Bixiga 70 – III (Glitterbeat Records)
LP | CD | DL
11 September 2015
8.5 / 10
Sao Paulo ten piece release their third album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
From the streets of Bixiga in Brazil and heavily influenced by Fela Kuti’s Afrika 70 band, the ten member of Bixiga 70 make quite a sound. Mixing Brazilian music with Afro-funk and reggae barely scratch the surface and they power through nine exhausting tracks on a stunner of an album.
Purely instrumental maybe sometimes means the need to have more complex patterns and melodies to carry a track and that is certainly the case here. With not one, or two, but three percussionist members the scene is set for a lively sound throughout. Trombone, trumpet and saxophones add to give the album the lift that makes it an essential listening.
An electronic funk bass line and semi-dubbed keyboards enlighten 100% 13, a track which it is impossible to remain seated to. The need to get up and make a complete fool of oneself is unavoidable as it becomes one of the many highlights of the album.
Niran rides through a Blaxplotation vibe as it cleverly combines more regular cumba beats and 70s funk sounds, and Di Dancer is more formula in its construction as South American rhythms are blended with African vibes.
It’s easy to make comparisons with other bass oriented sounds. Fela Kuti is an obvious one, even PigBag and The Apples could make justified mentions, but to be fair the connection between the continents separated by the mighty Pacific is rare, particularly when other aspects are also added to the mix.
Martelo moves at a million miles an hour from the opening beats and has a hook which could almost be Shaft inspired if it were speeded up tenfold. The frenetic bass guitar and tight clinical horns provide nothing but complete excitement.
The pace is slowed somewhat towards the end of the album as Lembe gradually decreases the manic sound, Mil Vidas too shows signs of the mood shifting and by the time album closer 7 Pancadas appears things have taken on a more serene tone.
Recorded live to maintain the power and recorded in the bands own studio, III is a triumph in bringing together several genres which have hereunto stayed poles apart.
Turn the volume up high and enjoy.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here. You can also follow him on Twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news.