Brazil and the world inside Assim Assado
Several boundless movements are found in the Brazilian artistic realm, worlds that get entangled and influence each other. The limits are shattered with immense ease, there is no room for a fear of taking risks, nor for a preconception formatted by the imposition of styles. The variety of Brazilian music is properly alive within this realm; it recreates itself on the landscapes produced by bossa-nova, funk or samba. In this context of cultural wealth lies as well the possibility of relying on tropicália, specifically the sound identities of indigenous ancestors. The record Assim Assado (1973) represents some of the country’s cultural scope, standing in line with the Anglo-Saxon psychedelia of that era.
The only record released by the band became a classic of Brazilian psychedelic music, and, because of that, it deserves a reissue on Groovie Records. During a time when the Tropicália movement – Os Mutantes and Gal Costa are some of the names associated with it – began to crumble, the post-tropicália emerged with yet another group of artists, including Assim Assado. In this context, the band and its remarkable self-titled record are regarded as decisive for a transitional movement that emerges, precisely, in the epicentre of Brazil’s military dictatorship.
The quartet led by Miguel de Deus – writer, vocalist and guitarist – did not confine itself, nor did it shield its doors, instead the group welcomed an invasion of a set of rhythms and harmonies of the country. The introduction of Assim Assado happily appears through Viva Crioula, a song full of references about samba, sunny and tropically warm. Na Boca da Estrada, in turn, lifts the curtain of psychedelia; morose rhythmic sections and guitar riffs submerged in rock’s progressive swing.
This is the starting point for a vital record, which became the ambassador of samba-soul. Contrasts are revealed, harmonious and lyrical, switching between more melancholic songs and tracks loaded with Latin happiness. Sombras reflects nostalgia, a loving sorrow driven by classical keys and high-pitched choirs. “Morena você não sabe o que eu vou te dizer / Morena eu vim de longe só para te ver” (“Brunette, you don’t know what I’m going to tell you / Brunette, I came from a distance place just to see you), this is how Morena steps into our lives. A joyful track with tidy arrangements, where the poetry of bossa-nova merges with the dance rhythms of samba. Without relinquishing romantic inspirations, between psychedelic oscillations, Rock Blue emerges, to ennoble the record’s soul.
A mandatory relic for those who love Brazilian music (and not only), but essentially for collectors and followers of the psychedelic underground of the 70s. Assim Assado is a flagship of Brazilian musical expansion, and there lives not only a country, but an unlimited space of languages and references.