DJ Dolores + Orchestra Santa Massa
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DJ Dolores + Orchestra Santa Massa
Stern's Music (

cd cover I have a nightmare. In it, the historic variety of mankind's music collapses into a few well-defined and well-marketed global mainstreams of contemporary style, and faster than human creativity in a context of diminished diversity can hope to replenish the store. Call it fear of a programmed planet. This fusion project by Recifé, Brazil-based DJ Dolores and friends fuels both apprehension and hope. The substrate of the sound of "Contraditório?" is a predictable globo-ethno-techno groove, and where this dominates, as on the title track, the result is indeed fungibly dull, and might have emanated from any peripatetic rave on the planet. But where the seductive vocals of Isaar França, the goofily unexpected trombone of Nilsinho, and, above all, the compellingly earthy vocal and rabeca, or fiddle, of MC Salú take center stage, "Contraditório?" soars above tedium.

The recording begins with "Santa Massa Chegou!!!", a calm samba rhythm, trombone echoed by raw childlike chorus, programmed snare drum like a fibrillating heart. On "Dança da Moda," industrial clang percussion supports MC Salú's gritty vocal, echoed by the same childlike chorus and his smooth, playful rabeca, trombone entering at the end. Rabeca adds a Middle-Eastern ambience to DJ Dolores' shuffling samba percussion and new-agey programming on "O Enigma Turco," Pupillo's snare drum adding welcome liveliness. "Sentado na Beira do Rio" is slack-beat, funky reggae, once again featuring Isaar França's seductive vocal against a background of trombone, crashes, and guitarist Fábio Trummer's disembodied recitations.

"Samba de dez Linhas" is the most intriguing track, beginning with loopy sounds, perhaps of DJ Dolores music being transmitted to other planets, progressing into a quick freak-out of percussion and synthesized noise. Suddenly, the storm calms in favor of MC Salú's mesmerizing vocal, an a-cappella ritual chant echoed by a choral antiphon, before resuming with rabeca and trombone alternating and collaborating on a demented melody, the whole a sort of space-age religious service. Shuffling percussion, scratchy rabeca oddly suggestive of Scandinavian styles, and chaotic vocals lend "Nordestina" the informality of a field recording made in a space station.

One can sense the gravitational pull of a homogenized global dance culture in "Contraditório?", but the Lusafrican touches added by MC Salú, Isaar França, and Nilsinho redeem the project. - Jim Foley

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