Brazilian musician Curumin has released one of the most eclectic albums of the year. “JapanPopShow” begins with the title track, a creepy, creeping murmur that is part lament, part spiritual, before launching into “Compacto,” an upbeat, funky bossa nova track that brings a hip hop element by utilizing samples and
scratches at the break, then gradually building back into the incredibly catchy hook for the fade out. I’m not generally a fan of songs in other languages, because I like to know what the song is about, but I find that with Curumin, the music is so fascinating, so varied, so complex, and so much fun that I just don’t care. The third track, “Kyoto,” is a cookout party track, with Blackalicious & Lateef The Truthspeaker, which is guaranteed to start you moving. Blackalicious is one of the most underrated underground rap crews out there, and Curumin first teamed up with that group’s Chief Xcel back in 2005.
Every track is great, but a few other standouts include Salto No Vacuo Com Joelhada, which
incorporates what sounds like a child’s mobile music box with aggressive high hat and more DJ
scratches—it’s a sound collage easily as good as anything the X-Ecutioners ever produced.
But he can also do more straightforward rock and samba. The slower and beautiful “Misterio Stereo” features fantastic live percussion and a combination of gentle instrumentation that feels like flying. And the surprise gem here is “Mai Ester Card,” where Curumin puts on a voice like Ray Davies over a jaunty, bouncy composition that you’ll swear is The Kinks in Portuguese.
Can it be that one my favorite albums of the year is not even in English?
I love love love this Grateful Dead cover by a really solid indie band. Can’t tell you how great it is. You need to hear it, and buy the 7″ that it’s from, which you can find here, because it’s got an equally great cover of Cream Puff War.