After listening to Cut Chemist’s “The Garden,” I decided I had to put up a post on Brazilian music. Alright, maybe not quite Brazilian music, but perhaps less traditional adaptations of this incredibly rich musical culture. What draws me to these tracks, and to Brazilian music in general, is the lightness of the vocals and the gentle rhythms. For me, there’s something eternally warm and sweet about the vocals on these tracks that makes them perfect for a summer drive or just relaxing on a lazy Los Angeles day.
While I can’t say I know much about Brazilian music, I've always liked Astrud Gilberto, who provides the vocals on the Cut Chemist track. Although she had no prior training, or any intentions of becoming a singer, Astrud quickly became famous for providing the English-language vocals on “The Girl From Ipanema.” Interestingly, Astrud was only asked to sing the part because she had been accompanying the legendary Joao Gilberto (her husband) to the studio, and was the only one there with any familiarity with English. Since then, she has become famous in her own right, and the way her vocals (sampled from “Berimbau”) lace “The Garden” really make the track complete. As its name implies, “The Garden” is a lush hip-hop influenced bossa nova track with heavy berimbau (the instrument and the song) samples. Although I’m hoping the rest of the upcoming The Audiences' Listening album will feature more music from his globe-trotting, diggin’ in the crates expeditions, it sounds a little like it’ll be an eclectic mix of home grown and international sounds, but what else would you expect from a multifaceted DJ like Cut Chemist?
The last two tracks are from Smokey and Miho, a collaboration of famed musician Smokey Hormel on guitar and vocalist Miho Hatori of Cibo Matto. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical of hearing a Japanese singer covering Brazilian music, but it turns out that Hatori sings in both English and Japanese, and it lends a slight quirkiness that’s somehow very appropriate to the tone of the songs. Both “Blue Glasses” and “Summer Rain” are off the 2003 album, Two EP’s. Oh, and thanks to my oneisan for letting me steal these off her iPod.
[MP3] Cut Chemist :: The Garden
[MP3] Smokey and Miho :: Blue Glasses
[MP3] Smokey and Miho :: Summer Rain
Updates: I just found a copy of Astrud Gilberto's "Berimbau," which was released in 1965 on Verve. If you like her vocals on "The Garden," it's definitely worth checking out. Also, thanks to Andrew O. for sharing links to the Cut Chemist videos below, which shows the process of putting together the song, as well as Cut Chemist recording in the studio with local musicians.
[MP3] Astrud Gilberto :: Berimbau
[Video] Cut Chemist :: The Garden (Windows Media Player Hi Dial-Up)
[Video] Cut Chemist :: The Garden (Quicktime Hi Dial-Up)
[Video] Cut Chemist :: The Garden (Windows Media Player Hi Res)
[Video] Cut Chemist :: The Garden (Quicktime Hi Res)
Cut Chemist's Website