Kicking off our new 'Digging Deeper' series – a more in-depth look into records we love and sell here – is Mr Bongo founder, David Buttle. David's expansive knowledge of Brazilian music has led him to the enigmatic group Perfume Azul Do Sol's 'Nascimento', the reissue of which is available here.
Recorded in 1974 in São Paulo, 'Nascimento' was the first and only album by the band 'Perfume Azul Do Sol'; mixing the talents of Pedro Baldanza (bass), Jean (guitar), Gil (drums), Ana Maria Guedes (voice and piano), with the Nordestine (north eastern) influences of Benvindo (voice and guitar). Husband and wife Ana and Benvindo were the heart & soul of the group, and together made a brilliant songwriting team.
Benvindo seems to have come from Pernambuco in Brazil, and was well-versed in the incredible 'Baiao' groove that gave birth to 'Forro' and 'Coco' rhythms. On the album, Ana’s vocal melodies mix with Benvindo's natural swing-soaked in Baião, Forró and psychedelia. The great Daniel Salinas helped out with the horn arrangements, also.
Unfortunately, this was the only LP the band ever recorded, and just 120 copies of 'Nascimento' were manufactured and given to close friends & relatives. In the same year of the release, Ana And Benvindo split up signalling the end of 'Perfume Azul Do Sol'. Ana owned a lot of the compositions but wouldn’t let the record be released, so it was left to be consigned to obscurity. Ana preferred to leave the treasure buried, despite depriving the rest of the band of promised TV shows and success by doing so.
It wasn't until the Brazilian psychedelic record digging revolution started in 2005 that the record started to get discovered. After the success of albums like Lula Cortes' 'Paebiru', Brazilian crate diggers started to find a copies of the LP, sparking Nasciemento's initial rise to fame. I only heard about this album when local legend and Mr Bongo DJ, Gary Johnson, picked up a copy... then a friend of mine, Cris at Pedra Templo Animal Records, licensed it from the band. It has long been championed by musicians and diggers alike ever since, becoming a favourite of Floating Points and co.
The album is a cascading, psychedelic journey from start to finish. The opening track '20,000 Raios do Sol' (20,000 rays of sun) is a joyous wake-up track filled with hooky guitar lines. Ana sings of drinking rain water with her lover and showering him with sunshine. Then darkness arrives in 'Deusa Sombria', a noodly piano line reverberates. Seemingly, Ana was in a dark space when she made this album. The tension filters through in this song; was this the start of when it all went wrong? 'O Abracos do Bail' is a dark homage to the 'Baião' rhythm where we are metaphorically given a hug by the groove.
The B-Side opens on a brighter note with 'Equilibrio'; seemingly a nod to carnival time, and a more upbeat homage to the Baião.
The title track 'Nascimento' draws us 'into the eye of the sun king - Cano Fundo', as Ana returns to darker elements lyrically. Knowing the story of the group, their relationships and how Ana was affected during the writing, it makes the listener wonder if this album reflected her state of mind. There's certainly melancholy in her voice throughout the album, and the fact she denied the album to so many may be a sign of what these tracks meant to her.
Pedro still plays in other psych rock bands of the era, such as Som Nosso, and Ana plays piano and lives in Sao Paulo. Sadly, Benvindo died of cancer in 2012.
We're very happy to have reissue copies of such a gem of an album, one that could have easily passed by generations without receiving the attention it deserves.