Music-wise Brasil has always been associated, in my imagination, with the Bossanova sound of Astrud Gilberto and João Gilberto, in all its subsequent hybridizations with pop and electronica, and the legendary late 60s/early 70s artistic movement Tropicália or Tropicalismo (Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes), not to mention blurred memories of fascinating black and white appearances from Chico Buarque and Vinícius de Moraes on Italian television.
However, apart from a few hints in Brasilian ex-pat Arto Lindsey of 80s NYC no-wave band D.N.A., it was only through the compilation ‘The Sexual Life of the Savages’ in 2005, via the ace Soul Jazz label, partially based on the São Paulo post-punk scene of the 80s, with such brilliant bands as Gang 90, As Mercenárias, Akira S and As Garotas Que Errarem, that I finally realized that the sound of my youth was not only an exclusive European or North American affair.
While in recent years my favourite ‘Carioca’ group is the all-girl anarcho post-punkers Rafta, lately more experimental and psychedelic, more and more often new bands pop up, even if we can’t certainly talk about a real ‘Não Wave’, that are worthy of our attention (just this year Anum Petro, 1983, Wintry, Signo 13).
Last but not least interesting are Brazilia-based RASHA, a brand new coldwave duo comprised of Caio Lemos & Raíssa Geovanna Matos, whose very promising 2-track foray, part of a future debut EP, overflows with an emotional and moody synth-laden wave sound, hypnotically fuelled with an obscure yet sparkling rhythmic electronic backbone, amidst subtle invigorating trancey (“Sólida”) and techno undertones, punctuated by distinctive groovy crackling percussive patterns, to inject a fresh and modern quality with nods to Boy Harsher, while the subdued bittersweet tone of the female voice intriguingly contrasts with the harsh lyrics.
Sinister throbbing bassline, permeated with buzzing atmospherics, soars in foreboding intensity soon triggered by relentless heavy whipping syncopated snare drums, arrhythmically pierced by stuttering metallic hisses and terse crispy hits, while desolate dramatic droning synth washes increasingly threaten the falling dismal female whispers, as they grow colder, taunting and laughing bitterly under an isolated shroud of impossible dreams.