Sunday, 6 November 2011

Mauricio Maestro feat Nana Vasconcelos - Upside Down (Far Out)

Now we have written any blog posts for a while due to time constraints (we hope to change that soon) but we actually had no choice but to come out of writers exile when this sublime new album dropped through our inbox the other week, we just couldn't keep it under our hats.

Way back in 1976 Mauricio Maestro & Nana Vasconcelos found themselves in Paris recording the Visions of Dawn album with Joyce. It was an incredibly fertile time for Brazilian music with all sorts of western influences being assimilated into traditional Brazilian music and the burgeoning acid-folk scenes in Europe and North America weren't lost on these artists at the time. Tragically the project somehow got shelved until it was finally released 33 years later in 2009, also on Far Out.

Encouraged by Far Out label boss Joe Davies, Mauricio and Nana got back in the studio in Rio last year alongside guest vocalist Kay Lyra - hired to sweeten things up and now the follow up to Visions of Dawn is about to hit the shelves on November 16th, assuming all goes well and the release isn't put back until 2056. Here's a little taster of what went down in the studio:

Mauricio Maestro with Nana Vasconcelos - Upside Down Trailer from Far Out Recordings on Vimeo.

We're not going to get into depth on each track as it really is an album you just need to listen to start to finish. Maestro has gone to town on the arrangements with words like sumptuous, lush, delicate, intricate, shimmering all coming to mind - the harmonies just wash over you ably supported by subtle psychedelic twists and turns. The percussion from Vasconcelos  is impeccable as you'd expect from someone voted best percussionist in the world 7 years running by the Downbeat critics poll and he is ably abetted by an impeccably arranged 10 piece orchestra that just melt into the background like the most natural thing in the world. Maestro darts in an out with his acoustic guitar and his easy vocal style. Apparently the idea was to create an album that stirred the mid '70s but is set in the backdrop of a liberated, prosperous Brazil but to these ears (and admittedly linguistic failings) it sounds like 1976 never went away.

All songs are Maestro originals except the lyrics of 'Todo os Santos' which were written by Joyce back in '77 and extract of classic 'Canto de Pajé' and were written over the preceding 40 years, starting way back in 1971. Apparently there is a follow up album already in the pipeline and all we can say is if it is anything like this then bring it on.

Far Out Recordings Website
Nana Vasconcelos Website (in Brazilian)
BUY(!) the record Here