Nao Wave Revisited

by Justin Cober-Lake

15 January 2006


So you’ve stocked up on your Os Mutantes and Caetano Veloso, and, following Wes Anderson’s lead, dug into a little Seu Jorge. That means you’ve got Brazil covered, right? Then along came last summer’s Não Wave—Brazilian Post Punk 1982-1988 to spin you around. Now you could have your post-punk revival, and still stay one step ahead of those slackers who were still talking about Gang of Four like they were there.

Going a step farther, the compilers of the original Não Wave compilation have released an EP containing remixes of four of that first disc’s tracks. The DJs primarily take minimalist approaches to the songs, flattening them out and relying on steady grooves.  The resulting disc has ties to its sources, but more ties to its creators’ continuing fascination with a particular scene.

In reworking Black Future’s “Eu Sou O Rio”, Munk buries the leading bassline and uses percussion to set the less engaging groove for the first minute. When he brings in the bass, he also amplifies the song’s unusual barking sound, making the track more intense (but still less rhythmic) than the original version. The groove picks up, but it

The Glimmers, whom you might know from their DJ Kicks mix, stretch out Agentss’ “Agentes”, turning into into a chopped ‘n’ screwed trance track. Where the original had a big creepy bounce, this “slowdance” version stays tightly enclosed, while still nodding to the Krautrock stylings that influences Agentss.

Tim “Love” Lee provides the edit for Voluntarios de Patria’s “IO IO” and creates the disc’s most familiar-sounding track. He brings down the original’s bass, but keeps the focuses on the shouty vocals. This song, in either the original or the EP version, has the most singalong chorus (for you Portugese-speakers) and the most traditional rock sound. While it’s pleasing in its quality, it’s also a surprising inclusion given the distance the other tracks maintain.

Marco, even though he does barely anything, turns the nervous, goth-y energy of “Ciencias Sensuais” into a more danceable, less moody piece. He doesn’t do away with Azul 29’s original style, but he turns the Cure-like sound into a camp-y take on the song’s intro. It has a hint of the playful, but it’s a neglible performance, useful primarily for the foyer of hipster Halloween parties.

This release’s existence seems unlikely: primarily it serves to work as a teaser for the Não Wave compilation, yet it probably won’t appeal to many people who aren’t already familiar with that music. The remixes aren’t particularly intriguing in and of themselves, and they don’t shed enough light on Brazilian post-punk to engage novices interested in learning more.

The oddity and unnecessary nature of its release doesn’t mean the disc flops. Three out of the four tracks (all except the Marco) are more than serviceable when stripped away from the who remixed who that was influenced by what and why I am here context. It’s just that its target audience is probably microscopic, and not likely to be provided the rewards that cultic fetishists expect.

Não Wave Revisited: Brazilian Post Punk 1982-1988


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