The Rough Guide to Brazilian Lounge - Various Artists

World Music Network

Nobody does chill, downbeat or lounge music (as it’s often categorized) like Brazilians. Their traditions are so inherently rhythmic; when they dial it back it’s like that dating couple at the table next to you. He’s doing his best to be suave and cool but underneath the table, one leg is fibrillating up and down at 300 bpms. Even chilled, there’s an urgent under-current of vibrancy to the breathy sambas and electro-bossa pouring out of Brazil. The Rough Guide series offers Brazilian Lounge by way of an introduction to this world. The compilation does a good job of identifying key players in genre such as Da Cruz, Marissa, Beto Villares and Zuco 103 and they’ve done well to keep the roster short so the listener can hear (in some cases at least) more than one track from each contributor. But, I’m not convinced the best from each of these talents is showcased here. There is, however a prevailing reason to consider The Rough Guide to Brazilian Lounge for your collection and that’s the incredible and down-played bonus disc; a complete album by relative newcomers, Axial. They’re a quartet of keyboards, bass, woodwinds, guitar and electronics capable of creating sweeping orchestral atmospheres, enchanting and thoroughly original electronic accents and it’s all topped with the bell-like vocal purity of Sandra Ximenez. Apparently their live shows expand these rich textures into the visual realm with big production effects. It’s 13 gems, easily overlooked that make following this Rough Guide ultimately a rewarding excursion into Brazilian Lounge.