Lô Borges

Lô Borges

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Reminiscent of the Clube da Esquina album he made the same year with Brazilian superstar Milton Nascimento, Lô Borges' 1972 solo debut proves that his influence on Nascimento was quite strong. The recording is texturally lush and dreamy, at times urgent and bizarre, and filled with the fantastic and intricate guitar playing one would expect of Borges after hearing his dazzling work with Nascimento. His vocal arrangements are lavish, often similar to the vocal qualities of George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, and his instrumental arrangements are just plain confounding. Piano phrases mash in and out of control over the unorthodox yet clever progressions; polyphonic percussion interlocks with jazzed-out organ lines and thoughtful, melodic bass work. Occasionally, a string section will fall into place, fulfilling the album's decorative quota, and the whole construction becomes watertight. It is truly stunning to pick apart the timbre of individual instruments and realize how necessary and meticulous each part is in the overall presentation. Borges is one of those arrangers who can build up a music bed with miles of depth and construct a wall of sound, yet keep the overall concept in crisp focus. No layer of the instrumentation seems to ever become obscured by another, nor does any part seem unnecessary, and so much is going on rhythmically and melodically that it demands full attention. The remarkable quality of Brazil's musical culture to seamlessly integrate as many outside influences into one place is well represented here. Many western textures, such as soul, rock, jazz, and pop, are absorbed into the picture with fervor and grace rarely executed in the world of western music. "Não Foi Nada" illustrates this particularly well, but the melting-pot sentiment echoes through all of Borges' performances here.

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