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Musical Typewriter, Noites do Norte

Moreno Veloso + 2 and Caetano Veloso

Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Aug. 3, 2001

Record Reviews

Moreno Veloso + 2

Music Typewriter (Hannibal)

Caetano Veloso

Noites do Norte (Nonesuch)

No surprise 27-year-old Moreno Veloso has a Ph.D. in physics. It had to be easier than trying to fill the hand-tooled footwear of his father the maestro, Caetano Veloso. As poet laureate of Brazilian pop in the mid-Sixties, Veloso Sr. and like-minded musical adventurers like Gilberto Gil made the "Tropicalismo" movement samba like the summer of love had been for squares. What better language of love than the lugubrious French/Spanish/Italian-sounding whisper of Portuguese to let the sunshine in while those indigenous rhythms were propositioning your hips?! Better still, who would've foreseen son Moreno Veloso joining the vanguard three generations later with his debut Music Typewriter. Updating Caetano's cue, Moreno morphs tropical folk with 21st-century technology and polishes it smooth as a São Paulo bassline. "Sertão," the album's opening ode to the light of love, was penned by both Velosos, and may be the best track on the Typewriter, Moreno's still-ripening voice and acoustic guitar serene as the lyrics. "Deusa do Amor" follows suit with a disarming vocal melody, while "Das Partes" goofs on a theremin, and the trap-drum funk of "Arrivederci" skanks like some Sixties Italian movie. The choppy guitar and buzzing synthesizer of "Assim," meanwhile, assimilates some sort of Bootsy Collins innerspace. Typewriter would be perfect at 10 titles rather than 14 (particularly with "I'm Wishing" sullying the closing slot in English), but make no mistake, Dr. Moreno stakes claim to his birthright herein. Caetano Veloso began Noites do Norte (Northern Lights) after Typewriter wrapped, and it's obvious on lead-off "Zera a Reza" ("Prayer Down to Zero"): a flat, phat beat brought by twentysomethings moreso than 59-year-olds. Where Moreno strips down, Caetano builds up, the title track's strings giving the song about the almost sensuous nature of slavery -- the album's thematic meditation -- a rapturous air. The coyote grin of "Rock 'n' Raul," red desert violins of "Michelangelo Antonioni" and crystal memories of "Meu Rio," pensive closer "Tempestades Solares," which like "13 de Maio" features Moreno Veloso -- all shine with the beauty of Noites do Norte. The beauty of Brazil.

(Both) ***.5

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