Is 'DJ' sometimes just another word for 'producer'?
Martin Longley 2008
Is 'DJ' sometimes just another word for 'producer'? For his third album, Brazil's Dolores surrounds himself with a posse who collectively contribute vocals, guitars, keyboards and percussion, so once all those elements are laid down, that just leaves him responsible for the beats, the basslines, and some extraneous ambient effects. Not that the beats 'n' basslines aren't massively prominent here, especially once we've wrenched up the volume to a suitably cone-rattling level. This, by the way, is definitely recommended, to fully appreciate this album's low-end whump. Anyway, it's clearly not as simple as breaking up the performer/producer ratios, because Dolores is an auteur-figure, controlling the complete sonic spread, his choices resulting in a recurrent north-east-Brazil-meets-the-outside-world style.
The title's a pun on Brazil's currency, the real. And Dolores is concerned, like many of his musical countryfolk, with the accessibility of his sounds, their relationship to the vast economic inequalities of his potential domestic audience, and their connection with outer foreign styles. Pleasingly, all of this conceptualising doesn't interfere with the dancing. Electronicised beats and clatterclaps cut across compulsive basslines, with the sawing, scaly-hide rabeca traditional fiddle ensuring a strong flavour of Recife's indigenous folking. Organ jabs, horn section punctuations and call-response vocals retain a local feel, at the same time as being generally groovesome in a globally expanded way. The extended gathering of featured singers mostly remain on the Portuguese setting, maintaining a varied approach over 12 songs. Wakaru includes a Japanese narration, while Shakespeare has Marion Del'Eite, a Frenchwoman residing in Rio, singing in her native tongue, and underlining a theme of jumbled citizenship. Is that accordion playing in the forro style, or as if sitting outside a Parisian café? Or is it emulating the melodica of Augustus Pablo? Indeed, dub reggae has a very strong influence on several of these tracks.
Could Flying Horse be categorised as a surf-jungle-ska hybrid? Who cares, when DJ Dolores is successfully shaping his pan-cultural dancing patterns for maximum butt-quiverin' action?