MAN 01 V.A. “Não Wave – Brazilian Post Punk 1982-1988″April 25th, 2005
NÃo Wave – Brazilian Post Punk 1982-1988
Cat.Nr.: MAN 01
Release: April 25, 2005
A strange object surprised music fans in Brazil in 1982. An independent 7“ single, with an obscure cover in black and white where the band name could be read: Agentss. Here were 2 tracks impressively synchronised with the electronic music that was happening at that time in Europe and the USA, from Gary Numan and Fad Gadget to Gang Of Four, ESG, New Order and Liquid Liquid.
It was the first manifestation of a phenomenon that developed during the whole of the 1980’s: Brazilian bands working from the same post-punk references as scenes occurring in London, New York and Berlin. In the following years dozens of releases revealed an invigorating and vigorous generation of bands. From 1982 to the end of the 80s bands like Ira!, Smack, Mercenárias, Muzak, Voluntários da Pátria, Chance, Vzyadoq Moe, Akira S & as Garotas Que Erraram were some of these names – all of these coming from the city of São Paulo.
With today´s groups like Bloc Party, LCD Sound System, The Rapture, Whomadewho, Radio 4 and other contemporary punk/dance bands taking their influences from the early eigthies, the music of the groups included on Não Wave (all of whom have remained unknown outside of Brazil until now) will be a surprising revelation.
The tracks that Andy Cumming, Alex Antunes and Miguel Barella compiled in this collection give an idea of what was the Brazilian “Não Wave”. An idea that is perhaps incomplete, because what was documented in the studios was often less explosive than the live experience – but still intriguing none-theless to see how current some of these tracks sound.
Full text by Alex Antunes available in the CDs booklet.
Here’s an interview with Andy Cumming, who concepted the Não Wave compilation
Andy, how did you come up with the idea to compile Não Wave?
About a year and a half ago I was listening to some albums of the period and I thought what with the current vogue for 80´s new wave and post punk it would be interesting to gather together the best of Brazil´s efforts during this period. Especially those tracks that have a distinctive market outside Brazil for that particular sound. And it was also an area that had never been explored before in compilation form. I could also see the timing was right with the interest in post-punk, various compilations were being released, for example “Anti NY”, and there were also other German, UK and Australian compilations chronicling a similar period. So I got together with the CDs co-compilers, Alex Antunes and Miguel Barella – both very prolific artists during this period, and they guided me around the era.
Vzyadoq Moe | Agentss
In Brazil, is there also an interest in that particular musical period?
I believe there is a little but I think with the release of the compilation it will intensify. Generally only collectors and specialists (people of a certain age – late 30s early 40s) were really aware of the scene. However, at the moment there seems to be a rekindling of the scene as certain groups are reforming to play one-off shows for the cultural center SESC. These include Mercenárias, Akira S e as Garotas Que Erraram and Smack. I hope that more albums from the period will be reissued as, for example, the Akira S E As Garotas Que Erraram album for Baratos Afins is a classic album in any genre.
Moreover, I think globally, there´s a huge interest in that particular era, just look at the success of Bloc Party and Optimo, so I think the public are going to be looking out more for an exotic post-punk, especially DJs. Also the author Simon Reynolds has just released his 600-page book on the period thus creating more interest. Also when a musical period has been mined so thoroughly like post punk in the last couple of years, then collectors will need to look further. We also live in the age of increasing homogenization, just walking down my high street in Brazil I can see Gap, Nike, Nestle etc., and music is possibly one of the few things that remains individual with regional differences, which means that people all over the world are interested in hearing anything from Peruvian progressive rock to Grime from the East-end of London
Why do you think the bands included in the compilation never were recognised outside of Brazil?
