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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Paal Nilssen-Love - New Brazilian Funk [PLN Records - 2019]

New Brazilian Funk sees the funk form at its most intense, extreme, and noisy- bringing together searing & often dense avant jazz attack, with moments of energetic-to-punchy sun-flecked funk. It’s a release that often sonically slaps you about- then just when you feel you’re getting breathless, slams into the groove.

The seven-track album appeared in the form of a CD- this takes in a glossy red & black themed thick card mini slip sleeve. Featuring inside its gatefold pictures of the five musicians involved in the release, in full live concert action- we have Felipe Zenicola on electric bass, Frode Gjerstad Alto Sax, Kiko Dinucci- Electric Guitar, Paal Nilseen- Love on Percussion & drums, and Paulinho Bicolor on cuica.  In all the album comes in at the forty eight minute mark- and it certainly is a pulse pumping, and vein bludging, though at times playful ride.

The album is a live recording from 2018 Roskilde festival in Denmark-  and it finds Norse noise maker Lasse Marhaugh giving a great intense, fiery, yet well-defined mix & mastering of the tracks. Really giving one the feeling of been there, but stood in that sweet spot to get both the often powerful rush, punchy groove, and playful swagger.

The whole thing kicks off with the wonderfully titled “Biggles and the gun-runners”- this just over eight-minute track opens with a muscular, tight & wiry bass line- then fairly soon the Sax come screaming in- with rapidly chugging & darting guitar follow into the roast fairly soon. Around this, we get the bounding & smarting attack of the percussion- as the instruments locking into a baying-yet- seared mesh.  At around the fourth minute the sound picture pairs back somewhat for sing-song brazilin male chanting- before once more diving back into the maelstrom of slaming & burning funk bass, rapid horn honks, and percussive battering. It’s a great, no-nonsense opener which certainly slams you right into the action.

Track Four “Five Dollars and a jug of rum”- starts off like a more haphazard & roughshod version of Hancock’s "Watermelon Man" with it’s bouncing honks & scrubbing guitar lines. Then fairly soon we are sliding down into a place between just holding grooving, and crashing, baying, chugging chaos.  The second to last track “Fruit Of The Lemon”- starts off as one of the least dense, & playful moments with a mixture of chattering honks ‘n’ cheek slides, and a bared backed percussion- though by it’s the third minute it’s moved up to gut slamming funk bass punchers, caustic  horn bays & rapid scrubs- with the percussion just about tying everything together.


I can’t really recall of any funk focused release been this seared & brutal - the only thing I can think is close maybe some of James Chances more instrumental work. But New Brazilian Funk is way more intense & chaotic- so if you're looking for a nice sonic battering, that from time-to-time drops you into Brazilian funk focused grooves- then this will certainly be your firey mug of sonic rum.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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