Electronica jam to put out <i>Caipiríssima</i>

Anvil FX, Apollo 9, Ramilson Maia and João Parayba jam during release of the American compilation of Brazilian electronica

Carlos Calado
Any fan of the current electronica scene would get furious to witness a jam session like the one that took place yesterday morning, at the label YB Music studios, in São Paulo. But only a small group of guests had the privilege to witness the energetic meeting between DJs Anvil FX, Apollo 9 and Ramilson Maia with percussionist João Parahyba. Producers BiD and Amon Tobin, featured on the compilation Caipiríssima - Batucada Eletrônica 30'' excerpts watched. DJ Dolores, Arto Lindsay, Suba (with DJ M.A.U.), DJ Soul Slinger, cYz, I.N. Project and Chelpa Ferro also appear on the album.

"The crowd screams 'Pelé, Pelé' ", shouted a radio broadcaster, narrating the soccer king's thousandth goal, as sampled by Anvil FX on 1000 hear 30s . The track was picked to kick off the jam, with FX and Maia on the turntables, Apollo 9 on the Hammond organ and Parahyba on drums and percussion.

A few minutes before, the six artists talked to the press. Since New York-based Béco Dranoff, producer of the album, was not there, João Parahyba directed the conversation in an informal fashion. "This album shows that there are a lot of people in Brazil making electronica with its own characteristics. You listen and you know it is BiD, Ramilson, Apollo or Anvil", said the São Paulo-based percussionist, adding that Central do Brasil, his track on the compilation, was recorded five years ago, when the local electronica scene was very different. "Back then, I was still working on the concept of reprocessing Brazilian rhythms with Suba. Central do Brasil wasn't thought as electronica. It wasn't regarded as electronica back in 1996", he observed.

São Paulo-born songwriter and guitarist BiD didn't miss the chance to tease the major labels and their easy profit policies. "Caipiríssima brings a wider approach to what is going on around here, but it is a shame that it took someone from another country to do it. I don't know how many people will be interested in this project", criticized the leader of the overtly hyped band Funk Como Le Gusta, currently recording the second album.

More optimistic, Djs Apollo 9 and Ramilson Maia emphasized the growth of the electronica scene in the country. "The audience is a more alternative one, and always searching for new things", said Apollo. "The number of foreign DJs that come and perform here has increased a lot. The number of fans increased, too, and shall increase even more", says Maia, pointing out that Brazilian acts like DJ Marky enjoy more and more prestige outside of Brazil. "The local DJs knock out the foreign ones in events like Skol Beats", said the provocative producer.

Anvil FX, in his turn, mentioned that only recently did he realize that his music carries Brazilian features, while participating in the concert that released Caipiríssima in the USA. "More than sampling Brazilian stuff, I think our music has a local DNA, something that we don't even notice", claimed the DJ from Minas Gerais, who does not agree with the term "electronica". In order to sustain his opinion, FX appointed writer/songwriter Florivaldo Menezes' point of view: "He says that there isn't electronic music, but only electronic songwriting".

The "Brazility" issue also motivated Amon Tobin to give a piece of advice to his Brazilian colleagues. "People are always in search of external elements, they never look to their own country. Nobody wants copies. It is worth doing experiments with Brazilian electronica. That's going to rock the scene", taught Tobin, speaking in Portuguese with difficulty, since he left Brazil as a child.

"Our greatest advantage is that we listen to foreign music and, within five minutes, we're already mixing it to Brazilian music. You want to play like a gringo, but have the natural Brazilian swing", summed up veteran Parahyba, who's performing with Anvil FX later this month in Minas Gerais, on the same night as Amon Tobin.