Music

Curumin: JapanPopShow

Curumin is further proof of Quannum Projects' impressive roster that continues to innovate and diversify popular music.


Curumin

JapanPopShow

Label: Quannum Projects
US Release Date: 2008-11-04
UK Release Date: Available as import
Internet release date: 2008-10-07
Amazon
iTunes

It's clear at this point that Quannum Projects' roster is one of the country's best when it comes to providing diverse and innovative music. From DJ Shadow's schizophrenic output to the smooth and excessively fun Pigeon John records, every artist has something different to contribute. And Brazil's Curumin is no different.

Born to Spanish and Japanese parents, Curumin began discovering music from across the globe in the 1970s. His lust for music drew him to playing the pots and pans in his first band at age eight. Six years later, he was providing the beats as a percussionist in clubs in Sao Paulo. He also taught himself how to play keyboards. He continued to learn and grow as a musician in Gaviões da Fiel, a Brazilian music school. In between lessons on the history of popular Brazilian music, or Musica Popular Brasileira, he studied American acts like Run DMC and the B-52s. The multi-instrumentalist joined several bands including Toca and Zomba, with the latter eventually becoming Curumin's solo project. He then dropped his funky, samba-influenced debut, Achados e Perdidos, in 2005.

Now, it is three years later and Curumin is primed and ready to tackle releasing the dreaded sophomore album. And luckily for him, he has nothing to worry about with JapanPopShow. It's not likely to catch on with the general public, but those with an ear for eclectic, worldly pop music are in for a treat. He even might catch on with underground hip-hop heads, who will appreciate his DJ Shadow-esque "Salto No Vacuo Com Joelhada". Additionally, labelmates Lateef the Truth Speaker and Blackalicious' Gift of Gab stop by on "Kyoto" to increase Curumin's appeal.

Unless you speak Portuguese, you will be hard pressed to understand a lot of JapanPopShow's lyrics. But, like any talented artist, Curumin lets his music speak for itself while the singing provides extra tone and feeling. Think of him as a less off-the-wall, more focused Cornelius.

The perfect example here is "Misterio Stereo", which features Curumin's somber vocals over floaty synths to create a track of Air's Talkie Walkie proportions. Then there is the funky M.I.A. dance number "Caixa Preta". Curumin sounds right at home as the drums and bass bounce off each other. You can almost picture the packed club of hipsters grooving right along as he dances around the stage. The same praise can be said for "Magrela Fever", a classic rock anthem straight out of the '70s and perfect for those long summer days. Also worth mentioning is the jazzed-out "Funanchu", which rounds out the 44-minute listen perfectly.

Like any truly enjoyable pop album, JapanPopShow has something for everyone. And even though it reaches too far on some tracks, like the dull "Mal Estar Card", Curumin ultimately has crafted a unique second record. The only problem with such a scattered album is that it ends up lacking a cohesive feel. The 13 tracks hardly repeat the same style with everything from electro-dance-pop to rock to hip-hop to jazz. While it's not exactly a knock on the overall effort, a more refined direction could help Curumin appeal to a broader audience. But, as you can probably imagine, that's not likely to be something he is worried about.

7

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Electronic music is one of the broadest-reaching genres by design, and 2017 highlights that as well as any other year on record. These are the 20 best albums.


20. Vitalic - Voyager (Citizen)

Pascal Arbez-Nicolas (a.k.a. Vitalic) made waves in the French Touch electro-house scene with his 2005 debut, OK Cowboy, which had a hard-hitting maximalist sound, but several albums later, Voyager finds him launching into realms beyond at his own speed. The quirky, wallflower vocals and guitar snippets employed throughout Voyager drop a funk that brings to mind WhoMadeWho or Matthew Dear if they had disco-pop injected between their toes. "Levitation" is as pure a slice of dance floor motivation as theoretically possible, a sci-fi gunfight with a cracking house beat sure to please his oldest fans, yet the album-as-form is equally effective in its more contemplative moments, like when Miss Kitten's vocals bring an ethereal dispassion to "Hans Is Driving" to balance out its somber vocoder or the heartfelt cover of "Don't Leave Me Now" by Supertramp. Voyager may infect you with a futuristic form of Saturday Night Fever, but afterwards, it gives you a hearty dose of aural acetaminophen to break it. - Alan Ranta


Keep reading... Show less

It's just past noon on a Tuesday, somewhere in Massachusetts and Eric Earley sounds tired.

Since 2003, Earley's band, Blitzen Trapper, have combined folk, rock and whatever else is lying around to create music that manages to be both enigmatic and accessible. Since their breakthrough album Furr released in 2008 on Sub Pop, the band has achieved critical acclaim and moderate success, but they're still some distance away from enjoying the champagne lifestyle.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image