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Ramiro Musotto: Sudaka

AAJ Staff By

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When you hit play on Sudaka, you'll either find yourself dazed or get up and shake it. Or both. Such is the ultimate collision between ritual and postmodern invention, something Ramiro Musotto delights in mixing to no end. He describes the record as "a psychedelic trip throughout and into the Afro-Brazilian and South American culture," which is as good an explanation as any for the virtual cornucopia of sounds on the record.

Musotto, who has played percussionist to the stars in Brazil, steps out on his debut release without reservation, mixing the folkloric sounds of the string/percussion instrument known as the berimbau with non-stop drum-n-bass patterning straight off a sequencer. It's most definitely plugged in all the way—but the things that give it color, warmth, and strength are the strings, voices, guitars—and real-life samples from all sorts of varied traditions.

Musotto's strength lies in the balance between shiny production and organic spontaneity, which comes in many forms. For "Botellero" he samples a cart driver on the streets of Bahia, presumably hawking some sort of wares. You can hear his shouts and the click-clack of his horse, first clean and then processed, and finally tossed in with a flute-like cry and thrown directly into the blender. The disc sounds like it's skipping, then a techno groove shoots out. The insistent pulse of electronic dance music fuels a rocket straight into club-land, but the driver's voice never leaves. In the end, it becomes an instrument all its own.

Samples of ritual music from the Congo (female voices chanting, hands clapping, drums beaten) provide the meat of the next tune, "Bayaka." How exactly the tribal drumming is mixed with the programmed beats and Ramiro's own live percussion is impossible to tell, but in the end it doesn't matter. It's a jam, straight up and straight out.

Down the road, real live vocals, berimbau, tenor sax, sitar, and guitars meld together on "Antonio das Mortes," a downtempo stroll. Residual traces of disco mix it up with kids singing and clapping on "Xavantes," which eventually heads into club-land. The dark, ominous strains of "Torcazas Neuquinas" sound like an introduction to a song that never happened, and the disc closes out on a very human note with some inspired berimbau playing recorded live.

Ramiro Musotto has achieved something entirely new and distinctive here. The collision of street sounds, tribal ritual, prayer, and global percussion with electronic beats and electro sheen is not only dramatic, it's amazingly effective. It's not for everyone, that's for sure, but provided your ears can span the range, you'll find it an awesome trip.

Visit Fast Horse on the web.


Track Listing: 1. Caminho - 2:30; 2. Ginga - 3:32; 3. Raio - 5:19; 4. Botellero - 5:00; 5. Bayaka - 3:35; 6. Antonio das Mortes - 6:22; 7. Ijexa - 4:27; 8. Xavantes - 3:56; 9. Torcazas Neuquinas - 2:08; 10. La Danza del Tezcatlipoca Rojo - 2:48.

Personnel: Ramiro Musotto: Percussion, Keyboards, Programming, Atabaque, Caixa, Berimbau, Repique, Cuica, Synthesizer Bass, Apito; Gato Barbieri: Tenor Sax; Lulu Santos: E-Bow; Sergio Ricardo: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals; Sacha Amback: Keyboards, Harmony Vocals, Electric Sitar; Henrique Portugal: Keyboards; Christiaan Oyens: Hawaiian Guitar; Botellero: Vocals; Buziga: Vocals; Pigmeos du Nord Congo: Percussion, Vocals, Clapping; Espiga de la Loza: Keyboards, Synthesizer Bass; Camafeu de Ox

Title: Sudaka | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Fast Horse

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