B-Sides in the Bins #42 – Curumin Interview

Curumin

When presented with the opportunity to interview Curumin, I knew that it would be an education for me. I haven’t really been following the resurgence of Braziliana that has been taking place over the last few years.

It was on a trip to Brazil where Chief Xcel of the mighty Blackalicious hears Curumin’s 2005 album Achados e Perdidos and signs him to Quannum. Curumin’s latest album Japan Pop Show (Quannum, 2008) is a testament to his passion for collecting vinyl. As you might expect someone who is a music collector would bring that passion and influence to his own record and certainly a closer look at his record collection reveals the source inspiration for this great record. Curumin sat down with me following the intimate but electric show at CSPS in Cedar Rapids on January 26th.

Me: Can you tell us a bit about your record collection?

Curumin: I am a music lover, and as a music lover I am a vinyl collector, too. I focus my collection more in Brazilian stuff. I have some Jamaican stuff, too. I have some American Soul/Funk Music– but it is more Brazilian stuff. I live in downtown São Paulo and the best place to buy vinyl is there because most of the stores are there. I used to go to a shop a lot called Discos Sete— that means “Disco Seven”– it’s a really good shop the owner is a guy named Carlinhos and he knows everything about Brazilian music. He is the guy who really taught me were is the best records, who is the best artists– what they made, which records have a good song– or funky song, soul or samba good track. A very, very good store.

There are a few in São Paulo– another good store called Gordo’s Place…

“gordo?” like “fat?”

Yeah, like “fat”– exactly. Another great vinyl store– there is some hip hop there, yeah– there’s soul, there’s a lot of funk. There is, too, Brazilian music. All of that in downtown São Paulo.

On the inside cover of Japan Pop Show you have some made up cover art?

Yeah, actually, this is an idea– my brother (Christiano N.A.) did the cover art. He was trying to get this seven-inch or vinyl feeling.

So, how come there’s no vinyl pressing of this album?

(Laughs) Yeah, yeah. We’ll probably try it some day, you know but it’s very specific people that buy vinyl and we don’t have a lot of money to [promote it].– so it’s hard for us, you know. But, my dream is to record in a good studio, in an old way, in an old style and make [a vinyl release].

So, where did you record Japan Pop Show? Did you use ProTools?

Yeah, we produced a lot in computers, and sequencers– you know modern production– with a lot of edits and ProTools and stuff like that. But we play [instruments] on it, too.

Are you buying records on the road?

Yeah, this is a problem (laughs). We already have a lot of stuff to carry on, and you know in airports it’s always hard with baggage.

Are you concerned about the records getting stolen? I remember when DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist were doing the Brainfreeze tour and Cut Chemist got his vinyl stolen.

Yeah, It’s a famous story in Brazil about DJ’s like Cut Chemist and Madlib going to Brazil and São Paulo and buying four boxes of LP’s– but they found a way to ship back to the US. But, we are always carrying on and taking care of [the records] because bringing on the airplane is hard and they don’t care too much about what you’re carrying on.

Speaking of Cut Chemist, he used a Brazilian singer on his album The Audience Is Listening— Astrud Gilberto, right? On “The Garden”

The song is “Canto De Ossanha” from a very famous album– that version that he uses is not from the original album. The original album called Os Afro Samba from Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes. I don’t know where he got his version. But it’s really good, right?

[Upon research, it appears that the version Cut Chemist is using is from Astrud Gilberto‘s 1966 Verve album Look to the Rainbow arranged by Gil Evans. Although, to get around sample clearance, Cut Chemist brought in some studio musicians to create new music. -ed]

What is one of the great finds you’ve had digging through crates?

Hmmm, well I found an album once that now is very rare to find– [in the past I found it] and said “I will not buy today,” but when it started to get rare I had to get it! There’s a lot of people looking for it– an album from Erasmo Carlos called Sonhos e Memorias and it’s a great Psych-Folk-Funk-Rock album from the 70’s and it’s a really, really good album. I think this is my precious one.

[The album was released in 1972 on Polydor, and goes for over $90 at different places on the Internet. –ed]

If someone wanted to get into some of the music you are listening to, where would they start?

