The Adventurous World of Brazilian Experimental Music

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Brazil’s musical culture is so broad, and its traditions so intertwined, that the meaning of “Brazilian experimental music” is pleasantly confounded. In other countries, “experimental music” is often defined against a conservative or less adventurous pop landscape. But in Brazil, “the relation between tradition and vanguard in Brazil is ambivalent,” explains Bernardo Oliveira, a Brazilian teacher, researcher, critic, and producer of experimental music. “We’ve incarnated ‘the vanguard of backwardness and the backwardness of vanguard.” 1960s acts like Os Mutantes and Gal Costa dabbled in fractured experimentation, or combined traditional song structures with psychedelic metal and noise. More recently, the festival music of funk carioca turned Miami bass into hugely popular repetitive abstract rhythms. Other important inspirations for current performers include Tropicália arranger Rogério Duprat, early Brazilian electronic musician Jorge Antunes, and the master of uniquely broken songs, Tom Zé. “We are thinking and conceiving the ‘experimental’ not as a ‘genre’ or a fixed approach or repertoire, but as a practice of invention, experimentation that can be also popular or intuitive,” says Oliveira.