Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Brazil's São Paulo is the largest city in South America, home to an estimated 19 million inhabitants. In 1992, this megalopolis ranked as the world's third largest city, coming in behind Tokyo and Mexico City. Within São Paulo's environs, like within any 21st century city, there is diversity and disparity, super-modern chic, and profound indigence. On the CD São Paulo Confessions, the Yugoslavian-born Brazilian pianist, producer, and programmer Suba mixed the modernity of techno beats and sampled loops with traditional Brazilian musics. Suba, who previously played piano with Hermeto Pascoal and Marcos Suzano, and produced records for such well-known Brazilian artists as Marina Lima, Mestre Ambrosio,Edson Cordeiro, and Arnaldo Artunes, collaborated on São Paulo Confessions with percussionist João Parahyba and vocalists Cibelle and Taciana. Their live percussion and vocals, in addition to a number of acoustic guitar melodies, add enormous depth to Suba's inventive compositions. Unfortunately, the songs suffer when a standard techno dancehall bass drum line is added to the mix. The techno beat tends to take João Parahyba's uniquely Brazilian rhythms and override their subtleties with an extremely uninteresting and plodding beat. Nonetheless, particularly commendable tracks on São Paulo Confessions include "Vocé Gosta" and "Antropofagos," which both feature reverberating street samba rhythms. The CD's eighth track, "Sereia," has at its core what sounds like an oscillating electronic cuica. In sum, Suba, who died from smoke inhalation during a fire in his São Paulo apartment and studio, was indeed one of Brazil's most promising exponents of modern Brazilian music. Though his death is undeniably tragic,Suba's inventive and visionary São Paulo Confessions will allow his legacy to live one.