As of this writing the new album by the Brazilian band +2, Kassin+2 Futurismo (Luaka Bop) is only available here in the U.S. as a British import. Their first album, Moreno+2 Music Typewriter (Hannibal, 2001) is amazing, a work that’s been essential to me since discovering it the year it came out. It’s one of those records I never tire of, and Futurismo is certainly just as brilliant. The music on this album is a rewind to early 60s Brazilian bossa nova filtered through psychedelia and electronica, a cosmopolitan & postmodern work of art. It’s a rock album, a jazz record, probably folk too.
The songs are mostly sung by Kassin, who wrote and produced the LP, with drummer Domenico Lancelotti and guitarist Moreno Veloso stepping in on vocals occasionally. (Veloso wrote their first LP and Lancelotti the second one, Domenico+2 Sincerely Hot (Luaka Bop, 2003) – which I’ve yet to procure.) The album is as dense and atmospheric as the photograph of palm trees at sunset on the cover, washed in faded purple and the texture of damaged film. One sublime moment (of many) is the opening 20 seconds of “Pra lembrar,” which shifts the listener into a slowed down loop of underwater synthesizer (?) heaven, a fragment of my early 1970s imaginary memories.
The final mixes and overdubs were done by Tortoise drummer John McEntire at his Soma Electronic Music Studios in Chicago. He also plays synthesizer and percussion on a couple of songs. I’ve been listening to Tortoise’s box set of B-sides & remixes A Lazarus Taxon (Thrill Jockey Records, 2006) alongside Futurismo, so I now associate both albums with an approach to music that’s steeped in avant-garde traditions while remaining infectiously listenable. Pop hooks with intellect, maybe. For instance, on a song from their 1994 EP Rhythms, Resolutions, And Clusters, included in A Lazarus Taxon, they sample A Tribe Called Quest’s “Jazz (We’ve Got)” with magnificent results, a mere fragment at the beginning of the song that resonates long after it’s faded.
You can listen to three songs off Futurismo at the Kassin+2 MySpace page. Rolling Stone profiled the band last month, so maybe it won’t be long before the album is available in the U.S. I’ve come across several great clips at YouTube, including: (1) From their first album, “Arrivederci” (2) “Allegria,” off their second and (3) “Agua,” from Futurismo (Kassin’s guitar riff’s another sublime moment). Each time I play Futurismo, at home or driving, the album unfolds a different detail I hadn’t noticed before, the pleasures of its subtle & masterful sequencing.