely death), but his representation here in "Mosca No Soba" and "As Aventures De Raul Seixas Na Cidade De Thor" are taken from his "experimental" album Krig-Ha Bandolo, a strange mix of biker rock, tribal unity, and soft-hued psych trails. Highly recommended.
Elsewhere on Brazil '70, Novos Baianos flirt with Yes-esque complexities adding regional flavors throughout, Nelson Angelo and Joyce (pronounce Hoy-say) paint a paisley jungle acoustically, and Erasmo Carlos sings a precursor to Tim Maia's forgotten afro-soul records (the obvious next path for Soul Jazz is to sift through these). Still, no matter what was being ingested from their neighbors to the North, Brazil '70 is uniquely Brazilian. To get a feel for what I'm talking about, I found this little compilation video of Secos and Molhados....really, stuff like this can't be found anywhere else in the world.