(Image courtesy of Far Out Recordings.)
As the year comes to a close, the number of new releases really begins to slow down, so to compensate for that, here is an old release that should be important to note for its reissue this year. Come and take a dive into the era of Popular Brazilian Music.
The year of 1970 was a hot climate for Brasil, as the regime became steadily fascists and the height of Popular Brazilian Music became the aristocratic choice of the wealthy. The small collective of musicians who ushered the short musical resistance of Tropicália would forever affect PBM and legitimize their political cause. In comes Jose Mauro, and very little is known of him after he released his singular masterpiece, Obnóxius. While that may sound uneventful for a story, the music is the opposite of such.
“Apocalipse” by Jose Mauro, courtesy of Far Out Recordings.
Take a listen to a track like “Apocalipse” a sly and thinly veiled protest song against the police authority of the time. The mournful horns and the urgent guitar playing to the maddening fervor of his Portuguese-sung narrative speaks for itself to the anger. Maybe his music actually led him to being abducted by the military, or even shot for his protest songs, who knows. What matters though is Jose Mauro presented a darker truth to the gleeful buzz surrounding PBM, and it will be a shame this complex and beautiful album will be lost to the mainstream audience.
While there would be a second (posthumous?) album full of unreleased recordings, Jose Mauro’s debut will stand the test of time among crate diggers and listeners who are interested in the culture and music behind PBM and Tropicália.