CéU – Vagarosa (2009)

CéU - Vagarosa (2009)
Artist: CéU
Album: Vagarosa
Genre: Vocal Jazz, Soul, World Fusion
Origin: Brazil
Released: 2009
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Tracklist:
Sobre o Amor e Seu Trabalho Silencioso (00:56)
Cangote (04:03)
Comadi (03:31)
Bubuia (03:17)
Nascente (03:22)
Grains de Beaute (03:37)
Vira Lata (03:38)
Papa (01:22)
Ponteiro (03:39)
Cordao da Insonia (02:44)
Rosa Menina Rosa (04:44)
Sonambulo (03:52)
Espaconave (03:36)

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Céu’s second album, arriving four years after her debut, finds her sticking to the style that brought her to the attention of the world music and hipster-lounge communities. She’s still mixing the relaxed grooves of her native Brazil with those of downtempo/trip-hop acts like Thievery Corporation; still throwing in surprisingly capable reggae grooves “(“Cangote,” the first full song on this CD, boasts a deep dub bassline and some extremely haunting organ); and still multi-tracking her vocals into a conversation. It’s a lilting yet heady blend that she pulls off with an utter confidence that’s fascinating in such a young artist. Brazilian music has an innate lightness that Céu engages with on basically a molecular level. Her songs flirt with a Tom Waits-like clatter sometimes, but always resolve themselves into drifting bliss. Her psychedelic take on Jorge Ben’s “Rosa Menina Rosa,” the only song on Vagarosa she didn’t write, works itself into a whirling storm of reverb and phasing effects, yet never loses its essential breeziness even as the throbbing bassline heads nearly into “Journey to the Center of the Mind” territory. Computer-generated vinyl crackle turns up on the album intro, as well as “Somnambulão” (“Sleepwalking”), the most ordinary song on the album and one which almost lives up to its title, though some dubwise melodica livens things up. The last track, “Espaçonave,” throws in field recordings of rain forest creatures and multi-tracked vocals alongside fuzzed-out guitar, creating a feel reminiscent of the work of similarly brilliant Mexican art-pop princess Natalia Lafourcade. This is an extremely impressive, assured album well worth a listener’s time, whether one speaks Portuguese or not.
Review by Phil Freeman