Bruce Sterling on Bebel Gilberto

I’ve written a couple of times here about sci-fi genius and Viridian Movement Pope-Emperor Bruce Sterling, mostly in the context of the way-ahead-of-his-time work he’s doing with Viridian.

But he has been keeping a blog for Wired, and the most recent post is about one of my favorite musicians, Bebel Gilberto: “This is Bebel Gilberto. Born in New York, she is an American-European-Brazilian global 21st-century pop diva.”

I am digging this thing. Even a white-guy-samba chestnut like “So Nice (Summer Samba)” springs into a weird post-60s afterlife once it’s
been globally cyberized with a samplerdelic melange of hisses, whoops, whooshes, bleeps, thuds and twitters. The spacey remixes of “Tanto Tempo” sounds like they’re scratching at the edge of the universe with thick rubber spatulas.

I pay attention to electronica for obvious reasons, and I can always get along with easy-going, caiparinha-blurred Brazilian beach music… I mean, who couldn’t like such stuff, it’s so harmlessly sexual and ingratiating… but techno gives bossa nova some serious nova-osity. The fact that these are actual songs, with verse-verse chorus and that ruthlessly slinky beat, gives all that synth dithering some useful spine. Hey, it’s “Brazilectronica!” This stuff could conquer the world!

Regular readers of this blog also know that along with my partner Tony Ozuna, I’m a resident DJ at Palác Akropolis here in beautiful downtown Žižkov, and that this “Brazilectronica” is exactly what’s been front-and-center on our playlists for a couple of years now.

The global nature of Bebel Gilberto’s groove is also enhaced by the fact that her collaborator on “Tanto Tempo” was a Yugoslav emigre to Brazil called Suba. He worked with a lot of top Belgrade bands as a producer before moving to Brazil, where he met Bebel. I heard some Suba stories when I was in Belgrade last month. He’s attained Mythic Music Producer status there.

“Tanto Tempo” is a ‘gateway drug’ to other Brazilian electronica. Thanks to this record, I was able to follow up with other artists like Suba, Truby Trio and Chari Chari. Sterling includes a link to a nice visualization of exactly this from GNOD.

It’s cool, though, to see Brazilian electronica put on the radar of Heavy Hitters like Bruce Sterling, though. Listening to it makes me feel like I’ve somehow been able to tune my radio to a station broadcasting from the future, which is how I feel when I get new text from Bruce Sterling too.

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