Os Mutantes=Orgasmically good

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Against Will, Sep 28, 2004.

  1. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    So, over the summer I was reading a book on the Bossa Nova and was starting to check out Brazillian music, Bossa Nova in particular. I met a guy who was really into Brazillian music and he reccommened Os Mutantes to me, they were sort of the defining Brazillian rock group from the 60's (the book had mentioned them in passing).

    So, after a couple of months, I finally obtained a copy of their debut CD ("Mutantes"), and it is AMAZING! The influence of American psychadelia on Os Mutantes is apparent, and they pay tribute to people like the Rolling Stones and the Animals. However, they manage to be completely original and creative while tipping their hats to their influences.

    "Mutantes" is the most exciting album I've heard in a long time, there is not a single moment where things get dull or where the creative energy lulls. At any moment you could go from a psych-rock freak out to the sound of car horns at rush hour, from a solitary funky bassline into a lonely folk ballad.

    I highly reccommend this group to any and all fans of music, it's very rare when a release is as progressive (and this album is from the 60's! Still sounds fresh) and acessible as this is.
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Yay, glad to see some people are catching on to this great group.

    A little background: Os Mutantes were originally Caetano Veloso's backup band during the Tropicalia years, which is the musical period that followed Bossa Nova. Of course, Bossa Nova didn't end and in fact, a lot of Bossa Nova tunes are performed by Tropicalia artists, such as Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, pretty much the masterminds of the movement. Their biggest contribution was the introduction of electric instruments into brazilian music, which up to that point was still primarily acoustic. This was met with a lot of resistance from the youth of Brazil at the time and there's even a recording of Caetano being booed by the audience in a music festival in the 60s for having electric instruments on stage. Those instruments were played by Os (the) Mutantes.

    After performing with Caetano, they ended getting a recording career of their own and collaborated closely with an orchestral conductor called Rogerio Duprat, in a relationship that was not dissimilar to that of George Martin with the Beatles, by whom they were heavily influenced, as well as other 60's rock, however, they were equally influenced by urban and rural brazilian music, such as the afro-brazilian tradition and the music of the northeast, which was heavily colonized by the dutch decades before. While Martin tended to favor strings, Duprat was more likely to use horn sections. On top of all that, they were as zany as they were tuneful, and spiced their songs with abrupt style shifts, instrumental changes (they're the only brazilian band to have used a banjo in a recording, not a popular instrument down there then or since).

    The nucleus of the band was a trinity: Two brothers, Arnaldo Baptista on Bass/vocals and Sergio Dias on guitar/vocals (Who is still performing and released a CD with Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera a few years ago). Arnaldo had a short solo career in the 70's but it was cut short because of a nervous collapse, plus he managed to fall out of a second story window. He survived and remains a cult figure, but he's no longer making music. Finally, the singer/flautist was Rita Lee, who is the most successful (and most pop) of the three. She's still a huge singer in Brazil.

    The first four albums are great. Os Mutantes, Mutantes (Which features a song co-composed with Tom Ze', who was rediscovered by David Byrne thirty years later) A Divina Comedia ou Ando Meio Desligado (The Divine Comedy or I've been aloof lately) and Jardim Eletrico (Electric Garden) Over time, the lineup changed. Rita Lee recorded her first solo album while still in the band and was backed up by her fellow bandmates, so you could say her first solo album was still a Mutantes record. Eventually, she went solo. Arnaldo was the second to leave. Under Sergio, the band morphed into a progressive rock band and their relevance diminished but their place in history was firmly established by then.

    I can't recommend this band enough. Glad someone else found them.
  3. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    Yay! I was just going to keep bumping this thread until someone answered. I think I'll keep doing that until other people answer and get the record.

    Funny you should mention Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil as masterminds of the Bossa Nova movement. The book I read mentioned them, but made it seem like they were more 'side-bar' artists in relation with the rest of Bossa Nova. The author was definitely biased in his account of the history, it was very thorough, but he balanced this by being extremely passionate about the music he wrote about. He absolutely LOVED Joao Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, not to mention Ronaldo Boscoli, Robert Menescal, and some on Sivia Telles.

    But, yeah, I could hear a definite Bossa Nova influence in their music, Rita Lee sounded like she was taking a page from Joao Gilberto's vocal style on a couple of songs.
  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I said they masterminded the "Tropicalia" movement, not Bossa Nova. Bossa Nova is credited to Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

    Maybe my writing wasn't clear.
  5. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    I heard Gilberto Gil for the first time today, classy stuff. My friend who was born in Trinidad was telling me about him and the percussion on the song, I don't know which song it was, but I liked it.

    to Everyone Else: Get This Album!
  6. pc


    Apr 4, 2000
    Montreal QC
    The first four albums are the best. You should try Arnaldo Baptista's Debut, entitled "Loki". Just piano, bass, drums, and voice recorded directly.
  7. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Atlanta, GA!
    Thanks BB, I didn't know all of that.

    I'm very into Os Mutantes and Caetano... The Tropicalia 2 album with Gilberto Gil is one of my favorites. I suggest to any one who would like to tap into some of the hippest Brazilian music, pick up that album.

    I think that I originally got into them cause David Byrne spoke so highly of his influences in Brazilian music and Os, Caetano and Gil were always cats he referenced.... Had to check it out!
  8. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Cool. I like that album a lot too. I got to see Gil and Caetano performing it live at the Sambadrome in Brazil in 1993. The bassist was Arthur Maia, who some might know best as a Warwick endorser pictured in their catalogs. He's actually the bassist in Gilberto Gil's band.

    By the way Tropicalia 2 was recorded by Gil and Caetano to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of the original Tropicalia disc, which featured Caetano, Gil, Os Mutantes, Tom Ze and others. It was a landmark album released in 1968, one year before the Mutantes' debut album.


    Left to Right: Rogerio Duprat, Arnaldo Baptista (with the bass), Caetano, Gilberto Gil (on the floor), Rita Lee, Nara Leao, Sergio Dias (Holding a guitar). One of the last two is Tom Ze, but I don't know which one. Not sure who the last man is either, sorry.
  9. _Unregistered_


    Nov 3, 2004
    I have a little insight here. Joao created Bossa Nova, and Chega de Saudade was the first recording done in this style.

    Until then, Brazilian folk music was strummed guitars, and projection voices, like most of the world's folk music. Chega de Saudade had actually already been a hit before (in Brazil), sung by a young lady in "full voice" in this manner.

    Samba was, well...Samba. If you've never seen a school of Samba, there's probably nothing I could say to adequately describe it. "Massive" comes close.

    Joao distilled the rhythmic essence of the Samba, and played it on the guitar with a subtlety that no one had ever before heard, singing in a soft, non-vibrato, non-projection style. Bossa-Nova (roughly "New Wave") was born.

    Tom (Antonio Carlos Jobim), and others, started writing in that style afterwards.