Da Cruz

Nova Estação EP 1 & 2

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The latest installment in the Six Degrees label's Emerging Artists series is a disc that pairs two very impressive EPs by the Brazilian singer Mariana Da Cruz, who got her start in church choirs before eventually gravitating to the bossa nova club scene and then to Portugal, where she fell under the spell of both fado and electronica. It was there that she hooked up with Swiss producer Ane H., who took her to the Alps to record this project with guitarist Oliver Hussman and percussionist Adrian Christen. The resulting tracks are clearly Latin with a distinctly Brazilian flavor, but they don't fit most current stereotypes of electro-Braziliana. Da Cruz herself characterizes this music as "transglobal, electro-acoustic pop with a Brazilian soul and a heartbeat as precise as Swiss clockwork." And perhaps that's the key to what makes this music so distinctive: "Taj Mahal" uses elements of Bahian drumming, but there's a crispness and precision to the song that is alien to the laid-back warmth of most Brazilian music; "Tou Na Tordica" hints at jungle without quite embracing its frenetic pace; "Linda Lago do Amor" and "Perdida" both downplay the electronic elements in favor of a more organic Latin sound, without giving up the tightness that characterizes the whole album. You might expect that the resulting sound would be somehow uptight or constricted, but it isn't --- it's just different, and deliciously so. Recommended.

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