In Brazil there is a huge amount of information coming in but very little going out. A case in point here is Rio Baile Funk, which has existed for well over 15 years and only now has been acknowledged outside Brazil. This imbalance in the exchange of information is difficult to understand as there is huge interest with what happens in Brazil, politically as well as culturally. Many artists who produce music in Brazil often ask how they can distribute their music outside the country and obviously need more open channels. I think perhaps the people who release and distribute Brazilian music in Europe or the States have a vision of the music as samba/MPB based and not the culture gobbling cannibal it actually is.
What are the bands up to today included in the Não Wave compilation?
Well Fellini reformed for a one-off show and an album a few years ago, there has always been a cult following for Fellini and their song writer Thomas Pappon, who currently lives in London. Ira! went on from the demo included in the compilation to become one of Brazils major rock groups, having just recorded an acoustic session for MTV. Miguel Barella, who played for Agentss, Voluntários de Pátria and produced Ira!, now plays electro-acoustic improv around São Paulo very much keeping extreme experimentation alive. Alex Antunes, who was a major force in putting together this compilation and was a member of Akira S E As Garotas Que Erraram, still puts together musical projects and wrote a fantastic book a few years ago. He´s kind of a Paulistano Bukowski but with pop-culture references. The label Baratos Afins still exists as well as being an essential record shop in the centre of São Paulo. The work of Luiz Calanca with Baratos during the 80’s cannot be emphasised enough, much of the music on the compilation would not exist without him. Apart from Ira! none of these bands now exist, though many of the people are still in São Paulo and play and record in various projects.
Não Wave track details, by Alex Antunes
01 Agentss “Agentes”
Technopop band that were the predecessors of the Brazilian new wave. Formed in 1980, they released an independent single (”Agentes” / “Angra”) in 1982, and another for a major label (”Professor Digital” / “Cidade Industrial”) in 1983, splitting up in the same year. The few live shows they did always had a huge impact. The leader, vocalist and keyboard player Kodiak Bachine continued with an obscure solo work, while the guitarists Orion Mike (Miguel Barella) and Duo (Eduardo Amarante) went on to work in important bands in the following years such as Voluntários da Patria and Azul 29.
02 Black Future “Eu Sou O Rio”
The darkest (”dark” being the name given to Brazilian pre-goths) and most experimental band from Rio de Janeiro, where the radical musical scene was based round the club “Crepúsculo de Cubatão” owned by the exiled English bank robber, Ronnie Biggs. Black Future were led by vocalist Márcio Satanésio and keyboard player, violinist and artist Tantão, two eccentric composers from the bohemian neighbourhood of Lapa, influenced by pop culture in general and comics in particular. The group appeared in 1983 and the album was released in 1988, promptly disappearing. One of the most well-known tracks is “Eu Sou O Rio” (I am Rio), which ironically celebrates the city, mixing punk funk and samba.
03+04 Akira S & As Garotas Que Erraram ”O Futebol” + “Sobre As Pernas”
Anarchic punk funk band formed by bassist Akira S and vocalist Pedreira Antunes in 1984. Akira S & As Garotas Que Erraram (Akira S and The Girls That Fucked Up) were the highlight on the seminal compilation Não São Paulo. Can member, Holger Czukay participated in the hit “Sobre As Pernas”. In 1986, the year of the recording of their only album, they also performed with American no wave guitarist Arto Lindsay in a show that ended up in confusion and rioting with the vocalist Antunes inciting the audience to destroy the club Zoster. Pioneers in the use of computers on stage.
05 Azul 29 “Ciências Sensuais”
The principle Brazilian technopop group, carrying on the heritage of Agentss, from whom they inherited guitarist Eduardo Amarante. Between 1983 and 1984 they released two singles (”Metrópole” / “Olhar”) and (”Video Game” / “O Teu Nome Em Neon”) for a major label before disappearing.The bizarre performance of vocalist and composer Thomas Bielefeld on this exclusive unreleased track (”Sensual Sciences”) with his falsettos recalls the German operatic pop singer Klaus Nomi.
