Published Oct 18, 2010Marcos Valle is a Brazilian pop icon whose effortless grace with melodies and arrangements has generated comparisons to Brian Wilson. Indeed, Valle's career has lasted almost as long. Since the mid-'60s, he's been one of the country's most dexterous pop composers, but spent a considerable amount of time in the late '60s through the '70s in a weird prog-samba-funk-rock zone. This past decade has seem him on London's Far Out Records, where he's shown surprising flair for laidback, drum machine-fuelled samba funk. Estática is something else again. His first international release in five years is a wide-screen affair with deft string, horn and rhythm arrangements instead of the electronics of recent years. The keening strings of the fraught "Vamos Sambar" make for an edgy beginning. Concept instrumentals "1975," "1985" and "1995" act as interludes between different moods of the disc, evoking their respective eras without turning into musical pranks. Be warned that your enjoyment of the disc may depend on your tolerance for slap bass ("Eu Vou" being just one example); however, the loopy, lush orchestral arrangements bring subtler textures to songs. This is an unexpected and welcome album from Valle, easily ranking with his greatest achievements.
Were you looking back to a certain part of your career that inspired this album's classic sound?
Joe [Davis, head of Far Out] told me I could use an orchestra for this one, so I decided to take advantage of it and make it sound as rich and nice as I could. When I started recording in the '60s, I could use an orchestra on my albums because those musicians were employed by the labels. But today it's not easy to be able to have it. So, as Estática gave me this possibility, I certainly had the memories of those EMI records with me.
You've always had a lot of fans in Britain and Japan, when did you start to realize just how big an audience you had overseas, and your place in the rare groove scene?
Only in the beginning of the '90s, when [famed Brazilian singer/guitarist] Joyce, coming back from London, told me the whole story. Until then, I had no idea of what was happening there and in Japan.
Do you plan to tour this album?
Yes I do. My European agency is organizing a tour for next October/November. And I will be probably touring the U.S. in June 2011. (Far Out)