Os Mutantes: 'Haih or Bara`una'
If you are already familiar with the music of Os Mutantes, the Brazilian Tropicalia band, you will be very pleased to know that Sérgio Dias Baptista has again unleashed his eclectic sensibilities in sound, instrumentation, music and themes to produce an album, Mutantes' first new music in 35 years, that fits like a velvet glove around the throat of today's cultural, political and economic necrophilia. And if you aren't, imagine an alternate universe in which Devendra Banhart, Frank Zappa and Tom Waits join Sérgio Mendes for a drink, then invite Sinead O'Connor and Lani Hall over to join them, and they decide to write music that will make everyone want to dance while they paint murals representing peace, love and justice on the government buildings. Something like that, anyway.
Given Os Mutantes' origins as early and important players in the vibrant Tropicalia scene that swept late 1960s Brazil, one might assume this new collection from Anti- is either a retrospective of early recordings (look to Luaka Bop's 1999 collection Everything Is Possible for that), or the molding fruit of another aging rock / pop star needing to finance their 4th of divorce. Far from either, 2009's Haih or Bara`una—12 new songs and an introductory piece of what sounds like spoken word Russian that I hope someone will translate and send to me—is a contemporary and compelling offering of eclectic musical mastery that uses and fuses the sounds and styling of Africa, Brazil, American and British psychedelic rock, pre-WW2 French cabaret with any reason you might have for wanting to celebrate being alive into a rhythmic musical mélange.
Os Mutantes - "Anagrama"