Burnier & Cartier - Burnier & Cartier (RCA, 1974)
Slinky syncopated story-telling, Bossa-Nova nuances to beautifully bouncing Baião. Get the soft top dropped and the speaker on loud. Buckle up baby, we're in for that sunset sound! Brazil! Brazil!
Rio. 1974. White sandy beaches. Post-Bossa Nova. At a time of military dictatorship and extreme censorship, young musicians found themselves experimenting and redefining Brazilian music. Bossa-Nova may mean 'New Sound', but when you start cross pollinating it with American Jazz, Rock and even Disco, those traits of Baião, Samba and Forró are elevated.
The rise of Música Popular Brasileira (MPB). Enter, Burnier & Cartier.
A short but exceedingly sweet journey, this duo's joint musical efforts showcase part of Brazil's rich music history. No denying that their endeavours have stood the test of time* with current DJ's, such as Tom Misch, sampling their work**.
Their debut album simply entitled, Burnier & Cartier (released 1974), is a super-charged 34 minutes and 12 seconds of fiercely fine-tuned harmonies that would make those over produced Californian surf boys green with envy. Every track is dynamic and by taking the quintessential elements of their culture they throw some real heat under them. With political tension in the air you could almost say the two are playing at being iconoclastic. Maybe!? Yowch!
Punchy woodwind interludes and beefy brass solos are a huge feature throughout the album. We're also treated to precision Portuguese scat singing which bounces off classical guitar phrasing heard in Lembrando Ed Kleiger. Most tracks are heavily laced with rhythmic samba bass guitar, so much so we're inclined to feel a hint of early 70's Disco. But, the drummers playful use of Baião truly underpins their Brazilian cultural roots and the listener (that's you!) is R(io)eally in for a rare treat of musical melding and left field curiosity.
From the first beat, we're introduced to what almost sounds like a 70's sitcom soundtrack. Fast paced, real foot moving beats and head boppers are later contrasted with romantic, slow and swaying measures by the time we hit the track Lejos De Mi.
Looking for the ultimate sun-set sound? Then, Mirandolina is it. Don't believe me? Skip to 18:05 and write your answers on a postcard. Subtle hints of Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello schmooze through on to Deixa Mudar, giving the brass section a chance to open up, and the overall beat is much more in line with an easy Pop approach. Tricky guitar solos, similar to that of Steely Dan, present themselves in Aí É Que Tá. Quick and hot, they make you want throw shades on, spark an Albany and jive. 'Hey, Mom! I'm much cooler now!'
We notice a shift in the musicians' mood mid-way through the album. We started out with a sitcom structure, but now we move to a more full-bodied, John Barry like concept to the overall composition. This comprehensive sound is spotted in the track Aventura Espacial, which once you get into it, you can imagine the piece being part of a classic 70's Bond film. Sean Connery eyeing up his 'woman of the moment' sort of vibes. Woodwind and strings take centre stage, imitating the idea of free falling and cooing doves. Cartier's string expertise is plastered all over this!
On the round-up of this already emotive debut album, we're hit with one last surge of story telling. Continuing with that John Barry style, the track Barranco transports us to a place where the sun is setting over rural mountains and wild horses roam. This, for me, gives a fleeting image of breaking away from the ever tightening military dictatorship and escaping to the land of the free.
From start to finish, it's a striking album. Burnier & Cartier take you through the ebbs and flows of Brazilian music, post-Bossa Nova, with inspiration coming from influential music genres of the time. Experimentation was key in the early stages of MPB. However, I'm slightly afraid to place Burnier & Cartier directly into it because of how unique and distinctive their composition and production style was. The individual style is kinda what makes the album a work of Brazilian brilliance! Well, to my ears at least.
Let's be honest, if I wanted to I could dissected this within an inch of its life, but that would remove the pleasure you would get out of listening to this high-octane album.
So, what are you waiting for? Don't just read this. Give this album a listen and form your own opinions. But, I can guarantee that you will find yourself sambaing around the house without even noticing it. So, go on! Get stuck into that sun-set sound baby!
Written by Melissa Stevenson
*Reprints of this very album are being produced today! Ah thank you, Mr.Bongo! you can purchase the record here:
** Brazilian Love on Soundcloud features Mirandolina
1. Só Tem Lugar Pra Você - There's only room for you
2. Aldeia Global - Gloabal village
3. Lejos De Mi - Far from me
4. Lembrando Ed Kleiger - Remembering Ed Kleiger
5. Deixa Mudar - Let it change
6. Parte Capital - Capital part
7. Mirandolina - Mirandolina
8. Aí É Que Tá - That's it
9. Aventura Espacial – Space Adventure
10. Barranco - Barranco
11. Europanema - Europanema
12. Marcante - Striking