Various Urban Brazil

Few contemporary Brazilian compilations have truly succeeded in presenting the kind of gritty contemporary street sounds that characterise latter day anthologies of ’70s MPB. The City Of God soundtracks certainly are worthy, and so is this one. This compilation is put together by Future World Funk, who have scoured independently produced tracks for many gems. The late great Chico Science seems to gain stature every year, and "Roda Rodete Rodiano" confirms why, with his growly vocals on top of a convincing hip-hop break. This seems to be a stumbling block for much Brazilian hip-hop, despite speaking a language that should lend itself well to rapping (Jorge Ben certainly carried the swing back in the day), the beats and rhyming patterns seem to be stuck in the past. There are no sterling examples represented here, but Rappin Hood's "Sou Negrao" and Instituto & Sabotage's "Dama Tereza" at least have great tracks. Most successful are the jazzier tracks, so many of which are adventures in groove like Otto's "Cuba," Funky Como Le Gusta "Nervosa." And finally there are some all-time classics: the bricolage of Botecoeletro's "Coco Nutz Mass," the fractured guitar loop behind Nery Bauer's "Dolce Far Niente" and the Brazilian no-wave dub of Mamelo Sound System's "2736 KM" — these are about the most exciting mid-tempo dance floor tunes around this year. Stern's is not the easiest label to get a hold of in Canada, so do some searching online, it's well worth it. (Stern's)