Far Out Records has a wonderful stable of musicians and producers that enjoy working with them. From artists like Joyce, Marcos Valle, Azymuth and Sabrina Malheiros, they've got the experienced and the future - as Sabrina recently sung the national anthem in Brasil's match with Scotland maybe two weeks ago (from this review). As for producers, Kenny Dope (MAW), 4 Hero and Gilles Peterson have contributed to their Brazilika series, and the talented Nicola Conte has carved a niche with the Viagem series. Spanning three volumes now, each one has managed to dive deep into the history and valuts of obscure Brazilian record labels, un-earthing so really terrific songs that are well off the beaten path. Everybody knows "The Girl From Ipanema" and the voice of Joao Gilberto. But not too many really know how rich the jazz scene was in Brasil as well and that there was much more to Bossa Nova and Jazz in Brasil at the time. Nicola does this and with Viagem tends to have a bit of a darker flavour to the music.
This Viagem doesn't disappoint. Wonderful songs, terrific production and highly imaginative arrangements. It opens up with Dalmo Castello's "Fora De Hora" which beautifully sets the stage for the album - the 60's, Brazil. You can literally feel the era in that time, the natural beauty of Brazil but then the impending dictatorship. It's followed up nicely by O Triangulo's "Voce Que Nao vem", a song that will remind you of Quarteto Em Cye, the terrific accapella group. Only this song isn't an accapella, it's a nice, almost haunting and easy bossa. Aizita uses inflections in her voice in "Faz de Conta" while Octons "Tokyo Blues" should sound familiar to anyone that has Viagem vol. 1, as it's simply an alternative version to the classic song (The other was done by Hector Costita Sexteto). Octon's though is decidedly different, a little more frenetic with it's brass opening and direct. "Mar Amar" was nice, and maybe a good personal touch as you can tell that Nicola still works with Rosalia De Souza, who included the song on one of her recent albums. Bossa Trio, Henrique Benny and many others have other terrific songs that do the album justice, as well as this incredibly rich era in Brazilian music. The album fittingly ends with Werther's "Literal", breezy and a bit of an eery outro.
I'd certainly recommend this album - especially if you have and enjoyed the previous two viagem releases. I'd also recommend it if you enjoyed the random Bossa Nova or Brazilian compilation vinyls that would come out in the 60's/70's like "Velha Bossa Nova". There are a lot of songs here that probably have never been put into CD format, let alone digital download before as some of these songs were never on full length albums, but were the odd 45 here and there! This album isn't all Bossa - it has a healthy dosage of big band Brazilian music that does such a good job of painting a picture of the times, you can almost see the ball-rooms and functions that they were performed in. Definitely check this out, and if you do check this out and like it, be sure to have a look at a few other artists in Far Out's catalog. And... be sure to check out Rio Evolutions, a series done by Gerardo Frisina. He is actually Nicola Conte's label mate at Schema Records in Italy. The song "Macumba" by Claudia was an interesting choice, as Gerardo used the song along with "Gosto De Ser Com Voce" in Rio Evolutions II. The series was released for Deja Vu records, and has great soudntrack styled songs as well as a wonderful, soaring Nicola Conte remix to Aldemaro Romero's "Tema De La Onda".
One warning I do have on the album though - if you download it, make sure you're getting the full 18 track album as some sites will probably have partial albums but present them as full length (Apple's site has done this a number of times).