Thursday, February 9, 2012

12 O'Clock Track: O Têrço, "Flauta"

Posted By on 02.09.12 at 12:00 PM

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From the mid- to late 60s, Forma was one of Brazil's best record labels, releasing top-notch bossa nova with a progressive bent. Among the artists in its catalog are Baden Powell, Quarteto em Cy, Moacir Santos, Deodato, and Carlos Lyra. I had no idea O Têrço had also cut music for Forma until Brazilian reissue label Discobertas released a pair of titles by the band in late 2010. O Têrço's music was a long way from bossa nova; they're best known as one of the country's most celebrated prog-rock outfits of the early to mid-70s. But on their self-titled debut for Forma, released in 1970, they hadn't quite reached the heights of heaviness that would soon define them. There's nothing lightweight on the debut, and you can clearly hear the churning of elaborate ideas, but the psych-pop aesthetic isn't too far from what Os Mutantes were putting down a few years earlier. O Têrço still exist, but unless you have a grudge against your ears, I wouldn't bother with their recent recordings.

The record features rich arrangements by the great Arthur Verocai, loaded with horns and strings, and the over-the-top drumming comes courtesy of Vinicius Cantuaria, who's known these days as a sophisticated post-bossa singer based in New York. Last year he released a superb duo album with jazz guitarist Bill Frisell called Lágrimas Mexicanas. Today's 12 O'Clock Track, "Flauta," features characteristically gorgeous vocal harmonies and a couple of nicely jarring transitions from ethereal, flute-kissed balladry to hard-rocking bits that sound like the Mamas & the Papas just walked in.

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