Beto Villares Beto Villares

On his debut solo album, in-demand Brazilian producer Beto Villares — fans of Grammy-nominated CéU, who appears on two tracks here, may recognize the name — manages to blend diverse incarnations of the country's sounds into a very smooth collection. Villares travelled around Brazil in the '90s doing research for the documentary Música do Brasil and indeed, the travelogue gels into one well-selected journey. The languid guitar of "Incerteza" and the lounge-y "Rio Bossa Nova" may seem like a love letter to the obvious but check out "Festa na Roça" for an irreverent take on the old bossa conventions re-imagined slightly with Cuban-meets-minimalist-samples. Slow funk backbeats meet horns, creative rhymes and minimal… curling irons (!?) on "África Lá," while samba de roda meets lazy guitars on the beach in "Meio Dia Em Macapá" and electro touches join the soft, almost desert-evoking maracatu snares and rolling chants on "Medo." Villares's ability to select, bring out and build upon the simple, beautiful conventions from which he draws knows only joy. "Nó Dend' Água" in its intro entices with son-like guitars and trickily, even-paced percussion, as well as the rich choruses and even subtle scratching. Then the Portuguese rap-style kicks in but fear not, the mix remains sunny throughout. (Six Degrees)