Metá Metá MM3
(Jazz Village / Planet Woo)
Review by Bruce Miller
With MM3, this Sao Paolo-based trio, active since 2008, are joined once again by a bassist and drummer for spastic, genre-defying blasts that place them in the center of a vibrant Brazilian music scene. The record skitters between post-punk, gruff, avant sax flutters, raw guitar pulsations, and an ability to shift tempo that's military precise. The Ex's more global excursions come briefly to mind, the back alley sonic-chases of Last Exit share some sort of distant genes, and UT's urgency at least flirts with some of this record's chugging intensity. But for those who hear Brazil and think samba, candomble, or Tropicalia's freakier moments, this record might come as a surprise.
Sao Paolo has music to go with its infrastructure, poverty, and corruption. From experimental synth to Favela proibidao rap, Metá Metá, who initially stoked the fading fires of the country's traditions with free-jazz, are one more component of a scene that's at least partially a reaction to the chaos and breakdowns pervading their city. “Imagem do Amor,” also available live on video (see below) as part of their “no Cultural Livre” set, gets its strength from a narcotic, portending riff, where Jucara Marcal's voice nearly bursts at the seams before Thiago Franca's gravelly sax warbles dance over the fallout.
"Imagem do Amor" (excerpt)
And while this is a band intent on original material, this album's centerpiece is the nearly ten-minute remodeling given to the traditional Nigerian dance drama, “Oba Koso.” Kiko Dinucci's guitar enters in shards not unlike something heard on Sonic Youth's “Evol,” before being joined by the rest of the band for a subtle build on the riff.
Dinucci chants the Yoruba lyrics over Franca's melodic underpinnings and croaks. Marcal finally appears moaning atop the chant for a performance building toward catharsis through noise and repetition. Finally, the dust starts to settle, and the band holds onto the tune's pulse as it ever so stealthily builds back up once again before slinking off into nothing. It's easily the album's most evocative track, and the band smartly saved it for last.
"Oba Koso" (excerpt)
It's not always clear whether MM3 has added to the frazzled edges Metá Metá have been conjuring, but the record is just this side of stunning. It's also the likely entry point for folks north of the border.
Find the ensemble online: www.metametaoficial.com.br