One of the groundbreaking Brazilian albums from one of the OG's of the Tropicalia movement. Originally released in Brazil in 1976, Tom Ze's Estudando O Samba or "Studying The Samba" is anything but a straightforward samba album. Tom Ze pushes the sonic envelope on this post-Tropicalia excursion, experimenting with layers of hypnotic percussion laden with effects & samples that work to deconstruct the "samba" form. It's a tripped-out, well-arranged album that slightly reminds me of some of Caetano Veloso's more "out-there" stuff (check out the 1973 album Araçá Azul). Estudando O Samba was recorded during what was arguably Ze's most creative period and has recently been featured in Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Brazilian Albums of All Time". Ze and his music would have been lost to the world if it weren't for David Byrne, who was pivotal in the artist's revival in the late 80's early 90's. Byrne was traveling around Brazil and pulled this album out of the samba section of a Rio de Janeiro record store. This purchase kick-started a now 30 year journey that has seen Tom return to music and touring full-time (he was also the first artist signed to Byrne's Luaka Bop Label). This is an album that will transport you to a gentle place but at the same time have you scratching your head at times thinking "is that a typewriter he's sampling right now?" As original copies of this record are reaching close to $300 for a clean copy, this fully licensed pressing is your best bet to own a pivotal piece of Brazilian musical lore. 12 tracks in all, released by Mr Bongo. Recommended.
- black vinyl pressing
- official reissue
- printed lyric sheet
- music label: Mr Bongo 2019
reviewed by Ricky Fleece 5/2019