...a cool, contemporary one-off.
Chris Moss 2006
Ignore the title. This is too slick and polished to be a demo. And while it is not purely electronic, it is certainly plugged in. Hammonds and electric guitars swirl psychedelically like the curvy designs on the cover art; and there’s programming and vocoder warping to give some tracks an edgy sampa nova dance sound.
Singer Gabriela Geluda looks gorgeous and sings beautifully. I’ve never been a fan of the sleepier side of bossa and she manages to sound sexy without slipping into jazz-singer solipsism. While the arrangements have something of a carioca indolence, this is kept in order by a spacey production treatment and some frantic percussion.
The best songs are breathless chants shot through with a relentless muted drum and bass rhythm and, trickling beneath that, a groovy Afro-Lounge syncopation. There are great raw, audacious 70s Tangerine Dream-style synths, and when Gabriela lets her vocals go a bit so they verge on a gnarl or a pant the tracks take off. On 'Grito’ – or ‘Shout’ – she never quite lets rip, but there’s a clubby, druggy energy dying to burst through. ‘Pera’, also stands out for a gentle rapping vocal that rises and falls cheekily, then gives way to a breathy chorus.
Several strands of Brazilian music are being pulled together on Democustico, from tropicalista motifs to more recent electronica, and they have been melded and mastered with skill and confidence. Brazil, like Cuba, is the source of container ships of derivative Juanny-come-latelys – but this is a cool, contemporary one-off.