06 Chance “Samba Do Morro”
One of the most experimental bands in São Paulo, formed by composers Nena and Scot and by singer Marcinha. Combining low tech a la early Cabaret Voltaire with the Brazilian rhythm of samba (the title is a word play with “morro” where the favelas are based in the mountainsides in Rio and the first person form of the verb “morrer” – to die). Highly conceptual, they performed rarely, and when they did it was with video equipment, a revelation at that time. They left just two recorded tracks on the Não São Paulo compilation with Akira S and Muzak.
07+08 Fellini “Teu Inglês”, “Funziona Senza Vapore”
One of the most unusual bands of the time, Fellini formed in 1984, as a (more or less) conventional new wave group, scoring the hit “Rock Europeu”. The band was used as a medium to convey the obsessions of composer / multi-instrumentalist Thomas Pappon (founder of Voluntários de Pátria and Smack) and vocalist Carlos “Cadão” Volpato, combining low-fi samba and sung poetry.
09 Ira! “La Fora Pode Até Morrer”
Still an important band in Brazilian rock, Ira! appeared in 1981 directly influenced by punk and post punk groups like The Clash and Gang of Four. The angular ska-like song “La Fora Pode Até Morrer” was recorded for their first demo tape and has never appeared on any album. The bassist and drummer would change soon after this recording. Later the group would clearly show the more seventies and mod influences of the composer, guitarist Edgard Scandurra, considered one of the best in the country on the instrument. Today Ira! have 12 albums and various collections released, and have never lost their credibility along with their audience, even when guitarist Edgard experiments with techno in his solo career.
10 AKT “Prince No Deserto Vermelho”
Underground feminine supergroup formed by bassist and vocalist Sandra Coutinho (Mercenárias), Guitarist Karla (R. Mutt), Keyboard player and vocalist Dequinha (Bruhahá Babélico) and drummer Biba Meira (DeFalla). The quartet recorded some tracks in 1990, of which two were released on the indie compilation “Enquanto Isso…?!”. They had a short existence with very few live performances before two of the members moved to Germany.
11 Vzyadoq Moe “Redenção”
From the city of Sorocaba, in the interior of the state of São Paulo, the young band Vzyadoq Moe came together – the name, which has no meaning, appeared in a dream of one of the members. With sombre vocals in the style of Bauhaus and percussion from junk metal inspired by Einstuerzende Neubauten their debut album was released in 1988 by the independent label Wop Bop. Members of the band are still active today working with electronic music as VZY.
12 Mercenárias “Polícia”
Aggressive feminine band formed in 1984 released their first album, the indie “Cadê As Armas?” (Where are the Weapons?), with the production skills of Edgard Scandurra of Ira! and the Englishman Peter Price, collaborator with members of Wire. The first LP directly attacked institutions such as the police and the church while the second LP, recorded for a major label, was much more sophisticated, adapting, for example, the “Proverbs of Hell” by William Blake. The incomprehension of the public and the label bringing on the end of the group.
13 Muzak “Ilha Urbana”
One of the more vigorous bands of the Paulista scene, thanks to the furious beat of the now deceased drummer Victor Leite and the heavy and tense playing of guitarist Nivaldo. Appearing in 1984 they were a revelation on the important independent collection Não São Paulo (on the label Baratos Afins). Later they recorded an EP for a major label, however, it had a weak production and a more acoustic sound which didn’t match their reputation as the “Killing Joke of Brazil”, soon after they disappeared.
14 Voluntários Da Patria “Iô Iô”
Formed at the end of 1982 by drummer Thomas Pappon and the guitarists Miguel Barella (former Agentss) and Minho K, the Voluntários witnessed a long line of ever changing vocalists. The album recorded in 1984 borrowed the singer from Ira!, Nazi, at the same time the guitarist Giusseppe Lenti replaced K. Barella and Lenti, both alumni of Robert Fripp, invested in the interaction of the guitars, in the style of Television and Talking Heads. Produced by the group, the album launched the new wave phase of the independent label Baratos Afins, which became the main focus of the local scene.