I like a lot of the 60’s and 70’s– there were some guys in Brazil who started to bring that soul and funk feeling into their music. They used to play samba– so you can find that on Jorge Ben and Tim Maia— they were some of the first to try to make that mix of funk, soul and samba. [As far as current acts go] you can find something in Academia da Berlinda that plays more cumbia, salsa and merengue. You can find a singer called CéU who has a great sound and is a great friend– well there is a lot of great music– I could stay here talking all night about this!

[Notably, Lucas Martins who is the co-producer for Japan Pop Show and part of Curumin’s touring band as well as DJ Marco who does turntables on Japan Pop Show are part of CéU’s band. -ed]

Do you think you have a good home at Quannum?

Yeah, yeah for sure. They started as a hip-hop label, but now they are getting into more different stuff. I’m really honored to be there because I admire a lot all of the artists there– it’s a good family and great friends so I’m really happy to be there.

What are your plans after this tour?

We are in the middle of the tour and there are four or five shows left, then we’ll be back in February.

I’m not sure what I’m doing later this year. I have lots of work to do– I work with other projects with other acts in Brazil that are all releasing new stuff this year, so I will be focusing on those projects. But, I don’t know, I want to start something new this year, too– I don’t know if we’ll have the time, but I guess we make the time, right?

How was the Daytrotter session?

Oh, wow, it was great, it was great! The studio is amazing, right? Have you been there?

No, but I’d love to some time! It’s so close to Cedar Rapids. I dig all the stuff they release.

The studio is amazing. They have only vintage equipment and it sounds good.

So you had to bring your electric cavaquinho I assume– did you have to bring your MPC’s, too?

Yes, we did four songs. It was really great.

OK, well thanks for taking the time to talk to me today, I know you guys want to get to dinner. Have a safe drive to Minneapolis and a good rest of your tour.

Thanks, Michael!

Links for Deeper Digging:

Click Here to visit Curumin’s MySpace Page

Click Here to see a YouTube clip about Disco Sete Record Shop from the “Brazil in Time” documentary.

Click Here to see a YouTube clip about Gordo & Celio’s Record Shop from the “Brazil in Time documentary.

Click Here to visit the MySpace page for Academia da Berlinda

Click Here to visit the MySpace page for CéU.

Click Here for more information about Erasmo Carlos’s Sonhos e Memorias LP.

B-Sides in the Bins #40 – Trips to Half-Price Books December 13th & 28th 2008

BLUNT 4232 - Wayne Shorter - Adam's Apple 140g Pressing

I guess it’s fitting that the last In the Bins for 2008 would be “40” as this was my 40th year on this planet. Admidst the Christmas craziness, I managed to hit Half-Price Books a couple of times in December. One trip I dumped off a bunch of vinyl, CD’s and books to get some funny money (which I promptly spent there -‘natch). I made the second trip to take advantage of their post-holidays 20% off everything sale.

Born to Run – 30th Anniversary Edition – Bruce Springsteen (CD, 2 DVD, Columbia 82796 94175 2, 2005) ($15.00) This is the very nicely-done longbox boxset with the 2005 remaster of Born to Run done by the infamous Bob Ludwig. Somehow I managed to not pick this up during the closing of Sam Goody in Cedar Rapids. They had a number of copies of this I recall. Along with the remaster– which is packaged in a mini reproduction of the original gatefold sleeve– there are two DVD’s. The first DVD is “Wings for Wheels: The Making of Born to Rum”– a documentary about the making of Born to Run which is really informative. Bruce hanging out in the studio listening to the original session tapes for Born to Run and we hear some parts that weren’t used in the eventual release. The second DVD is a ful-length (2 hour!) concert of Bruce and E Street at the Hammersmith Odeon in London from 1975. This concert is mentioned in the the documentary. I guess that this show is on the heels of the release of Born to Run and Springsteen was pissed about some fliers that were all over the venue that said “London is finally ready for Bruce Springsteen” so before the show he tore them all down. It wasn’t until he started digging through his vaults years later that he realized that this show was worthy for release even though in his mind it wasn’t a good one. A very good concert capturing the emerging power that was E Street back then.

