Jardim Eletrico: A Tribute to Os Mutantes

Various Artists

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Jardim Eletrico: A Tribute to Os Mutantes Review

by Ned Raggett

The continuing impact of Os Mutantes' music as their work became more widely known outside Brazil is reflected in this enjoyable tribute compilation -- if, as with all such tributes, nothing quite compares to hearing the original versions, it's the feeling of celebration which such a collection can produce which justifies it, so long as the performances work in their own right. The bands range from all over the map, from some long-lived legends in their own right to up-and-comers whose work is clearly touched by the Brazilian trio's off-kilter genius. Starting with a rough-and-ready take on "Top Top" by Stop the Wheel, many of Jardim Electrico's contributions understandably come from Italian bands (given the labels who released it are from that country), but performers from Japan to throughout America all take a bow. Jennifer Gentle takes a fine bow with a solo recording of that group's leader Marco Fasolo on "Panis et Circensis" -- Fasolo's own work has shown such an inspired debt to Os Mutantes' transformations of rock & roll that it's a pleasure to hear it being repaid. There's a slight ringer in the inclusion of the Tater Totz's cover of "Bat Macumba" -- done back in 1984! -- but their semi-alternate incarnation White Flag contributes a new and strongly performed rarity, "Mysterious White Roses," a song that Os Mutantes only ever recorded during a performance in a 1968 film. Other fine standouts include Littlebrown's sweetly loopy take on the already pretty well gone "Senhor F" and Pillars & Tongues' string-laden (and strung out) version of "Magica." As a further note, the art work throughout is quite lovely, a mix of artistic styles that's a treasure, while no less than Os Mutantes' own Sergio Dias adds a warm and winning thank you note as well.

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