Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tom Zé - Todos os Olhos (1973)

Tom Zé might be from outer space. Of the Tropicalistas, Zé was probably the most avant garde and prone to Dadaist urges, and his first album was a clattering, messy masterpiece of the late 60s Brazilian movement. Then Tropicalia proper lost momentum and its two main figureheads (Gil and Veloso) were exiled. However he continued to explore musically into the 70s but, while many of his contemporaries essentially became pop stars, Zé fell out of the public eye which, to be frank, he was never really in to begin with.

Todos os Olhos contains some of Zé’s most experimental arrangements. Polyrhythm, polytonality, some wild time changes. You get the idea he’s making it up as he goes, but at the same time the music is exceedingly deliberate. Zé takes established Brazilian forms like samba and bossa nova and adds and subtracts until they become something totally his own. Yet for all the musical sophistication going on here, Zé makes it sound effortless, not to mention like he’s having a hell of a good time making it. It’s a lot of fun to listen to, too. I’m told he’s quite the lyrical surrealist as well, so I’m sure if I understood Portuguese there’d be a whole ‘nother level of subversion going on, but I can’t really comment. Needless to say, you should listen to this album. Oh, and also, the cover’s a photo of a marble in somebody’s butthole.

Listen to "Augusta, Angélica e Consolação"