Adam’s Apple – Wayne Shorter (LP, Blue Note BLUNT 4232, 1966) ($7.98) From what I can tell, this is a new record. There were multiple copies of these “140 gram” LP’s in the Jazz section at HPB. There were only three titles, and out of them, I picked this one without having heard it before. I recognized Wayne Shorter as the sideman for Davis as well as Art Blakey and this record has Herbie Hancock on it as well, so I figured it was a safe bet. The LP and sleeve are direct reproductions of the original release, but it comes with a nice clear envelope-style outer sleeve. The inner sleeve is a vellum-type paper which should keep the record in good shape for years to come. I can’t find any information about this pressing– what date it was released or who did the mastering. The album is part of Wayne Shorter’s run of solo albums on Blue Note while working in Miles Davis’s “Second Great Quintet” from ’64 to ’68 along with Hancock. Effectively Shorter replaced John Coltrane in the band after Davis convinced him to leave Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in 1964. From 1964 to 1970 Shorter recorded nine albums for Blue Note.  Generally Shorter’s 1965 release Speak No Evil is regarded as his best work, but Adam’s Apple is regarded highly as well. Adam’s Apple follows an insane  four releases in 1965 wrapping up with the free-jazz workout The All-Seeing Eye. Adam’s Apple is considered a return to form of sorts with carefully structured melodies. I also downloaded the 256Kbps mp3’s from Amazon which were based on the “Rudy Van Gelder Edition” series and included a bonus track “The Collector” which was written by Hancock. A great album which fits nicely with my Davis, Coltrane and Blakey releases from this period.

Overheard on TV: The Heavy “Dignity” on Entourage

Under doctor’s orders, Sherry was to get some rest so we took the opportunity to catch up on some TV. For some reason we forgot to set HBO’s Entourage to record for the season, so thanks to OnDemand, we watched the entire 5th season in one sitting. Man, that is the only way to watch that show! Next season looks pretty promising with Vince working with Martin Scorsese.

Next to Grey’s Anatomy, Entourage has been a constant source of new music for me. I first heard TV on the Radio on Entourage, in fact. In Episode 65, titled “Play’n With Fire” during the scene where Ari flies to the “Smokejumpers” set to try to salvage a bad situation, a very funky, grungy song called “Dignity” by the UK band The Heavy is playing. It features very prominently in the scene and with it’s lifted instantly recognizable slap and tambourine percussion from “Gimme Good Loving” by the Spencer Davis Group it sticks in yer skull.

The Heavy is a band from the UK who are on the great HipHop and Electronica label Ninja Tune. In addition to their own stable of artists, Ninja Tune distributes Quannum for the rest of the world. “Dignity” is from the band’s 2007 debut release Great Vengeance & Furious Fire. They are primarily guitarist Dan Taylor and vocalist Kelvin Swaby. This band kind of takes the stripped down blues of The Black Keys and funks it up a bit. Lots of interesting samples provide the beats. This album is going to ride on my iPhone for a while!

Click Here for The Heavy’s MySpace Page

Click Here for The Heavy’s Website

Click Here to Listen to “Dignity” by The Heavy on Hype Machine (click the play arrow)


Streaming Calexico Concert at FabChannel.com

Thanks to the folks at the Yahoo Group CasadeCalexico, we bring you a streaming video of Calexico’s concert on 10/15/08 at Paradiso Main Hall in Amsterdam. Calexico plays a nice set that focuses on Carried to Dust but also delivers old standbys like “Across the Wire” and the cover of Love’s “Alone Again, Or.”

Hosted Live Download: Tortoise & Lambchop; July 21, 2004

Here is another fantastic live download from our friends at The Owl & The Bear. When this show showed up on the torrents in 2004 I downloaded it for the Tortoise part but it was the Lambchop show that really turned me on to Kurt Wagner and Lambchop. Lambchop with the DAFO String Quartet is the perfect way to listen to these songs. Simply Breathtaking.

read more | digg story

Another Free EP from Adult Swim!

As reported in Pitchfork earlier this month, Adult Swim has partnered with the Chicago label Chocolate Industries to provide a 6-track EP via the Adult Swim Site. The EP, titled Chocolate Swim (gross!), as you might expect, includes tracks from Chocolate Industries roster including the buzzworthy teen Lady Sovereign, Ghislain Poirier and Diverse along with Adult Swim vet MF Doom, and Mos Def!

Go Get It! 

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