Tuesday, June 24, 2008

DJ Dolores: Fractured Beats of Brazil

All hail the glories of eMusic -- and a bunch of tracks to burn. A few weeks ago I was browsing around the international section and happened on a new record by Recife-based artist DJ Dolores (Helder Aragão) called 1 Real (Crammed/Ziriguiboom / A-Train).

A couple samples and I simply downloaded the whole thing. Color me impressed. It's a sensational record that grounds the dub and breakbeats of contemporary electronica in a exquisite array of folk music from Brazil's northeast region. The eMusic reviewer (Phillip Sherburne) compared 1 Real to the first Latin Playboys record, but to my ears it's a much less languid and more forward-looking record than the Playboys' decidedly retro sound. DJ Dolores' musics has got all the strangeness, panache and sweet lyricism of the best 3 Mustaphas 3 records, even as it draws on musical wellsprings half a world away from Szegerely -- that world-famous Balkan metropolis that resists location on something as reductive as a map. It's also got the gritty sonic textures favored by M.I.A. -- lots of influences rub up against each other, throw off sparks and even collide. It's a sound that lets you know that you're nowhere near Rio or São Paulo.

Check out DJ Dolores' MySpace page for a quick sampling of tunes: On "Tocanda O Terror," snatches of a language instruction tape kick off a song where rippling African-influenced guitar spins out over an insistent Latin beat. On "JPS," DJ Dolores squeezes chanson, rap, pop and turbo-charged forró into a telephone booth -- and out leaps a super song that namechecks Jean-Paul Sartre.

1 Real is one of the best records I've heard this year. And it's got me digging merrily into his first two records: 2002's Contraditório and 2005's Aparelhagem. And apparently Mr. Aragão is a Renaissance man: he recently started a fashion label to accompany the music.

Listen to more of 1 Real and buy it at eMusic.

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